Hello, Laptop Sessions fans! I thought it would be fun to post about our 1955 Seeburg V-200 jukebox that we got about a year ago. We’ve always wanted one and I’ve kept an eye out at fifties themed diners and such over the years. I went to a jukebox restoration company nearby a bunch of years ago, looking for options. But I didn’t realize how expensive these things were! Much like any other collectible, you can get less expensive versions that are still nice but there’s always one or two models that rise above the rest.
Take baseball cards, for instance. Everyone knows the Honus Wagner card that’s worth millions. Sure, you might have some good baseball cards but chance are you’ll never have the BEST one. Certain model years of cars (you can have a Corvette but likely ain’t gonna get a ‘55) and guitars (‘58 Les Paul, anyone?) follow the same trend.
So when it came to owning a jukebox, I was a bit disappointed to find out that the ones I thought I wanted were impractical (those Wurlitzer ones with the bubble lights? Most are from the 40s and only play 78 rpm records) or way too much money (the Seeburg V-200).
The owner of the jukebox repair shop told me of a jukebox he completely restored and that is was the most desirable Seeburg model ever made: the V200. He had the whole thing rebuilt from the ground-up. It cost the owner a ton of money. The best part? It was located right in my hometown, in a 50’s diner that I didn’t even know existed!
So, we went searching for it right away. It was BEAUTIFUL. I’d never seen a 200-play version before (this was the first model to ever have 100 records or 200 selections) and the features were out of sight. The rotating wheel to flip between banks of songs was so cool to look at and use.
We went to that diner almost weekly from there out, playing the jukebox every time. But, as many restaurants do, it went out of business. We didn’t know it was going out of business because there was a fire in an adjacent restaurant that forced the 50’s diner to close for a while. But it never opened back up again!
Out of desperation, I wrote a note to the owner and slipped it under the door of the vacant restaurant. I never heard back.
Fast-forward a few years to when I was about to complete graduate school and my MBA. I got cards from relatives with some money. While writing thank you notes, my default line was, “I’ll put it in the jukebox fund!” I never thought I’d actually pull the trigger and get one!
That night, while writing the thank you notes, I decided to look on eBay foe jukeboxes. I couldn’t believe it- there it was. THE Seeburg V-200 from the 50’s diner! It was still nearby and someone wanted a lot of money for it. Well, to cut to the chase, we worked out a deal and my friend and I stupidly went by ourselves to pick the 400 lb machine up. Thankfully we recruited a couple more guys to help us get it in the house where it will live forevermore.
This jukebox sounds amazing- the tube amp is powerful and high-fi. The machine has its quirks but I’ve gotten pretty good at cleaning, servicing and performing minor fixes. I can only hope it continues to provide our family and friends with years of good times. I hope you enjoy the photos of this beautiful beast below and thanks for reading!!