Sapphire V Radio Information

Reader William Charanza contacted us with a spare wheel issue.  Eric cc’ed me to help with a response.

Answer given, a while later, William contacted us with a “knotty Radio question”. 

Here’s what William had discovered as he contemplated the servicing of one of his Sapphire V Radios. He has Sapphire V Radios with two outer case configurations.  His question:

“Hello Sir, question for you on the Sapphire V.  I have 4 of them–2 of one “kind” and 2 of another “kind”–the two sets are different. What can you tell me about the differences? Pictures attached.”

Not having a ready answer, I sent William to Richard Langenwalter, a noted Vintage Volkswagen Radio Specialist in Colorado.  I told William to let us know what Richard had to say on the question.

Indeed, very shortly, William shot us the message which he had received from Richard.

“There were three Sapphire V models manufactured for 1967 which are 7BV, 7BVX and 7SMV.  The model numbers are stamped into the sides of the radios.

Bendix Corporation made the 7BV and later 7BVX models.   These models are distinguished by the power transistor located at the upper left front.  The 7BVX model has a small blue transistor.  

Motorola manufactured the 7SMV model with the power transistor mounted on the right side.”

I have known for years that both Bendix and Motorola supplied Sapphire Vs for 1967 Volkswagens, but I did not know how to distinguish them.  Now, we are armed with even more technical information about our 1967 Beetles!

Questions from Readers often put us on track for such advances in the understanding of our Vehicles.  I encourage questions. 

Richard Langenwalter can be contacted about any Vintage Volkswagen Radio question which you may have at: Or call to leave a message @:  1-720-212-4475

Thank you William for posing this question and for following through with your discoveries!

Many thanks, also, to Richard Langenwalter for taking time from his schedule to help further our education about our 1967 Beetles. 

I called, subsequently, to speak with Richard.  We had a great conversation about things Volkswagen and more!

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs since 1976. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. Hmmm…..Mine didn’t come with a Sapphire.
    Mine has a ‘Le Chaperon’ by Davis Radio.

    1. Good morning, Russ–Could you send a good photo of your Radio to Eric and me, please? We have not gone into “radio installations” but here’s the basic of it: VWs did not roll off the Assembly Lines with Radios. Radios could be installed at USA Ports-of-Entry or at Dealerships–or, of course, privately–that’s what we know from USA Deluxe Import VWs. If a person was in Germany, he could do what was called a “Tourist Purchase”, drive the car in Europe, then export it to the USA. While still in Europe, the new owner could have a European radio, such as Blaupunkt Radio, installed. Beyond this, I have not read any documentation of VWs having radios installed at USA Ports-of-Entry or USA Dealerships–other than the Sapphires. I’m sure that Readers will comment on other radios and we will learn some more about VW s and Radios! We once owned a ’67 Beetle which our son drove. I was given and installed a Sears radio into it–it fit without altering the dash. My e-address is: Good to hear from you, Russ! jay

    2. Hello, Russ–as per my personal (offline) reply, here is what Richard Langenwalter, the Radio Specialist whom I quote in the Article, which you read, adds to the discussion:
      “Jay,I don’t know any history on this radio.  I did a quick search on Davis Radio Corporation and came up with the following link.   It appears that some guys in Hawaii formed the corporation to resell radios.  As such, the radios were likely manufactured in Japan (only a logical guess) and sold with the Le Chaperone logo.   Empi (and also Panasonic) had similar relationships with Mitsushita Communications in Japan who manufactured their car radios.  The Davis Radio Corp radios could be Mitsushita in origin, but I’d need to see one (and might be able to identify the source).   Usually, there is some information on the radio indicating the source which the inquirer might find if he removed the radio from the car.  See Antique Radio Forums [ View topic – Please help identify Car Radio ( ] Rich” 720 212 4475

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: