The VPI 16.5 I purchased about 5 years ago has HW-16.5 stamped on the metal label with serial number 19932.
5 responses Add your response
Sounds like you have an upgraded 16 to 16.5 like mine. The original 16 had the pickup tube glued to the lid. You had to lower the lid to vaccuum the record. The 16.5 upgrade kit, replaced the "tube-in-the-lid" with the black spring mounted assembly. You had to by a new lid seperately if you wanted to be able to close it. I bought mine in 1980 and did the upgrade kit as soon as it was released a few years later. Mine has worked PERFECTLY for almost 30 years and thousands and thousands of records later. BTW, the serial number of mine is 325 and has a Walnut vinyl wrap finish as opposed to the black they now have and the same lid as yours. I replaced my mat with an anti static felt mat years ago and I don't remember what mat it came with originally.
My 16.5 says 16.5 and is Serial 27xxx. it is less than a year old.
You can upgrade the foam to cork. They sell sticky cork sheet at McMaster Carr (the thinnest cork gasket material). I bought some and it works perfect for use as a 2nd cork mat, and cost $3.
I wouldn't worry about the cover. You want the proper/latest pickup tube though, sounds like it was upgraded? Does the pickup look like pics of new ones? How well does it work?
BTW, to me it sounds like this unit was a little bit misrepresented. Low hours but 15 years old is a little misleading in my opinion.