If you go to pretty much any car company’s website in 2020, you’ll find a “build-and-price” page where you can pick colors and options for any model, see how specs look and get an MSRP. That’s been around for ages, but you might not have seen an older example of a digital car configurator than this incredible “Chevtech Disk Drive” MS-DOS program from the ’80s.
Somebody named Reid H. dropped this into the Oppositelock Facebook Group the other day and I lost my shit looking at it. YouTuber LGR Blerbs doesn’t seem to be deeply familiar with car history, but, they obviously know a lot about making old computers work and I’m so glad they were able to power up this old Chevy PR disk and walk us through it in the video embedded above.
Simply put: It’s exactly like the build-and-price web pages of today, just with far inferior graphics, as was the standard 30-plus years ago. After a little eight-bit intro music, you select which model you want to mess with, then select which options you want to get a tabulated list price.
It’s pretty similar to the Buick disk from 1986 that my friend and colleague Jason Torchinsky discovered off earlier this year.
These were minted just before my time on Earth but they’re consistent with the first computer tech I encountered as a youngster. Growing up in the ’90s, I vividly remember playing with computers like this in elementary school. We stepped up to CD-ROMs circa 1994 at home, but the first computer my dad had one trick only: Change the color of text between white, red, and green.
Anyway, I thought the Chevtech Disk Drive was cool as hell all the same. If you’d like to take a deeper look at it yourself, it looks like LGR Blerbs uploaded it for you to download.