RCA/ARC "Highway Hi-Fi" Discussion


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From Brett:

The '57 Plymouth Ross Roy Data Book lists the record player as "Highway hi-fi."

I believe this name only applies to the 16 2/3 rpm units...

I have a '60 RCA magazine advertisement featuring Steve Allen and the 1960 Plymouth. The unit is called the "RCA Victor Auto 'Victrola' "

The 1960 Mopar Accessories catalog shows the RCA 45rpm unit but does not give it any particular name, just "45 R.P.M. Record Player." Part number 2096-594, net price $39.55


From Nancy:

Chic had one in a Chrysler 300 installed but I don't know if the brackets would be the same or not. Actually I don't think that they used highway HiFi's anymore after '58 or '59. In '60 they had an under dash 45 RPM record player made by RCA I think. It was described in the owners manual of a '60 Plymouth that my dad had as our family car back in 1960. They may have still had this type of record player in '61. I have never seen one of these but have seen a number of highway HiFi's. Does anyone out there know? Have they ever seen one of these 45 RPM record players?


From Tony:

I used to own one of those - Interestingly, they are completely identical inside when compared to the RCA Highway HiFi that I still own. Only the outer case differs.

To the best of my knowledge, they were offered in the aftermarket back in the very, very early 1960's. Price-wise, it would all depend on the condition:

- Does it still play records?

- Do the cables have good plugs and connections?

- Do you have the Pfanstiehl needles? If not, you can still get 'em.

- Do you have a radio or a car to connect it to?

- Are you interested only in selling it?

For those of you on the IML who don't have the foggiest idea what we're taking about here, Chrysler Corporation offered record-players that mounted under the car's dashboard, that played actual records starting in 1956. The early models were made by Columbia and played 16-2/3-RPM records (and they were hard to get even then). The later ones played 45-RPM singles. I have a HUGE amount of literature on the topic, but I haven't looked at any of it in at least ten years. Maybe it's time I dug it out again.


I bought mine for my first car in the 60's. I used it until 4-track tape players came out. I would put it away then bring it out and put it in other cars I owned. I lent it to my sister when she got her first car in the late 70's.

Nobody had ever seen one, they thought it was an air conditioner. As far as I know it still plays. It only has 1 wire for power and 1 cable to the antenna plug at the radio. it still has its needle also. I haven't put it in a car lately for fear it would be stolen, then I would be out a window and a player. I don't have a garage and live in apartments. So yes, I'm thinking about selling it . Thanks again for your time NENRX2

[Thanks for the information - The cabling sounds a bit different from my RCA model, which has one cable with four prongs that are meant to fit into a socket that the dealer installed into the owner's radio. I have diagrams that show how the wiring should be cut and the socket should be installed. Once it's done, the switch on the front of the record-player controls whether the radio or the record-player gets to play through the speaker. Your system sounds ideal for portability. - Tony]


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