Mustang Radio Application Notes


Some Mustang Radio Application Notes:

  • The belief that 1965 Mustang AM radio dials start with a “6” while 1966 dials start with a “5” is actually a myth, stemming from the fact that in 1965, Ford used multiple Mustang AM radio suppliers (Bendix on the “Early” 1965’s, Motorola or Philco for “Late” 1965 models), but fitted 1966 AM-equipped Mustangs exclusively with Philco sets. All 1965-1966 Philco radios featured dials beginning at “5”, while the other makers began their scale at “6.”
  • The Bendix 4TBZ was electronically identical to the Falcon 4TBD, but featured an updated dial free of the Conelrad marks mandated on all US-made AM radios produced since 1953. Though the Conelrad warning system was deactivated in 1963, the decision came too late for design changes to the new 1964 sets. All 1964-1/2-1966 Mustang AM radio models also featured the same chromed pot metal volume and tuning knobs, while the Falcon version used black plastic ones. Because both models were otherwise interchangeable, it’s possible (and even likely) that some on-hand Falcon radios were installed at dealerships — nevertheless, the “Conelrad” design would still be technically “incorrect” in a 1964-1/2 Mustang.
  • Generally, from 1966 onward, factory-installed AM radios were supplied by Philco (a Ford subsidiary), AM/FM units by Bendix, and 8-track players by Motorola.
  • Some confusion exists regarding 1965-66 Mustang radios featuring with the word “Deluxe” on the chrome bezel. In reality, these were not Ford radios at all, and had no connection with the “Deluxe” (Pony) Interior Decor Group. These “Deluxe” radios were merely aftermarket AM units produced by Boston-based Automatic Radio Manufacturing Company. Interestingly, Automatic Radio later filed a lawsuit over Ford’s 1967 switch to the use of Ford-made (and marketed) radio mounting bezels.
  • Although the Mustang AM/FM is normally thought of as a 1966-up item, it was actually introduced to dealers in July 1965 (as an accessory only — it did not become available through the factory until the start of the 1966 model year). Interestingly, the dealer advertising proudly trumpets the use of a “new, unique station selector controlled by five 180-degree turn-over buttons” — in reality, the Mustang AM/FM used the same type of tuner button as the AM version (though in a more attractive chrome finish), and relied on a simple slide control to switch between the AM and FM bands. Other Bendix-supplied AM/FM radios did use these “turn-over” buttons — and this “better idea” was adopted for the Mustang sets beginning in 1967.
  • The first AM/FM stereo radios appeared in 1968 Models – for the Mustang, they were the Bendix-made “F8TBZ”. All earlier AM/FM radios are Mono, reproduced in Life-like High-Fidelity through the trusty dash speaker.
  • Although the 1967 Bendix AM/FM radios weren’t stereo units, they were stereo-capable, featuring a 7-pin connector where the optional “mating stereo adapter” could be attached. Like the AM/FM radios, these stereo demultiplexers (Model “M7TB”) were supplied by the Baltimore, Maryland-based Bendix Corporation. They could hardly be described as “compact,” however, as the hang-on unit was only slightly smaller than the under dash 8-track it so closely resembled.
  • Looking for an AM/FM for your 1967 Cougar? Don’t search too hard for a “F7TBW”-coded unit — AM/FM-equipped 1967 Cougars were fitted with the same “F7TBG” radios as the ’67 Comet. In later years, the Cougar often shared radio models with the Mustang.
  • Early 1969 radios received this type of coding — minus the “T” or “S” in the third position. Later models received a Ford part/engineering number (ex:’C9ZA 19A241 A’ for a stock AM/FM)
  • Some of the vehicle model codes listed for the final position are merely inferred — I have not seen radios with all of these, however the coding closely parallels that of part numbers, so refer to that for “educated guesses” if you run across a code not listed here.
  • It would appear that in some (if not all) cases, the Manufacturer’s Code and Radio Serial Number were stamped first, possibly by the Manufacturer, while the other characters were added later, perhaps once a specific application was determined.
  • The radio’s serial number related to the vehicle’s consecutive unit number only in the fact that since most cars — about 80-85% — were purchased with radios, the numbers tended to be close. Thus a vehicle probably shouldn’t have a radio serialized higher than its consecutive unit number, though it could certainly happen — particularly if the car was produced early in the model year.

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