In the early 80s, the dawn of the personal computer age, no form of electronic gimmickry was considered too pointless. The family coach for a friend of mine was none other than a 1982 Datsun 810 Maxima wagon, nearly identical in appearance to the Cressida wagons I love so dearly today, except it had one very important feature: the Maxima spoke!
At the time we all thought that by 2009 robot servants would be bringing us beers in our elevated skypads and the Maxima’s soothing voice alerting us that the “left door is open” was the first primordial step towards this awesome future. But how did this automotive HAL 9000 emit its audible warnings?
Our swashbuckling friend Murilee Martin over at Jalopnik recently discovered an ’82 Maxima relic on one of his many junkyard expeditions and has uncovered The Secret of the Maxima Voice Box. Turns out, it’s a tiny plastic record! There are six grooves, one for each message, and a tiny stylus to play them. Clearly it’s in no position to develop sentience and take over the world. How disappointing!