Author Topic: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project  (Read 9589 times)

Pat L

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My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« on: October 05, 2014, 03:42:03 PM »
Hi Everyone,
I'm ready to present to all of you my most ambitious project to date. I am restoring the 1958 Concert Grand in the photos attached to this post. I purchased this beautiful console early this year from an eBay seller in Elkhorn Wisconsin. He had just a month or so before bought it at an estate sale from a mansion near Evanston Illinois. I had saw it for sale at the same time he did, but he was nearby and snagged it first.

Look at the condition of the cabinet, it's nearly mint. The reason this is my most ambitious project to date is because the gentlemen I purchased it from parted it out. Every component, wire, nut and bolt removed and sold or thrown away. When I bought it he was advertising it as a "buffet table". Since I have a self professed obsession with these Magnificent instruments I decided to take on the challenge of finding all the components and putting it back together.

I figured how hard could it be? Since the 1958 model used two AMP-150 variants and a tuner very similar to those used in Imperials or Continentals I should be able to find the parts. Well let me tell you, it's been a real challenge. I swear when you need something the scarcity goes up exponentially, when you don't need it they're everywhere.

Well, at this point I have everything I need to put this thing back together. I may not have absolutely original part numbers but it will be virtually indistinguishable to a lay person. I figure once I have it done original parts will start growing on trees and I can change out the few pieces that aren't 100% original for those that are. Also it will become the centerpiece of my main living room.

This is the first and only 1958 Concert Grand I've seen in this color which I believe is French Walnut and on a Contemporary base. Am I crazy or what?
Pat

Consoleman

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 04:11:24 PM »
Maybe we can call this "parting it in". What a great project to bring this one back from the brink.

Time to pop some popcorn and watch this thread!  :D
Mark

y2kbruce

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 06:01:51 PM »
Does your set have the reel to reel tape player ? I get confused on which years had that. I *think* it was the 1st year only CG's.

Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 06:24:40 PM »
Bruce, This is the second model of the Concert Grand and did not come with the RTR. I've been telling everyone it's a 1958 model (At least that's the catalog it appeared in). I needed a little bit of immediate gratification so I restored the record changer compartment. It was filthy and as you can see from the before photo missing everything. Even the speaker switch visible in the before picture was actually destroyed. The PO had pried it off the back and left a spinning knob. If you look closely you should be able to spot a concession to originality. I think it looks very sweet indeed  :D Pat

Harbourmaster

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 06:46:29 PM »
That there is the strangest looking "Continental" I have ever seen Pat!  ;-)
-- Aloha, Ken

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vintage cltr

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 07:07:04 PM »
man, that cabinet was sexy when it was empty, now..... it's filled out and looking great... can't wait to see it in person.
Loud and Vintage.... any questions?

Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2014, 07:19:26 PM »
Today I took the back off of the 58 and installed the two right channel speakers. I have taken pictures of the back to show all of you how nice it is. It's even better made than the back on my 59CG. It has beautiful gold tone metal trim strips that are riveted to the high quality photo finished back. I've also taken a picture of the build code tag and it indicates this was console serial number 34.

The speakers are one of the tougher things I had to find. This console uses the same two 15" drivers seen in all Concert Grands except in the first two years of production they were finished in a silver hammer tone paint. The horns are also unique in that they're not the same. One is the the older style seen in 57 and 58 with the fiberglass EV HD8 horn body mated to EV T35 drivers. The other horn is the style seen primarily starting in 1959, the EV driver mated directly to the aluminum bodied horn. Unfortunately the PO threw away the left horn's sheet metal angled adapter unit. I'm not overly concerned about it, I intend to make a new one to use until such time as I find an original. Luckily I used to be a sheet metal mechanic at United Airlines in my younger days.

The right hand 15" driver is not just any 15" Maggie speaker, it's the one with the 35 oz. magnet. Luckily I was able to purchase the entire works out of a 57 Brittany that had seen better days. This was really fortuitous as it had the correct 35 oz. driver and a pair of the fiberglass bodied horns. 

