A good audio system is important to pretty much any car. It’s vital to be able to really motherfucking crank episodes of On Being until your eardrums bleed. Most automotive audio systems have been pretty focused on the ear as the primary receptor of sound, but there was one time, one magical time, when an automaker dared to try something different. In 1984, Nissan offered a system that was designed to pump music right into your arse. It was called the Bodysonic Amplifier.
The Bodysonic Amplifier was part of Nissan’s special 50th Anniversary edition of the 300ZX. The 1984 cars were specially badged to commemorate Nissan’s 1934 founding, and contained a number of special luxury features like two-tone black and silver paint, mirrored T-tops, gold wheel inserts, and, most importantly, the Bodysonic System.
Here’s how the brochure described it:
STEREO YOU CAN FEEL AS WELL AS HEAR.
Turn a knob and the seat vibrates to the pulsing beat of the stereo. This is Nissan’s new Bodysonic system.
The way the Bodysonic system worked was by having a set of four speakers set into the seat, right under your butt, and another four in the seatback, right by the small of your back.
I bet this setup, with the proper audio played through it, might be able to help break up kidney stones? Worth a try, right?
The system only appeared in this one car, so I suspect Nissan didn’t consider it a huge success, but if you think about it, it’s sort of a packaging triumph.
Normally, to get the sort of feel-the-vibrations-in-your-gut sort of feeling, you’d need big, space-hungry subwoofers. Usually such a setup eats up a huge volume of your cargo space, especially in a sports car like the 300ZX that didn’t really have all that much to begin with.
But, if you take the source of those vibrations right to the target, in this case your own butt, then you can use otherwise dead volume inside the seats to provide rhythmic, musical shaking to your colon. Same result, much less wasted space!
The system even came with its own special set of controls, a pair of MIN to MAX knobs just labelled INTENSITY. I suppose one was for your butt, one for your back? Oh, wait, no, one for each seat! Ah, yeah, that makes sense!
Sure, this was kind of ridiculous and something of a technological dead end, but I bet 50th Anniversary 300ZX owners loved showing this thing off. You get your date/friend/clergyperson in that passenger seat, tell them to close their eyes, crank up Uptown Girl or I Wanna Be Sedated or Purple Rain and then twist those knobs to MAX and just wait for the inevitable orgasm or maybe coughing fit or both.
Man, what a time to be alive.