Bolivar Model 18 Speakers

Discussion in 'Loudspeakers' started by Vimenzo, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. Vimenzo Audiophyte

    Vimenzo
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    I recently purchased a pair of Bolivar Model 18 Speakers (70's vintage)
    and I would like some information on them. They work fine and sound great but I dont know their power rating and don't want to blow them up. If someone has this info could you please let me know.

    Vince.
  2. Unregistered Guest

    Unregistered
    They were owned by Harmon Kardon at one time. Some how tied in with JBL Manuf. in Boliver Tenn. Hwy. 18 run's through there also hwy 24 all models I believe 3 were named after the hwys running through Bolivar Tenn. Check with JBL for infor. Good luck
  3. Unregistered Guest

    Unregistered
    The Bolivar name brings back memories.
    My first speakers were Bolivars, can't remember which ones.
    Wasn't aware of the JBL affiliation.
    Sorry, just reminiscing, can't answer your questions.
  4. Unregistered Guest

    Unregistered
    bolivar speakers

    I have 2 prs of model 18s. One pair I purchased in Grand Forks, N.D., brand new in 1977. I was talked out of a pair of more expensive Advents and have always been glad of that. I ran them for years with a high current Marantz 1060 and always have been pleased with their very warm sound and low bass capabilities. I have replaced the surrounds on them 3 times and am still a proud owner nearly 28 years later. I purchased a second pair on Ebay about 3 years ago, only had to replace the surrounds and use them as B speakers along with a Velodyne sub. The bass on that system is deep, full and DVDs sound awesome (driven by a Rotel 1050).

    I believe these were considered a poor man's JBL and were designed for use with hight current amps, were one of the few sets of 4 ohm speakers available as most home speaker systems were designed as 8 ohm. The magnets and drivers on the woofers are huge and combined with the ported speaker do an outstanding job of delivering "del fuego" bass with a solid punch and feel. Personally, I felt these outperformed the JBL L86. I had a roommate who had a pair of 4312 monitor speakers (12 inch woofers) and the Model 18's 8 inch delivered a deeper bass response.

    I received a Bolivar Speaker Works record with my original purchase and used it to place speakers and calibrate the tonearm anti-skate.

    Bolivars speakers are truly a hidden gem and lost legend.
  5. Unregistered Guest

    Unregistered
    Re Cone my Bolivars

    I have Bolivar's and need them re coned. Any idea's of who I should have do this for me? I bought these in 1978 and still sound better than anything out there.
  6. Bow Audiophyte

    Bow
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    Bolivar Speaker Works

    Made in Bolivar, TN. I had a pr of model 64's. Great speakers, 4 ohm, really put out some sound. Bought mine in '78 or '79. Ex-wife got them, grr.

    As I understood it, this was an independant company until bought out by JBL around 1980. Boliver was kicking JBL's butts with better speakers for less money. For some awesome sound we connected 4 of these but at 4 ohms had to be careful not to draw too much power from my JVC reciever. I'd buy a pair today if they still made them.
    Bow,
  7. jliedeka Audioholic General

    jliedeka
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    I believe Bolivar was a JBL subsidiary.

    I have a non-functional set of model 125s in my basement. The woofers need new surrounds, the tweeter domes are dented and the grilles need new foam. It should make for an interesting fixer upper project.

    My dad bought the speakers in the late 70s. I remember them sounding good but I was too young for critical listening. :)

    Jim
  8. Jim Barthell Audiophyte

    Jim Barthell
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    Bolivar Speaker Works

    Here is a bit on the history of Bolivar Speaker Works. The company was formed as a sister company to JBL, Harman Kardon, Tannoy and Harman Automotive - a company maufacturing about 95% of the Detroit requirement for side view mirrors.

    The Bolivar company and speaker line had a direct tie to JBL: The team that put together Bolivar was the same team that had earlier put together the JBL L100 program: Speaker Design - Ed May, Industrial Design - Arnold Wolf and Warner Design Associates, Sales and Marketing - Larry Phillips (Remember "Wednesday For Trombones - Thursday For Drums" ?) The staff at Bolivar included Pat Everidge (ex JBL Engineer), Carl Davis (Ex JBL Engineering and Customer Service) and Rob Robinson (ex JBL and Harman Audio Team Marketing.)

    The component speakers were manufactured in Japan by Tonegen - the crossovers and completed systems were assembled in Tennessee. Cabinet material was purchased from Tiffen, Ohio.

    The Bolivar Belt buckle, which has apparently become a collectors item, was manufactured by "Tech-Ether Guild" in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Oh Yeah, I was the President of the company.
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  9. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    There are several places that do that sort of thing. You would need to contact them to ask them if they can deal with your specific speakers or not. I have used:

    http://www.millersound.net/about.htm

    I am very happy with the results. But my speakers were not Bolivar.

