Editor’s Note: 8-track players are pure Detroit
There are some stories that are just pure Detroit. My old friend R.J. King tells one in his new book, “8 Track — The First Mobile App,” which details the development of the revolutionary but short-lived 8-track tape player for automobiles.
King can tell the story so well because he lived it — his father, John P. King, was the project engineer hired by Ford Motor Co. to bring the 8-track to life.
If you were a teenager in the 1970s, you remember well carting shoe boxes of 8-track tapes from car to house. You likely also recall your angst when a malfunctioning player ate one of your favorite tapes. Cartridges gushing miles of unraveled tape were a common site on the side of the road.
The story of Detroit’s automobile industry is made up of a lot of people like King’s dad — engineers, inventors and visionaries who added their unique pieces to what truly is a miracle on four wheels.