Sapphire V Radio Information

Not a week goes by without an email asking for knowledge of the ’67 Sapphire V AM radio, the one year only black saftey knobs, etc. I was in the process of documenting this information and ran across Rich Langenwalter’s research. It seems he’s already done most of the work.

This article documents Sapphire I thru VI radios manufactured between 1960 and 1967.  I’ve gathered Sapphire information over the past ten years collecting and repairing VW radios.  Much of this history was learned from Sam’s Photofact Auto Radio Series publications.  Sam’s AR has a multiple page description including electronic schematic, part numbers, alignment instructions and a B/W radio picture.  The series is a valuable source for radio model numbers, manufacturing dates, original knobs, face plates and installation parts for these radios.”

’67 Model Year; Sapphire V AM 12 volt
The Sapphire V was produced by Bendix and Motorola in the ’67 model year. The radios are 12V to accommodate the model year’s voltage change to 12V. This one year only radio has similar accessories as ’66. Pictures of the early Sapphire V radios show the ’66 chrome knob. Pictures of later radios show the ‘67 black rubber knobs…advertised as a safety feature to lessen injury when hitting the dash.”

Thanks Rich for this fantastic resource.

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started Air-Cooled Artifacts (previously, and Lane Russell). I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. Great comments and information on the Saphire radios. Is there anyone out there that specializes in the repair or maintenance of them.
    Toms Radio in Washington State is the only one I know of that works on old car radios. I would like to consider anyone that knows this particular brand specifically.

  2. I was going to ask the same thing. Are there other folks?

  3. Hey guys,
    Yes, in fact I do know someone. Russ Keller I believe does some work on the side. He restored my radio for me when I was putting it back in my own ’67.

    His contact info is.

    Tell him I sent you if you do in fact reach out.

  4. I have an original Saphire V AM push-button radio by Bendix with chrome knobs, which I believe were standard for the radio. If preferred, black rubber knobs could replace the chrome ones. It may be possible that the rubber replaced the chrome knobs later in the model year (mine is an early ’67).

  5. It seems that there’s some uncertainty regarding the radio light and how it interfaces with the dash lights. Some will say that the radio light comes on only when the driving lights are on and will dim in tandem with the dimming of the dash lights or turning on the high beams. My radio light will come on without the dash lights being on and does not dim when the dash lights are dimmed or the high beams are switched on. Strangely, however, the radio light does dim and brighten when the turn signal is used. It may all be in the manner in which the connections were made.

  6. does anyone know where I can get a sapphire radio for a 67 bug
    the car I am looking at does not have a radio in it

  7. Hello, I am looking for a Motorola face plate for a 1956 VW. Know I can possibly find one? Thanks Vic

  8. Hi..I have a 1967 only VW Sapphire Vlll 8-track-am radio. I am looking for anyone who would clean, and restore it to working condition. I have not bench-tested it, so don’t know it’s status. If anyone works on vintage VW radios, please let me know.

    1. Susan…thanks for contacting A long-time VW radio restoration expert is Richard Langenwalter in Colorado. Contact Richard as follows: or call: 303-986-8787

  9. I need black knobs and buttons as well as repair on my sapphire V radio. Who would you recommend?

    1. Hello, Doc Dale…I recommend Richard Langenwalter who is an expert Vintage Radio Repairman. Or call 303-986-8787. Talk with Richard to see how he can help you. Richard also stocks spare parts and may have the Rubber Knobs which you need.

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