In 1964, Zenith Is In a Price Squeeze

Transistor Radios Become a "Hard-Sell" For Zenith

New for 1964 was the introduction of the Zenith Royal 40-G transistor radio. This radio has the chassis designation of 6KT50Z1. This radio was a Royal 50 chassis installed in a much cheaper plastic case. The radio was offered in three colors and sold for $18.95.


My radio has the white case. Although the literature describes an artificial plastic chrome trim, I can find no trace on this particular radio. Either is has worn off or it missed the plating process.

The only other 1964 released radio in the collection is the Royal 500L. While keeping the same dimensions as the other Royal 500 series radios, this radio had a major cabinet redesign. It features a stylish metal front with a slide-rule dial. The radio has an 8-transistor chassis designated 8LT45Z1. The performance of this set is not consistent with its forerunners. Here is a front and chassis view of the Royal 500L.

In 1964, Zenith introduced the Royal 1000-1 Transoceanic, the Royal 2000-1 Trans-Symphony, and the Royal 3000-1 Transoceanic. The "-1"designation meant these radios would operate from an AC adapter module in addition to battery power.

Here is the Zenith S-65074 AC adapter which supplies the required 12 volts DC for the -1 series radios. The adapter has a lockable slide switch for either 115V or 230V AC operation.


1965-- Zenith Transistor Radios

One of the 1965 Zenith transistor radios in my collection is the Royal 705. This is the chassis 7MT45Z8 which sold for $29.95. This radio is in reasonably good shape considering it is made from the "permawear" material rather than leather. The back flap, while structurally sound, shows some signs of wear. Therefore, I do not open and close the flap regularly. This is an interesting chassis in that the tuning capacitor, volume control, oscillator transformer, and battery compartment appear to be Zenith manufactured parts. All the other components are no doubt, of Japanese manufacture.


Another 1965 acquisition is the Royal 500WN. The chassis designation is 8NT40Z9. This particular radio uses 8 Hitachi transistors that are soldered to the PC board. This radio, along with Royal 555-G "Suncharger" represents the end of trademark line of Zenith Royal 500 radios. The radio is built almost square: 5 inches wide by 4.5 inches tall. It employs a slide rule tuning dial. An additional feature is a small "wheat-bulb" dial light which is turned on by pressing the little Zenith emblem on the front. Like the Royal E-1, the radio does not have audio output transformer. It uses a battery box and tuning capacitor from older models; all other parts appear to be imported. The radio has a nice cast metal front with lots of chrome accents. The sensitivity is good because of the RF stage; however, the audio is nothing like to top performing Royal 500H. It took quite some time to find a radio that still had the Zenith emblem on the dial light switch. The radio has a external charger jack for using rechargeable batteries.


Another 1965 radio is the Royal 180, designated as chassis 8MT50Z8. The radio features an eight transistor design. My radio has the rust/white cabinet color combination. The radio has a slide-rule dial operated by a dial string tuning system. The radio power source is 2 "AA" penlite cells. The radio has many imported components, including the tuning capacitor, the volume control, IF transformers, electrolytic capacitors, and speaker. I wonder if the designation of SAN440 of the speaker means it was a Sanyo Electronic part? The front of radio has the electroplated-to-plastic finish around the bezel. While not readily apparent from the pictures, it shows wear. Otherwise, this example plays well and is clean as a pin. This radio sold in 1965 for under $25.