Car buyers today have it good. They have automaker websites, dealer websites and any number of car-buying tools at their disposal, to say nothing of the tons of buying advice on websites. Back in the 1990s, things were harder. “Research” meant print magazines, newspaper classified ads and just trusting that your salesperson wasn’t a lying, cheating asshole. (Some things never change.)
Fortunately for ‘90s buyers, the Ford Motor Company and its Lincoln, Mercury and Jaguar divisions offered a better way. A high-tech way. A way that harnessed the incredible power of multimedia to inform and entertain prospective customers. Not just a showroom—a Virtual Showroom, created with the might of the CD-ROM:
This popped up on vintage tech channel LGR today, which I also learned is a great resource for reviews of obsolete old-school tech like digital cameras that ran on floppy disks and ZIP drives. Do you miss those things? I sure as hell don’t.
Anyway, this is version 7.0 of Ford’s virtual showroom series; the automaker released several of these on PCs throughout the ‘90s. Here’s an earlier one if you’re really that bored. The seventh iteration has info on all your favorite models, like the Aspire, Grand Marquis, Aerostar and Jaguar XJS. You can price out options, watch jazzy full-motion videos and even play an extremely boring driving simulator.
As the video notes, the internet killed this series eventually. You didn’t need a CD-ROM to do what Ford’s website could do, especially as more features were added over time. Today, it’s a fun way to look back at what tech was like before the world went online.
I’d play it today, if my computer had a CD drive.