Steve Wozniak, car salesman

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Here’s an oldie but goodie that shows Steve Wozniak‘s character and sense of humor. In 1979, when computers were the newest thing and its inventors were surprised by their own overnight fame, The Woz lent his image to a product endorsement: the Datsun 280ZX sports coupe, also known as the Fairlady Z. Why Nissan thought that 1979 America was ready to be hawked to by a computer geek, I don’t know, but the resulting commercial follows:

On its own, the commercial is a fun snapshot of Silicon Valley’s history. But Woz rarely lets a single joke lie, so nearly three decades later, he updated the promo
for modern times:

Note the wink to the audience in Woz’s license plate: “APPLE II”. Would he really be so proud of his most famous invention as to put it on his car, thirty years later? Even if so, I suspect the plate was a dummy manufactured for the purpose of the commercial (or for one of Woz’s many pranks). Reviewing the personalized license plate ordering system of the state of California suggests that some designs of vanity plates can indeed be seven characters long, though using all of them leaves no room for spaces or half-spaces. However, requesting “APPLEII” reports that, “Sorry, The plate you have requested is not available.”

Apple II vanity plate

License to geek.

If that plate is out there, I hope Woz has it!

(Hat tips to John Herrman and Sean Fahey)