Vista Model NTR-6G Globe Transistor Radio (1960s)

     

How many radios have you seen in the shape of a globe? I own three of them: this Vista (aka Fleetwood) model from the 1960s, the famous (and much more valuable) Colonial Globe from 1933, and the rarely-seen Sonora Globe Navigator from 1940.

If you look in transistor collector guides, you'll find a nearly identical radio listed under the Fleetwood brand with the same model number (NTR-6G). This set has the name Vista molded into its equatorial ring, and its owner's pamphlet calls it a Globe Executive Six Transistor Radio, so I'm calling it a Vista for now. Perhaps, as with many 1960s Japanese imports, the same radio was sold by different importers under various names.

Inside the globe is a conventional six-transistor receiver powered by six AA batteries. This radio has a comparatively large 3-inch speaker. The speaker faces downward, toward the "South Pole." You can see the vents for the white plastic speaker grille in the first photo.

The controls are visible in the second photo. At the "North Pole" is the black power/volume control. The sliding tuner control extends from North to South poles. Directly below it, in the black plastic base, is a little jack for an earphone.

Built decades after the Colonial Globe, this little radio avoids some of the difficulties of that earlier radio, which was more than twice as tall and much heavier. The Vista's globe markings are protected by a thick layer of tough, clear plastic, preventing the damage that is common to the Colonial's fragile paint. Its globe also mounts directly to the base, rather than through a gooseneck support, simplifying construction and making the whole assembly stronger and cheaper.

Click the icons below to download the Vista globe owner's manual and the Fleetwood NTR-6G service manual:

     

From a collecting standpoint, it's a little unfair to compare this inexpensive 1960s set to the Colonial and Sonora sets. The Colonial Globe is rare and highly desirable, easily worth several hundred dollars, while the Sonora is even scarcer. This set is worth far less, perhaps $100 at most.

Regardless of value, it's fun to have three globes in the house!

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