    Also, I am not affiliated with the above site, so I offer no guarantees of anything.
  10. vizionut Audioholic General

    vizionut
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    I guess i a new owner of a pair of bloivar model 18 speakers:D a picture of one of them is in the diy corner.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  11. Richard A. Audiophyte

    Richard A.
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    Hi Jim (and everyone-first post)
    I just read your April 09 post about being the ex president of Bolivar. I've owned Bolivar 18's since the summer of 77. They are the only home stereo speakers I've ever owned. Years ago, I stupidly disposed of the woofers when the surrounds fell apart. I replaced them with cheaper quality woofers. Now I'm replacing them again. I've purchased some 4 ohm goldwoods. They are polypropylene with butyl surrounds and rated at 35-2,500 hz. They sound ok, I guess, but maybe not really crisp or "dry". Is there a better alternative to these woofers?
    BTW, the mids and tweeters are still in perfect condition, and the vinyl covering on the cabinets has held up amazingly well. Not even faded.
    If you have no idea about what to do about this, that's fine. But I couldn't help but ask. I mean, what an amazing thing to talk to the Man.
    Thanks,
    Richard A.
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
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  12. sgibson389 Audiophyte

    sgibson389
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    Thanks

    I have come by some Bolivar Model 64's rescued from the trash because of surround rot. I remember when my friend bought them new many years ago. When I picked them up my intentions were to gut the speakers and just use the cabinets.
    But after finding out the speakers history, now I want to restore them and came upon this post in search of info, which is pretty scarce.
    Thanks to Jim for his historical post and it's interesting that this has been his only post in Audioholics.
    It's also hard to believe that the Bolivar brand had it's origins about 35 years ago.
    Although some internet postings say they were made out of cheaper materials, the set I have held up pretty good in my friends garage and the dotted grill cloth is in good shape.
    I have found a source for the woofer surrounds and am trying to find out about the tweeters, mine are not original.
  13. JJeveridge Audiophyte

    JJeveridge
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    Bolivar

    Hi
    My Father was an engineer for Bolivar in the Seventies. We moved to Tennessee so he could help open the unit. I had a pair of them for years till they literally blew up due to my abuse. I believe they were a 4 ohm system. I might be wrong about that but I think that is what I remember.

    John
  14. sgibson389 Audiophyte

    sgibson389
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    Thanks for the reply. I have been working a lot since last year and just recently bought 4 ohm phenolic tweeters and the woofer surrounds and hopefully can work on them soon. Have not done woofers before and am looking forward to the experience. If it goes well I my also do some crossover work to see how that works out before I do my JBL 4312A's. Thanks again.
  15. sgibson389 Audiophyte

    sgibson389
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    That's kool JJ, I see your dads name in the history above. I live about an hour from Bolivar, in northwest Ala. It will be nice to have something built in these parts.
  16. Steve Zirl Audiophyte

    Steve Zirl
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    See? This is why the internet can still be an amazing place.

    I was so proud of my Bolivar Speakers. I earned the money to buy them working for the El Paso Parks and Recreation Dept the summer of 1977. I'd become an audiophile that year while I was a freshman at UT Austin. I'd finally decided on a big ole' Sherwood receiver, and a BIC turntable. To finish it off, I chose the Bolivar speakers. They were amazing.

    Sadly, in 1981, my apartment in Los Angeles (Echo Park) was broken into. They only took my stereo (I think it was the neighbors who did it), but I never got over it. I'd worked so hard and read so much to make those decisions, and my Bolivars sounded so great.

    I don't know what made me think of them today, but they popped into my head and a few searches later ("Great for the Price of Good" is all I could remember) I stumbled on your post, Jim.

    Thanks! Like many others, I'd buy a pair today if they were for sale.

    Cheers,

    Steve Zirl
  17. Steve Zirl Audiophyte

    Steve Zirl
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    See? This is why the internet can still be an amazing place.

    I was so proud of my Bolivar Speakers. I earned the money to buy them working for the El Paso Parks and Recreation Dept the summer of 1977. I'd become an audiophile that year while I was a freshman at UT Austin. I'd finally decided on a big ole' Sherwood receiver, and a BIC turntable. To finish it off, I chose the Bolivar speakers. They were amazing.

    Sadly, in 1981, my apartment in Los Angeles (Echo Park) was broken into. They only took my stereo (I think it was the neighbors who did it), but I never got over it. I'd worked so hard and read so much to make those decisions, and my Bolivars sounded so great.

    I don't know what made me think of them today, but they popped into my head and a few searches later ("Great for the Price of Good" is all I could remember) I stumbled on your post, Jim Barthell.

    Thanks! Like many others, I'd buy a pair today if they were for sale.

    Cheers,

    Steve Zirl
  18. Ross Anderson Audiophyte

    Ross Anderson
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    Steve,

    I was looking up info on my Boliver 18p speakers on the internet and found this post. What a memory trip! We may have bought our speakers at the same place, Dyer Electronics in Austin, mine were Jan 1978. You have a good memory, I still have the brochure and documentation and "Now. Great for the Price of Good." is on the brochure cover. They have served me well and still look as good as the day I bought them. They need new woofer surrounds, which I've found on eBay.

    Too bad you don't still live in Austin, they could be yours; I'm moving and down-sizing in the next few months and these are not making the move (size issues according to the wife).

    Thanks to everyone who helped fill in the story on the speakers.

    Ross Anderson
  19. brywalker Audiophyte

    brywalker
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    I have a Bolivar belt buckle. I bought a pair of Bolivars in 1978 in Atlanta GA
    They had a newsletter, there were only a couple of issues, unfortunately I didnt save any but in one issue they offered the belt buckles for a modest cost and loving the speakers as I did I thought why not?
    So I got it, its pretty big goes on a two inch wide belt I think
    and has the Bolivar logo in brass (I guess its brass) Its very cool.

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