Binatone brought the £58 Alpine, while Javelin – a new British company importing sets from Japan – offered the £110 Roadstar RS1100 tape unit and pre-amp – “a scaled-down version of a good hi-fi set-up”, reckoned our men.
Also at £110 was Sharp’s RG 5750 radio/cassette, which offered strong FM performance: “On the day of the test, Radio Medway could be listened to in the Windsor area without interference.”
Pioneer’s KP55G (£138) eschewed radio and focused solely on cassette. A good move, reckoned our testers, who awarded it five stars and wrote: “Quite outstanding and compares very favourably with many home hi-fi units.” The only drawback was the non-locking fast forward and rewind buttons: “It is a little tedious, and potentially dangerous if you are driving, to have to hold down the rewind button for several minutes when using a C90 cassette.”
Many of the units offered FM radio in addition to long and medium waves. FM in cars was a relatively new development as “people seek the standards of musical reception in the car to which they are accustomed at home”.
Autocar’s testers added: “It is not until one spends all day listening to FM broadcasts that the shortcoming of AM radio becomes so apparent. Listening to a concert on MW is rather like looking at an uncleaned Rembrandt portrait through smoked glass.”
The Lucas LS270 (£157.50) was afforded five stars and adjudged to have the “most impressive tape reproduction, giving a wide range of sound, plus the advantage of auto reverse on the cassette”. However, its radio was marked down for a “loss of stereo on our route”.
The Pioneer KP8300 (£211) also excelled, being the only system on test to be awarded five stars for both radio and cassette performance. “Superb tone and range of sound. Price high but justified,” was the verdict.
Autocar’s article included sidebars on in-car televisions and telephones, noting that the latter “are too expensive to be a source of mere entertainment and have a real part to play in business efficiency”. How times change.
Previous Throwback Thursdays
4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine?
26 June 1906 - The first French Grand Prix
9 July 1907 - The beginning of Brooklands
14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour
8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions
25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future
4 July 1925 - Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower
28 September 1928 - Engine tech takes a great leap forwards
2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding
6 July 1934 - A tour of Cowley
1 June 1935 - Introduction of the driving test
22 June 1945 - Driving through post-WW2 Europe
21 January 1949 - Tidier tails
25 August 1950 - The evolution of transmissions
27 April 1951 - Frankfurt hosts its first motor show
24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1
16 September 1960 - The beginning of MOT tests
27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test
17 November 1961 - TVR Grantura road test
10 September 1965 - The birth of modern Audi
19 August 1966 - Four-wheel drive on test
6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan
12 June 1976 - Cars for under £100
10 July 1976 - Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank
13 May 1978 - Ferrari 512 BB road test
19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test
13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm
17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar
4 September 1985 - Ford's electronic test bed
15 August 1990 - Giugiaro's vision of a 1990s Jaguar
28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts
16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java
16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust
4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds
25 July 2001 - 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette
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