YouTuber restored old car phone using Bluetooth

This 1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 now has a working car phone.
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Working car phone
Working car phone


The advent of car phones in the 1980s and 1990s was an impressive feat of technology. It allowed people to talk while driving, something that was previously impossible. However, these devices became obsolete as digital cellular networks replaced the old analog ones, and most people moved on to smartphones.

One aspect of classic cars that restorers haven't updated is the car phone. These phones remain inoperable since their networks were shut down. Nevertheless, one classic car owner has found a way to bring back to life these classic devices in even better shape than their original splendor.

Software engineer Jeff Lau, also known as UselessPickles, restored the car phone of his 1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 to full functionality using a custom Bluetooth adapter. The vehicle came with an optional "DiamondTel" handset and hands-free system, but it was rendered inoperable by the discontinuation of analog "AMPS" cell service in the United States in 2008.

After three years of hard work, Lau engineered the adapter to piggyback between the stock phone transceiver and the hands-free control unit located under the trunk carpet. This enabled Lau to connect to modern cell networks with his 1993 car phone. The stock handset, when paired with a smartphone, displays the name of the paired device and the signal strength of the smartphone's network.

But that's not all. In this case, the car's hands-free microphone feeds the smartphone voice commands to Apple's Siri. The result is a fully functional 1993 car phone with all the features of a 2023 hands-free system, minus the distraction of a touchscreen.

This is an impressive feat of technology and a testament to Lau's engineering skills. Although it is unlikely to soon become a widespread trend due to the lengthy development time and low take rate of car phones in their day, it is inspiring to see that bringing car phones back is possible. Maybe someone out there will take the idea and run with it, and we'll see more retro car phones on the road in the future.

In conclusion, it's fascinating to see how a classic car phone from the 1990s can be restored to full functionality in the 21st century, thanks to modern technology. Jeff Lau's restoration of his Mitsubishi car phone is a testament to the power of innovation and a nod to the past. It's an impressive feat, and one can only wonder what other classic car components will be restored to their original glory in the future.

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