Portables have long been the most colorful and fun-to-own 8-track decks. Although they
typically have the worst sound and poorest construction of 8-track players, they are
without a doubt the coolest looking. Plus you can take them anywhere! Here are a few of
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Panasonic's advertising tag line was "Just Slightly Ahead of Our
Time," and when it came to portables, they were king. The "Dynamite
is probably the best remembered and has come to symbolize the entire 8-track oeuvre.
It's in mono, has no automatic track changer (you have to hit that plunger, man!), no
headphone jack, no tone control, but it's still one of the most sought-after of early '70s
portables. The Plunger came in an assortment of colors (red, blue, and yellow, and
clear), and was great for the beach.
Click here to
see all 5 colors of plungers
Image courtesy Keith Wright
Click here to see the amazing
Image courtesy John McDaniel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see a Plunger with original
carton and inserts
here for a swell WHITE Plunger
Image courtesy Steve Suttle,
Albuquerque, N. Mex.
Click here to see the original
click here for more pictures!
3-5502 "Power Sound"
This is a great little mono player with an "earphone" jack
(remember those little white transistor-radio earphones?) and a microphone input so the
unit can be used as a "sing-along P.A." It has a separate volume control for the
mike, making this a kind of portable karoke box. The unit also has a shoulder strap so you
can blast your Grand Funk tapes while strolling through the 'hood. These sturdy units came
in red, blue, and grey.
AM/FM Stereo 8-track player
notes and photo by Darwin Heiser
Runs on 8 "D" cells, 12vdc cigar lighter, or 110vac. All cords
neatly stowed in rear compartment. Speakers on the sides are removable and have approx 5ft
of wire to spread the speakers out away from the unit to provide more stereo separation.
It has individual channel volume control, battery level indicator, whip antenna, and belts
out fabulous sound especially the tape player. The cabinet is wood, with a vinyl stretch
& glue covering, and is a retina-burning bright yellow. It is very much along the line
of the "EGG" (Brother, Aquatron), but is a bit heavier, and has classier (my
Model 1403 2-track Player
Not strictly an 8-track player, the mini 2-track cartridge known as the
PlayTape was nonetheless a valid entry in the endless loop market. This particular
battery-only unit featured AM radio as well. The sound was pretty awful, and the tapes
didn't hold much music, but they're cute little players and make a swell take-to-the-beach
mini jam box. For complete details on the PlayTape era, check out Lynn Fuller's article at
|Aircastle 8-track and AM
Funky 1970's AM radio and 8 track player. Made in Taiwan, battery
powered. I think the look says it all!
Model # 800-21121-700
Here's a stereo portable built to look like your favorite cutie's denim
back pockets. Tapes pop in to the side of one of the sections, which means older tapes are
more likely to break since they have to sit sideways to be played. The two sections are
apparently built to pack together so that you can go portable, but a design flaw makes the
two pieces ill fitted to one another.
notes and photo by Angela Sawyer of
In Your Ear Records
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