It started innocently enough: Derek Kreindler posted the above photo on Facebook for nothing more than a few social media lulz. Which triggered a memory on my end of Al Gore’s Internet: of a cellular phone residing in the console of my Lincoln Mark VIII. Even worse, it reminded me of the way-cool hack to make it work in the digital age. The conversation went downhill from there, and the boss man suggested I blog all about it. Won’t you join me in the cellular madness?
Before I start: my Mark VIII never came with a cell phone. But I, the upwardly “mobile” (tee-hee, get it?) junkyard dog that I am, grabbed most of the functional bits from a crusher bound Mark VIII: phone-handset, the plastic cradle, and a voice activated A-pillar speaker/button assembly for about $20. It plugs and plays, if I grabbed the module from the trunk. Provided that black box was actually worth something. It is not, especially if you upgraded to an aftermarket stereo.
So I, much like The Esteemed Mr. Kreindler, just did it to show off. Or look stupid. Either way, this system commands attention. Especially if someone looks at the A-pillar.
The result is some sort of highbrow-historical respect: last year a friend borrowed the Mark. Upon noticing the brick inside the center console she busted out the Android, expressing glee from her first encounter with a gen-u-wine cellular car phone. Smartphone texting about an analog phone: now ain’t that some shit?
Imagine a fantabulous world where you could re-use this impressive (looking) system in today’s fully digital society! Queue the obligatory Panther Love:
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, this video shows how cell phones from the Golden (Dark?) Age of In-Car communication need not go gentle into that good night. The obscenely talented and/or tragically bored among us can convert the analog system to digital…and still run the factory’s “hands free operation” gadgets. Like, awesome.
Which begs the question: would you make the change, teach an old dog new tricks, if you could? And would it be less annoying/obnoxious than many newer in-car entertainment systems?
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.