1963 AMPEG B18-N
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In 1963 Ampeg introduced the B-18 Portaflex combo amplifier. It's innovative design allowed the amplifier head to unlatch, flip over, relatch and be conveniently stored upside down inside the speaker cabinet when not in use. Thus the name "Fliptop"
1963 B-18 characteristics: Chrome chassis shock-mounted to the lid, white silkscreened graphics, two channels with normal and bright input jacks on channel 1, black stove type knobs, three metal switches, two large black transformers, black tube cage protecting the tubes and capacitors, light up plexiglass logo, fuse, two prong power cord, schematic, 4 pin XLR speaker cable and jack, 4 chrome lid latches, chrome script logo, Blue Check vinyl covering, silver grille cloth, serial number sticker including tube chart, 18 inch Cleveland speaker, matching dolly with wheels.
The serial numbers are 6 digits in length with the following pattern: YMMNNN, where Y denotes the year, MM the month, and NNN the # unit produced that month. The # unit, however, may not have started with 001. Ampeg may very well have used 100 or 101 as the starting point during slow production periods. Nevertheless, for dating purposes, the serial number provides adequate information during this period. For example, an amp with serial number 404553 was made in 1964 (4), during April (04) and may have been the 553th amp made that month (553).
The serial number alone could denote April 1953 or April 1963. The key is the model and the cosmetics. For instance, the B-18 wasn't introduced until 1963. And an Ampeg amp from 1953 would not be covered in blue check vinyl whereas an amp from 1963 would have blue check covering. For more precise dating cross reference the serial number with the amplifier's transformer, potentiometer, capacitor and speaker codes.