Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Sears Radio Controlled Ferrari


As a kid, there were two antenna equipped toys that I really wanted; walkie-talkies and a remote control car.  I was fortunate to get some battery hungry walkie talkies that didn't work very well (can I get an "amen" in scratchy morse code?), and I never got a remote control car.  Scratch that - I did get one once... with WIRED control.

Ferrari02C'mon mom, a real car doesn't have a wire hanging out the tailpipe!  There were so many wired control cars back in the 70's and the reason is simple... real radio control was expensive.  Remote control technology has gotten cheap - witness the profusion of remote control cars the size of a donut hole - but back in the day what would a middle of the road radio control car look like?

Sears put their Roebuck scientists to work to create a series of remote control cars than were more affordable what you'd find at the hobby shop.  Here's a pretty slick looking Ferrari with wireless radio control, but it reminds us what kind of sucked about old radio control cars. 

  • Nice model work on the car?  Check.
  • Little steering wheel on remote to turn car left & right?  Check.
  • Eats power so we'll sell a ton of Die Hard Batteries?  Yeah, I got that memo.
  • Large assortment of electronics behind the windshield?  Uh, okay... 
  • Start and stop the car from the remote?  Nope.

Ferrari03What?  Look at the disclaimer right on the box - it say right on there that you can only start and stop the car using a switch on the car.  The box may as well say, "Now with 70% less fun!".  The car uses a 9 volt battery and a pair of AA's (I never trust toys that use several different sized batteries at the same time...), another 9 volt clips into the remote.

It does work, so I really shouldn't be so grumpy about it.  Had I gotten this as a kid I would have been thrilled.  I wouldn't have chortled at the very idea of a Sears Ferrari or even a Kenmore Lamborghini that way that I do now.  I suddenly remember a neighbor having a toy car that worked just like this - it was a bit lame to have to catch up to the car just to turn it off, but I won't pretend that it wasn't fun.


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