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Panasonic Cockpit Repeatrack RM-310


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Hi, I have one of these Panasonic RM-310s. 

Here's the story. I was hired as a broker for a client that has tasked me with attempting to sell some of the stuff jammed into his building. As I was going rifling through some shelves, in a pile of parts for a 72' Camaro, was this Panasonic Cockpit interior roof panel. I noticed that there's a lot of posts on this Lotus forum about this exact piece. I'm 90% sure this was just installed in the Camaro as an aftermarket part. I don't even know if it works, but it's in great condition, it just needs a wash. Can anyone shed some light on this thing? Was it always just an aftermarket piece (I found pictures of a new one in a box) or did it come standard in anything? Why do so many early 80s Lotus owners seem to be interested in them? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

And if someone is interested, yes it's available for purchase, but that's not the intention of this thread. I'm just really curious because it's not often I find something so infuriatingly hard to find any information on. Especially having a model name/number and a manufacturer like I do.

[Edit] Sorry I just realized I put this in the wrong subforum. I accidentally clicked "new thread" in the wrong tab with a post in this subforum open on it. Can an admin move this to the general Lotus/Motoring/Car chat if that's appropriate?

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Edited by Deviate01
Grammatical and typographical fixes. Updated Tread title, and added an edit line.
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  • Gold FFM

Nice find. I''m sure the Esprit "boys" will be along shortly to shed some more light etc.

  • Like 1

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  • Gold FFM

This was part of a range of roof stereos created by Panasonic at this time. Someone once said to reflect the success of Starwars and all things sci-fi. Very expensive and well built from accounts of those who work on radios.

The range had various parts, which it is very difficult to get full information on (although copies of relevant adverts and the workshop manuals / installation manuals are available on eBay etc.

The model you have was not fitted to a Lotus. The model above in the range (the RM610) was fitted to the special edition 'Essex' Esprit (launched in 1980) and was apparently a very expensive option at the time. The 'Essex' edition Esprit celebrated Lotus's F1 sponsorship deal with 'Essex petroleum' and also was the launch of the new turbo-charged version of the Lotus Esprit (and all of the additional mechanical and cosmetic upgrades added to the car). All Essex Esprit's (of which there were a very small number built) had an RM610 installed with a separate amplifier in the passenger footwell and a four Panasonic speakers fitted. They also had a unique essex metallic blue paintwork, red ruched leather interior, silver and black compomotive alloy wheels and Chrome and red 'Essex' decals and a unique number.

Lotus then started to build Lotus turbo esprit's without the Essex livery and these had the option of having a RM610 roof stereo as well, so a few do have these. But due to the high cost not many were fitted. 

The stereo models as far as I know are:

RM710 (super high end - seen on or two in Citroen SM cars) - silver in appearance and with the most 'digital' features. Tape deck, radio, graphic equalizer - separate amplifier. Green digital display for radio frequency and green lights for buttons

RM610E (more brown / black in colour) - Tape deck, radio, separate amplifier and also includes a graphic equalizer panel which is blanked in the RM610 fitted to the Esprit. No digital display for radio - (back lit tuner strip instead) - green backlighting to this and red lights for buttons. Three pre-sets for radio. 

RM610 (same as above but without graphic equalizer module)

RM310 (built in amplifier, tape deck and radio but no presets system as with the above two models)

RM210 - I think this exists but not seen much detail on it.

the RM610 fitted to the Esprit did not have the equalizer as far as I can see - it was also shortened to fit the Esprit roof - to the dome light on the end is removed and the frame cut to fit. 

Overall the RM310 is a good unit - it can be repaired - I bought my one repaired and operating - it now has a line in so I can play my phone / other things through it. The RM610 I have does not have a working tape deck but also has a line in and works well for that. That is fitted to my Esprit. 

Others will no doubt have corrections for some of this... 

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Great info Henry. These were way ahead of their time and super-cool. Anything with lights on in the 80's seemed amazing - especially Graphic equalisers!

Not sure when this was up for sale but it was listed for £5k and sold(!!)  and as per Henry's research its not even suitable for the Esprit even though it was listed as for a Lotus?!

https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C991059

Possibly the coolest Car stereo system ever and looks good even today!

I'm sure I read that the Essex spec was selected especially by David Thieme himself - some would argue about his style given his appearance but the chap certainly had taste - and money for a while!

I think as an option they were well over £1k even back in the early 80's for a car stereo!!! Probably why they had to cheapen the Esprit post Essex period with the likes of these fitted / Sundym glass etc

BTW Henry I'm sure Essex No.17 owned by my mate and which I used / had access to often had the Graphic Equaliser built in so would have been the RM610-E? I have a copy of the original sales invoice from new and nothing

on there states it was added as an option over the RM610? 

 

 

Edited by nello
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  • Gold FFM

Interesting Nello - Barry's picture shows without the equalizer module, so maybe you could specify if you wanted that version. 5000 for that RM310 is crazy money even boxed. Usually they tend to go for around 700 upwards - for a non boxed one / incomplete one - around 1000 for better condition / with box - maybe stretching to 1200 or so for boxed and everything. I have seen / heard that a cockpit stereo was also fitted to one or two Countach's so that might also have pushed the cost up! 

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  • 5 months later...

HI FRIENDS !

I WANT TO COMMENT TO YOU THAT I HAVE FOR SALE A 100% NEW COCKPIT RM310 PANASONIC.

I TOLD YOU AS I HAVE SEEN SOME EMAILS ON YOUR INTERNET SITE (PAGE) THAT THERE ARE FRIENDS WHO ARE LOOKING FOR THIS COCKPIT RM 310.

AS A COMMENT AT THE BEGINNING, THIS APPLIANCE HAS NEVER BEEN INSTALLED, NOR AN ATTEMPTED TO INSTALL. I KEEP IT IN ITS ORIGINAL BOX IN TRULY THE CONDITION OF THIS APPLIANCE IS AS IF I HAD BUY IT YESTERDAY AND I JUST OPEN IT TODAY.

I OFFER IT IN 1,300.00 US DLLS.  100% NEW GUARANTEED. ! ! !

KING REGARDS,

ARTURO MEADE

e-mail:      [email protected]

e-mail:      arturo.meade53[email protected]

e-mail:   [email protected]

I LIVE IN THE CITY OF AGUASCALIENTES, AGS. (MEXICO).

PHONE: 449366.1537

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I think a problem here would be the likely additional costs in transit and customs charges to the UK. It’s not cheap enough to start with and the vendor is unsure as to whether it works, yet customs could levy unknown charges once it’s posted out. I don’t know how you tell what additional costs there would be but according to eBay it could be several hundred pounds. Does anyone have experience of this?

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I've imported a few things over the years from the US.

Over and above the selling price and postage are:

Import duty, which varies with the type of part but is usually about 4% for most car parts so not a big issue.

Handling fees from the courier (to handle the HMRC paperwork and collect your money!) which varies by courier but usually between £15 and £25. If you know the courier the fees are listed on their web sites.

VAT at 20% on the lot. ie Price, postage, duty and fees.

So unless it's cheap or you must have it no matter the price it adds up to quite a bit.

If that's any help.

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Quote

SOLD AS IS FOR PARTS OR REPAIR. 

Yikes, $850 for parts. You'd think it'd be simple enough to hook it up to 12 v and a couple of speakers to test it. May actually get a bid then.

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