It has been said that Lucas Electric components rely on this mysterious “magic smoke.” Whilst the smoke is inside components, they work fine. But if you should, say, cross two wires, the smoke gets out and things stop working.
I’m not sure when the radio last played, but it hasn’t worked since being parked in Minneapolis. So today I tried to diagnose the problem by removing the radio and fiddling with the insides. Keep in mind, this is the original radio — there’s a stamp inside that reads “Dec. 1964.”
The radio powered up (that is, there was a light on inside, and if you wiggle the speaker wires, you would hear a crackle of static). But it wasn’t picking up any stations or even the odd squeaks between stations. Complete silence.
After playing with it for a while, I smelled the scent of fresh rain on a dry desert. I thought one of my neighbors was up to something.
And then I saw it.
A little plume of magic smoke drifted up from the top of the radio.
There it was: the magic Lucas Electric smoke. It drifted carelessly up through the cabin, free from the confines of the radio wires. And with it went any hope of getting the radio to turn on.
In its place, the magic smoke left behind one charred little component on a psychedelic circuit board.
Everything has been put back together (radio, fascia, knobs). And the power has been disconnected from the radio to keep the rest of the magic smoke inside.
That’s too bad because, while I’m not sure what the next steps are for the radio, it won’t be playing any lovely tunes anytime soon.