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    Auction Finds

    A dashboard clock radio to hang on your wall

    As I rounded the corner from one room to another at the auction house, I came face to face with an item I had never seen before – at auction or anywhere else.

    Hanging on the wall was a picture of a car’s dashboard playing tunes loud and clear from a local radio station. Unsure of what the contraption was, I checked the description on the auction sheet:

    “Vintage Dapy AM/FM Dash Board Clock Radio.”

    It was among the most weirdest things I’d ever seen (I’ve seen some lovely old traditional radios at auction). This clock radio was about the size of my 32-inch-flat-screen TV and was mounted on the wall. The graphics were still intact and the colors were very clean and clear. Standing there, staring at it – no, staring into it – gave the illusion of sitting in the front seat of an automobile.

    dashboard clock radio

    An up-close view of the Dapy wall-mounted dashboard clock radio sold at auction.

    Fascinated, I wanted to know more about the clock radio and continued reading the description:

    “Vintage Dady AM/FM dash board clock radio. Black frame with plexiglass. Speedometer and radio illuminate, radio and clock are functional. Comes with adapter. Looks and sounds good. Condition: Minor wear.”

    The brand name “Dapy” was imprinted on the radio dial, which was affixed between two knobs, and a clock was just to the right of it. Someone had tuned into a station and left it playing – either an auction staffer to confirm that the radio worked or an auction-goer who was as curious as me about the device.

    The clock radio appeared to be from the 1950s, given the style of the steering wheel, door handle and gear stick. The whole image had a mid-20th century look and feel to it. Since it didn’t seem to be connected to a major car manufacturer, I could only assume that the car exterior illustrated inside the clock radio was generic.

    dashboard clock radio

    A full view of the Dapy dashboard clock radio.

    Later, I Googled to see if I could find out more about Dapy and its product. Someone was selling a “Dappy” clock radio measuring 21″ high, 36 ½” long and 3″ deep on craigslist for $175. I could find nothing, however, about dashboard clock radios in general – who made them, when they were sold and if they were ever popular.

    On eBay, I came across several dashboard radios for sale but they were not the wall-mounted type. These were actually called the Dashboard and were made in the 1950s by Crosley, a manufacturer whose radios are both beautiful and collectible. They were tube radios made of catalin (which resembles Bakelite), and came in at least two versions: one with two knobs on either side of the dial and the other – sometimes called the double dashboard, according to one collector – with two large dials and knobs.

    The Dashboard was said to be one of the most popular among collectors. It resembled the cars that people drove in the 1950s, down to the chrome. The Crosley company also made cars from around 1939 to 1952.

    I wasn’t around when the flat-screen dashboard clock radio sold at auction. I saw online later that after a series of bids, it went for $150 – less than the $250 to $350 estimated by the auction house.

    dashboard clock radio

    Two Crosley Dashboard radios from the 1950s. From catalin.com website.

     

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    3 Comments

    1. I purchased this exact piece from a local antique shop today ( they too had it playing in there back corner of the antique shop hanging on the wall where they have other automobile collectibles ) I thought this was the coolest piece …. never seen anything like it before…. so I purchased for $ 135 to hang it in my collection of automobile Mopar / Coca-Cola decor !

    2. I was reading your post on the dashboard clock radio. I have one and love it. I can give you this information. I bought mine in 1994. Brand new from, of all places, FINGERHUT! Saw it in their catalogue and thought it was so cool. The Fingerhut price $149.99. S&H $23.76 With finance charge and state and local taxes… the grand total was $216.17

      The APR was 18%. It still hangs on my wall and worked until very recently. The power adaptor burned out and I’m looking for a new one now. Once I find one, it will be up and running.

      The label on the back reads: DAPY FM/MW/LW DASHBOARD POSTER BOARD
      FM 38-108 MHz
      MW 540-1600 KHz
      LW 150-270 KHz
      DC 9V —– 7W

      • I purchased one many years ago, also. I have not had it hanging for some time but we are doing some redecorating and found a place for it. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the adapter. I tried using a universal adapter, but after setting it to what I thought should be the proper polarity and voltage, I still had no radio or dashboard light. I do not have any of the original paperwork so I have been searching the internet to see if I can find more information. DAPY seems to no longer exist so I cannot contact the company. I do not want to invest a lot in getting it up and running but on the other hand I hate to just toss it. Perhaps I just need to try another adapter.

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