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How Ford Helped Invent The 8-Track

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How Ford Helped Invent The 8-Track

Sync isn't Ford's only pioneering automotive entertainment technology. On this day in 1965, Ford first offered factory-installed 8-track tape players with tapes initially only available in auto parts stores. Now they're available in second-hand stores and pawn shops everywhere. Progress!

A little known fact is how much automakers had to do with the creation and implementation of the 8 track tape and the Stereo 8 format. Stereo 8 was created in 1964 by a consortium led by Bill Lear of Lear Jet Corporation, along with Ampex, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Motorola and RCA Victor Records (RCA).

The first commercial application came in September of 1965 when Ford Motor Company introduced factory-installed and dealer-installed eight-track tape players as an option on three of its 1966 models (Mustang, Thunderbird and Lincoln), and RCA Victor introduced 175 Stereo 8 Cartridges from its RCA Victor & RCA Camden artist's catalogs. By the 1967 model year, all of Ford's vehicles offered the tape player as an upgrade option.

Thanks to Ford's backing, the eight-track format quickly won out over the four-track, a competing format, before eventually losing out to the perceived-as-less-capable cassette tapes and becoming the butt of technological obsolescence jokes for generations to come.

Not that we think a similar fate will befall Sync, but we're hoping Ford's learned from the mistakes of the past over the 45 years since they first helped birth the platform. Now, how about those questions about Bluetooth?



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