This Ultimate Explorer 8 Transistor Portable was manufactured in New Zealand by Ultimate-Ecko (NZ) Co. Ltd circa 1959.

Appearance wise this Ultimate Explorer has more in common with American post war tube portables of the late 1940’s than the ‘current’ shirt pocket transistor sets of the late 1950’s!

It resembles the large ‘lunchbox’ style sets that dominated the American market after the war and at 10.2”W x 7.8”H it is about the same size as well! It has a wooden cabinet covered by a thin sheath of 'rubber like' material that looks like snake skin!

The red tuning dial features both New Zealand and East Coast Australian stations. Some Australian stations can be received in New Zealand by powerful radios on a clear night. (Updated info from Andrew of UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration)











This Ultimate Explorer looks like the type of grotesque, hard ass radio that Indiana Jones might have taken on one of his adventures!

The large gold face is entirely under-painted!

Ultimate-Ecko (NZ) Co. Ltd can trace its roots back to Radio Ltd formed in Auckland in 1922. Radio Ltd began manufacturing radios branded as Ultimate in 1923.

In 1936 the company changed its name to Radio (1936) Ltd.

By 1938 they were making a dozen different brands for various companies branded as Courier, Rolls, Golden Knight, Madison, Skyscraper, Lewis Eady, National, Luxor, Crusader, Hamilton, Paramount and Ultimate. Many of these radios were simply the same model with a different badge which mirrors what Japanese radio manufacturers were doing in the late 1950’s.

In 1955 they became Ultimate-Ecko (NZ) Co. Ltd, and in 1967 came under the control of PYE (NZ) Ltd.







Inside is a large ROLA brand speaker. The probable model number of R-50-23 is visible on the inside label.