Bowman Astrosonic

After getting back into the 8-track tape world in 2018, I started thinking that since my 1959 Volvo 544 had a period correct, more of less, Muntz 4/8-track player, then my 1965 Triumph TR4 should as well. I looked through my stash of players and decided that the Craig/Pioneer 3121 would make a good candidate so I got it out and started giving it a tune-up. That went well until all the sudden some of the Magic Black Smoke emitted from the amplifier board. Oh, no!!! Well, that ended that plan.

In the meantime while strolling through on online auction site looking at 8-track tapes I saw this player. It looked fairly new and came in the original foam packing and had the original, unused mounting strap. If I remember correctly, I was the only bidder and got it, shipped, for less that $20. When it arrived I opened it up and gave it the once over and it plays very well. There is a bit of corrosion on the motor case which may be realted to how it was previously stored but it seems inconsequential. The audio quality is pretty low and would benefit from a better output amp but, for now, it is what it is.

As some debate I ended up mounting it under the dash on a couple L-brackets I made, just like the old days. Since I have my Pioneer KP-500 in the glove compartment I had to install a switch that lets me select which unit the speakers are connected to.

I did learn something interesting about this deck. On most 8-tracks, when the tape is pulled out an inch or so, the power is turned off. On this one, not so. You have to remove the tape. The way I found this out was that I parked the car for a week or two and left a tape in the player. When I returned, the battery was dead. I charged that battery and brought it around to my garage so I could find and repair a gas leak that it had. When I completed that job it was quiet in the garage and I could hear the faintest sound of a motor running. Sure enough it was the 8-track player.

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Updated December 2020.