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Back When Automotive Interior Designers Weren't So Slick: SECU- RITY Indicator Lamp

Illustration for article titled Back When Automotive Interior Designers Werent So Slick: SECU- RITY Indicator Lamp

Ever notice how every interior component in cars these days, no matter how cheaply made, appears to have been vetted by a crew of marketing types and focus groups? That's why it's refreshing to see this Maxima's dash.

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Illustration for article titled Back When Automotive Interior Designers Werent So Slick: SECU- RITY Indicator Lamp

I was scoping the junkyard for interesting stuff when I spotted this '87 Nissan Maxima. I figured I'd check for a Voice Annunciator Phonograph Unit within.

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Illustration for article titled Back When Automotive Interior Designers Werent So Slick: SECU- RITY Indicator Lamp

It appears that Nissan had gone solid-state for their "talking car" feature by 1987, so no tiny phonograph. Disappointing. But then a row of dash controls caught my eye.

Illustration for article titled Back When Automotive Interior Designers Werent So Slick: SECU- RITY Indicator Lamp
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You can tell that engineers came up with this arrangement, not a bunch of Apple-worshiping designers and their focus-group-wrangling marketing overlords. No doubt the Japanese version of the "SECU- RITY" light (which I assume has something to do with a primitive mid-80s alarm system) sports a graceful kanji character, and when the engineers got their English translation it just made sense to hyphenate the word to make it fit. What the hell, right? You can still understand it! We gotta move these Maximas out the door, ASAP!

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DISCUSSION

What I find interesting is that the mirror, dimmer, and general layout in that part of the dash hasn't really changed that much in a 2007 Infiniti M35. Same with Hondas (the sunroof switch was in the same spot until just recently), and Toyotas have used the same digital clock for at least 25 years (why do I know all this). #1980s