Chevy's 1987 MS-DOS 'Build And Price' Program Was Totally Rad

Illustration for article titled Chevy's 1987 MS-DOS 'Build And Price' Program Was Totally Rad
Screenshot: LRG Blerbs

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.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles


Bum's Big Stick

The fact that software like this even existed speaks volumes about the innovative and forward-thinking mindset that Chevrolet had inside their building at the time. In the 1980's, this is something you might expect from Buick and you definitely expect it from bubble-era Japan. But Chevy? As for this program’s effectiveness at selling Chevrolet vehicles, well, think about a Venn diagram from that era of MS-DOS users and Chevy buyers.

It’s why despite having the desire and ability to field advanced technology in their vehicles like this software would insinuate, Chevy stuck with the people who bought Chevy. Most of them had no use for much shit other than the steering wheel, pedals, and space to carry a lot of shit in the back. I would imagine that the a popular option to a 1987 Chevy R10 buyer would have been one that deleted the seat belt.