Ongoing History Daily: The Sabamobil.

The history of recorded music is littered with failed and obsolete playback machinery. We’ve all heard about the 8-track and the 78 RPM record. But what about the Sabamobil?

A company called Saba Electronics introduced this boombox-looking thing in 1964. It featured a big cartridge (about the size of a VHS tape, if that means anything to you) containing 3-inch reels of tape with two mono channels per size with a runtime of 90 minutes. In other words, it worked like a cassette, but it was giant. You played this cartridge by dropping it into place on top of the Sabomobil.

No one cared. In today’s dollars, this 1964 clunker sold for a thousand dollars and a single tape coast $100. It died a quick death.

Yesterday’s post will mess you up when it comes to flies (as in the bugs).

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: The Sabamobil.

  • August 16, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Wow, what a blast from the past… I remember seeing one of these at one of those giant hillbilly swap meet/farmers markets near Tampa Florida about 10 years ago! It looked so weirdly fake (and huge!) out of place next to my Blackberry Pearl!

    The guy selling it was truly convinced that it was a real “co-lec-tors” item and will be worth 10X the $80.00 he wanted fer it! He probably still has it…


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