This style Concert Grand may not be to everyones taste as far as looks go, but the quality is simply over the top. The back is finished so nicely that it didn't need to be pressed up against a wall. It could be placed out into a large room as a focal point or even used as a room divider. Notice the base is even fully shaped and finished in the back. Also the tray under the record changer is even trimmed with aluminum on the inside where you can't even see it.

This quality and attention to detail is to my mind what separates Magnavox and puts them above other respected brands such as Fisher and Pilot. As nice as consoles from those companies were they simply didn't bring the same quality level of their components to their cabinets. Their cabinets were built well but the designs are uninspired compared to Magnavox. I'd go so far as to say that's why Fishers are more valuable in pieces and Maggie's are more valuable together.

When you read about how Magnavox designed all of the components in a console to harmonize with each other it's not marketing hype in these high end units, it's very obviously true. I think the finest example of that is the Concert Grands made after 1959 with the tuned and ported together bass speakers. Nobody else did that. The Magnavox integrated design theory and approach was probably beyond the resources and abilities of the smaller niche manufacturers. Funny, often the niche manufacturers create special value and design approaches. But in the case of consoles it was the industry leader that had the edge in this arena.

Also, I love horns in my consoles. The realism and presence of the sound is unmatched by traditional drivers, at least to my ears. I have seen horns in only a few brands of consoles, Magnavox, Zenith, and Motorola most commonly. My very rare Bell and Howell console also has a Jensen RP103 horn complimenting two rather traditional Jensen 12" speakers. I'm sure many other consoles must have had horns, but I doubt they were produced and put into peoples homes in numbers like the first three brands I mentioned. I have never seen them in Pilots or Fishers. Pat
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 10:54:39 PM by Pat L »

Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2014, 07:21:04 PM »
Here are some detailed pics of the inside of the cabinet for reference. Also note the two right channel speakers are installed. Pat

Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 07:24:12 PM »
Here are a few detailed photos of the two different horns used in this CG. How very unusual. Finding the fiberglass bodied horn took me a number of months. The aluminum body horns are quite common and are almost always available on eBay. Pat

Harbourmaster

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2014, 07:42:27 PM »
Any "Run #" tags on that cabinet Pat???
-- Aloha, Ken

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Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 07:50:32 PM »
There is one other tag that I can find, it's on the inside panel just above where the left channel amp will be. Her's a pic of it. Pat

electra225

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 08:09:08 PM »
I notice that your Concert Grand does not have the clock.  This must have been '57 only?  I was under the impression that the mono '58's had the R-R tape deck as well.  Did they not build both stereo and mono CG's in '58?  IIRC models 205-H for the mono and 1ST205 for the stereo.  Also IIRC, a member here (and on ARF) has a mono '58, which he offered to sell me.  Nice job, Pat.  You just negated the efforts of one console raper. 
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

Pat L

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 08:17:01 PM »
Greg, the CG in the 57 catalog is the 300H model. It's mono with the clock and reel to reel. I have never seen the clock in the model I have from the 58 catalog. But it's very clearly the same cabinet, it has the cutout for the clock but came with an anodized cover over it that said "Stereophonic" on it. I actually have a spare clock and If I had a shred of evidence that it was an option on this unit I'd put it in. Thanks for the encouragement on putting this back together. It's been neither easy or cheap. I really wish a Photofact or Magnavox Service Manual would surface for this unit so I could dial in the accuracy. A few compromises to accuracy won't diminish the enjoyment I'm going to get out of this thing. I'm already thinking about the vintage records I'm going to buy for the upcoming holiday season. Maybe even a little chrome christmas tree for this baby. Pat

Consoleman

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 08:53:35 AM »
Fantastic work! I'm looking forward to a video of it in action.
Mark

electra225

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Re: My 1958 Concert Grand Restoration Project
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 09:18:23 AM »
I have threatened to use my little tube phono pre-amp and put a Technics belt drive TT in my Imperial.  I would remove the Conquest and just sit the Technics in the changer compartment, so that I could put things back to original quickly.  There are certain technical considerations that have prevented my doing this.  I am going to see how lightly the old Collaro Conquest will track.  It would be nice if I could see less than two grams.  Non-Magnavox people claim that Collaro changers are hard on records.  I have seen no evidence of that.  Any changer would be harder on records than single play turntables, it would seem to me.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....