The Eighties. The mere mention brings to mind a rush of hit songs on cassette, timeless movies on VHS and a color palette all its own. People who love cars remember one phenomenon in particular: cars that talked back to their owners, reminding them to fasten their seatbelt or advising them of a door left ajar. Nissan’s top-line models in the early ’80s were equipped with a tiny phonograph underneath the driver’s seat called the “Audible Warning” produced by Japanese switch supplier Niles. Inside the black box, analog signals traveled a matrix of wires to actuate the correct phonograph track, which specified the exact door left ajar.
In 1985, Nissan and Niles switched to a chip-based digital system instead of the lilliputian record player. This 1985 Nissan Maxima wagon, spotted at Pull-A-Part Birmingham, is a high-series model equipped with a keyless entry keypad used to unlock the doors. Notice the linear graphic pattern on the wheels, indicative of an era newly obsessed with seven-segment LCDs and digital futurism. The Maxima’s two-door, rear-wheel-drive stablemate, the Z31-chassis 300ZX, was equipped with subwoofer-enhanced BodySonic seats that vibrated in tune with music played through the stock stereo. All in all, Nissan’s lineup took a futuristic tack, exploring sci-fi technologies for the sake of it until relatively rational restraint set in during the 1990s.
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