Game Story

I really like the old school driving games. Pole Position had great music and that voice. “Prepare to qualify!”

I had learned that Pole Position's board set is temperamental and broadly disliked. I also learned, when well vented, they perform beautifully for about 2 years, then you need board repairs. “Prepare to buy boards,” is what she should say.


I found an upright cabinet in the middle of CT. My first very serious project was underway. This thing needed it all.

RestorationLogPhotosGalleryReproductionRick’s Shroud


I bought this from John because I wanted a Pole Position and the Upright wasn't going to cut it for me. The cabinet was solid and the artwork was largely in tact. I went for it.


Technical Information


Pole Position was released in 1982 by Atari. The title was developed by Namco and licensed to Atari. It features a color raster display with a horizontal orientation (256x224).


This game is built on the Namco Pole Posiiton hardware platform. Driven by a Z80 CPU, 3 secondary microprocessors, Z8002 (Z8000 variants) and custom sound and speech chips.

Video CPUZ80Zilog
Sub Proc. UnitsZ8002Zilog
Sub Proc. UnitsMB8844Fujitsu
Power2 x AR II-01Atari


AcceleratorPedal11Steel with Grip Tape, Potentiometer
BrakePedal01Steel with Grip Tape, Leaf Switch
ShiftShifter11Hi/Lo, Microswitch

Production Notes

Advanced for 1982, Pole Position would become the biggest title of 1983. This game has scalable sprites, speech and impressive sound. The title uses two AR II-01 board to provide 4 channels of sound. The sound was very effective win the environmental (cockpit) cabinet where seat mounted speakers rumbled the engine noise into your back.

Offered to Midway first, they chose Mappy instead. Atari and Namco would go on to make many Pole Position cabinets and sequels. Pole Position II would come out in 1983 in its own cabinets and as a kit. The franchise split at this point. Atari released TX-1 with 3 screens and very similar play and graphics. This was not a Namco title. Namco and Atari Games would go on to release Final Lap in 1987. Final Lap can be considered the real Pole Position 3. Final lap continued for 2, 3 and R. It also spawn a console-based franchise.