This is the iconic Garrard 301 turntable. It was made by the Garrard Engineering and Manufacturing Company in England and production began around 1953 and hit the market in 1954. These turntables were used by many radio stations including the BBC. The 301 was usually sold without a plinth, tonearm or cartridge as seen here. The chassis and platter were made from diecast aluminum and weighed in at around 16 pounds – 6 pounds of which were in the platter. They were made with both oil and silver grease bearings the oil bearings being introduced in 1957. Early models were painted in gray enamel while later models were coated with a creamy white.
Funny thing about the Garrard turntables is that they were all that popular until the early 90’s when audio enthusiasts seemed to suddenly realize their quality especially when paired with some of the newer model tonearms. Since then they have become extremely popular, especially in the Japanese market, and prices have soared.
The Garrard 301 was eventually replaced with the Garrard 401 in 1965. So, there are basically three models of the 301. The early gray enamel grease bearing model, the cream enamel grease bearing model and the oil bearing version. The early model commands the highest price nowadays and debate swirls about which model is the best. Extend that debate to whether the 301 or 401 are better and you will find and endless amount of argument. Regardless, the early Garrard turntables an undisputed iconic place in audio history.
If you’re interested in having a Garrard 301 or 401 restored or seeing what a Garrard turntable would look and sound like with modern components take a look at Loricraft‘s site.
A nicely refurbished Garrard 301 turntable recently sold for just under $4,000.00 (9-18-2011). Another in decent condition with the original Garrard tonearm and a wood plinth sold for $1,650.00 (9-26-2011). Another sold for $6404 in November of 2019.