Melton Memories: The Sun 2000

meltonIn these days, when we wear supercomputers on our wrists, we forget that 40 years ago computers were a big deal. A very big deal.

When the third generation of Melton boys, (Rob and Larry) were building their new service department, a momentous decision was made.

We would purchase and install the most expensive and advanced piece of service equipment available to man: the Sun 2000 Automotive Diagnostic Computer.

She was roughly the size of two refrigerators laid on top of another and cost half as much as the whole service building.

For maximum exposure, she had a jaw-dropping oscilloscope, fully as large as the biggest television, its waves bobbing across the screen giving the impression that only a true Doctor of Motors (note the white coat) could understand the true meaning.

For those of us mere mortals unable to translate the waves into their true meeting, she printed off a 4” tape containing a tape with the true diagnosis. Compression on each cylinder, condition of plug wires and lots of other stuff I didn’t understand.

Pretty much everything she did could have been done by hand with far cheaper equipment, but it made for good theater. Its purpose was to impress the customers with the true objectivity of the computer.

If the Sun 2000 said a car needed fixing, it needed fixing.

Likewise with our “Computer Checked” used cars; if the Sun 2000 said the engine was good, it gave purchasers a confidence beyond a good story from a used car salesman.

George Melton, a country boy making good in the city, was obsessed with everything being “up to date.” This shows in the intricate brickwork and curving window installed in the showroom in 1949. This included spotlights for each car, shiny black floor tiles, and a massive red leather couch.

The third generation of Meltons (Rob and Larry ) 40 years ago continued that obsession with “up to date”: That’s what the Sun 2000 was really all about.

-by Robby Melton



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