1968 Sapphire IX (8BV)

by Bendix

The new padded dash of 1968 narrowed the radio opening and changed the radios significantly.  This new Sapphire IX model by Bendix  slid into the dash opening with spring clips on the side and required a frame or escutcheon between the faceplate and padded dash.  These radios still had metal faceplates but are very prone to pitting.  The Bendix has a unique nut to fit over the shafts to hold the faceplate.  As best as I can tell, this was the last year of the Bendix Sapphire radio for VWoA.

1968 Sapphire X (F8SMV)

by Motorola

Another scarce AM/FM radio.  This model uses a unique metal chrome faceplate with the Sapphire X logo in the center with a small red AM FM window above the tuning shaft.  This dual-purpose shaft had a function for the inner knob to change the frequency band and the knob revealed the selected band.

Sapphire Radios 1968 - 1979

1969 Sapphire IX (9SMV)

By Motorola

The 1969 Sapphire IX outwardly looks to be just the same as the 1968 but there are some difference.  First of all this one is by Motorola, the 1968 model was by Bendix, the knobs are smooth like the 1968 but the shafts are split rather than D-shaped like the Bendix.  Finally the faceplates both are metal and say Sapphire IX but the 1968 model is rounded on the edges while the 1969 is angled.

1969 Sapphire IX by Motorola

1968 Sapphire IX by Bendix


1970 Sapphire XII (1VW20)

by Motorola

This 1970 Sapphire II radio is very similar to the X from 1968 with the AM/FM changer under the tuning knob and a unique faceplate but this one is plastic.  A scarce and very desirable AM/FM for the early ‘70s VWs.

1970 brought a new numbering scheme that makes it difficult to identify a specific year model of the radio.  I suspect that the 1VWxxxx was used from 1970 to 1972, 3VWxxxx for 1973 and 1974 and 5VWxxxx for later models.  The radios below are in the approximate order of availability from the dealer.

1970 Sapphire XI (1VW10)

by Motorola

This 1970 Sapphire XI radio is very similar to the IX from 1969.  The Sapphire name is now on the tuning window and the metal faceplate just has Volkswagen stenciled on the center band

1972 Sapphire XIV (1VW2109 - 1VW2111)

by Motorola

This early ‘70s Sapphire XIV is commonly referred to as the “Town & Country” model for the C/T rocker switch above the tuning shaft.  This is the first model to use the center slider to change from FM to AM.  The FM numbering fades badly and varies from an orange to a light yellow.

1972 Sapphire XV (1VW1116 - 3VW1116)

by Motorola

This early ‘70s Sapphire XV is very similar to the XI.  Shown is one with the hard plastic one-piece faceplate and escutcheon. 

1972 Sapphire XVI (1VW2114)

by Motorola

The first FM stereo Sapphire model that I am aware of.  This is a scarce radio that must have only been offered for a short time.  As you can see the rocker above the tuner has C&T like the XIV except it is for mono/stereo with a small indicator under the FM lettering when a stereo station is tuned.  The orange numbers faded badly which may have led Motorola to change to more of a yellow like the XIV.

Mid to late 1970s Sapphire XVIII (1VW1327 and 5VW1327)

by Motorola

The Sapphire XVIII broke with the numbering convention of even numbers = AM/FM and is the last of the AM-only Sapphire models.  The later models are listed as Audi/VW models.  Because of the long run these are very common.

Mid to late 1970s Sapphire XIX (1VW2323)

by Motorola

Like the XVIII, the XIX breaks the earlier numbering convention with an FM mono radio used in VW/Porsche/Audi models.

Late 1970s Sapphire XXV (1VW2335)

by Motorola

As near a I can tell this was the end of the line for the Sapphire-labeled VW radios with an AM/FM stereo model with the Stereo/Mono rocker switch above the tuning shaft.

1968 PlayTape (PA8MV)

by Motorola

The PlayTape uses a small cartridge tape similar to an 8-track but smaller.  You can see the comparison here and I’ve seen tapes available on eBay.  The portable player shown in the second picture has a VW pictured on the side of the box.