The listing on ebay was rather plain:
the original pictures shows just another 4 screw Ambassadeur 5000.
ABU Ambassadeur 5000 fishing reel
Comes with Leather Case
Comes with Repair Kit (Spare Parts and Wrench)
Made in Sweden
The number under the foot of the reel is 83789.
I asked the seller if he had any history on the reel and he answered me:
"I inherited this reel from my uncle. He owned a wholesale sporting goods store in North Dakota (Northland Sports). Most of his gear was high end, and I think he had more gear than he could possibly use. Thats about all I know about it. Enjoy! I'm glad this reel found a good home."
I got the reel and as a rule I remove the line and take the reel apart for cleaning so I don't have a reel full of moisture or dry grease. As soon as the line was removed I had the first surprise, the spool was not the standard fat arbor spool anodized in the same red red color as the reel. The spool is a Grey type A spool with black side walls. Simon answered this and said the "Gray A type spool was loaded on such items as : #65055, 67098, and 74389. (Information was picked up from Simon's spread sheet for 5000 model.)" So my reel was not the only one with that style spool.
As I was taking the reel apart I found some other interesting parts and the reel is authentic, maybe not in original condition since the "Cog Wheel" can not be identified as replaced or that it is the original cog wheel.
Most older Ambassadeur 5000 reels have the green felt oil retainer in the Spool Cap. This reel have the less common red felt.
The star wheel is the the early style without the skirt.
The side plates and the frame has the Roman numeral III inscribed. I have read this is because the parts will have some color variation from batch to batch when anodizing and the numeral made it easier to match the frame and side plate colors during assembly.
The anti reverse dog has two rivets and there are two spring plates instead of the customary "U" shaped plate with one rivet. This was the style used on Records and early Ambassadeur 5000 reels.
Another interesting difference is the spool bearing, on the old Ambassadeur's they are made from bronze and on all my other 5000 reels there is a pinched ridge to prevent it from spinning. On this one there is a pin and according to Mr. Shimomura this was used during the very early stage of production.
The brake plate style is of the early Grey in color and with stippling looking similar to the Later SG models.
The Cog Wheel on this is a one piece and not the customary two piece. Quoting my reply from Mr. Ambassadeur "Very first production of Cog Wheel was a 2 piece construction with a bronze gear as you said. Later on the entire Cog Wheel became some kind of “half Clear” plastic. This one may have been replaced."
The last big difference between this reel and some of the later models is the machining of the side plate opening for the spool and again according to Simon Shimomura "This machine cut was also usual process during the early stage. I have many such reels with machine cut on the “innerplates”."
The rest of Simon Shimomura's answer to my email:
" have anti Reverse Dog with 2 rivets, the spool in that style, innerplates with machine cut, bronze bushings with pin in my collection.
They are all original parts created by ABU. I wish I could have listed all these items in my books.
Over all, I would say the reel is still in the original condition although Cog Wheel can not be identified if it was replaced.
I noticed that you used the terminology of “fake” in your earlier e-mail to me.
Even if some parts were swapped, it is not fake item as long as someone did the job with ill intention to trick buyers.
I recommend you to use the different terminology of “not in original condition” in stead.
This item is not a fake item by any means.
Finally, I determine the production of your reel was in 1958. I determined that from the actual shipping record of 2 5000 models.
#79980 was shipped out of ABU factory on 1/28/58.
#94408 was shipped out of ABU factory on 4/1/58."
If you are interested in the old Abu Ambassadeur reels prior to 1980 you should pick up a copy of Simon Shimomura's books and use them as a reference. I have found no other source with the amount of information he has. I am collecting reels and pictures to complement his info and the books are invaluable in helping me determine if a reel is authentic or put together for sale on ebay.
I may continue this series with pictures of different reels to point out some of the differences I have found on the different production batches of the early 5000 reels.