The TAM

CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 28, 2010
1,071
1,049
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
You may have heard or been reading today of the death of Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion designer who's name here in France (and worldwide) is arguably as well known as that of Christian Dior or Yves Saint Laurent.
There's an interesting connection - at least for me - between the name Karl Lagerfeld and the name of which I've titled this thread, 'The TAM' or the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.
As a brief introduction, this unusual Mac was released in 1997, and one rather interesting piece of information issued at the time was that the computer could be made available by special chauffeur-driven limo delivery. And this typical Apple-like promotion service I understand incurred an additional cost over and above the astronomical price of $7,500 (the equivalent of 50,000 french francs in '97). I've read on specialist forums that very few were actually limo-chauffeur delivered. I happen to have one that was! It's picured below.
This was my first sight of the TAM as it was unboxed by the seller:

MyTAM3.jpg


I'd seen the ad on a French website, and as the seller was a short 20min drive away, I had to go and at least get a glimpse, and a hands-on experience. The above photo was taken just after power-up.

After a number of specific checks and tests, I confirmed that all functioned perfectly. Then came a period of attempted price negotiation. I'd been after a TAM for over 2 years, but of the few that were available, the asking prices were not in my ball-park.
Being unable to negotiate any reduction, I eventually accepted the sellers offer for the TAM. Up until then, no mention had been made of any associated history.
It was a little later when I met up again with the seller that he told me a little about his career. Now retired, he'd been Karl Lagerfeld's private chauffeur in Paris, and accompanied his boss frequently on overseas tours.
And now we come to the particularly interesting part.

One day in 1997 (he couldn't recall the exact date), he was tasked by Karl Lagerfeld to drive and pick up an assignment of Macs which had been ordered. Delivering them back to his boss he then learned that there were 10 or 12 boxed TAM's, and these were presented to a certain number of his close personnel. Naturally he was surprised, and also delighted that one was presented to him.
He told me he'd used it for a short while, after which it remained boxed until 2016, which is when I purchased it.
Unfortunately the individual original boxes had not been retained, and I was also disappointed that he didn't know the whereabouts of a few of the original accessories, namely the 'Fat Back, the Riser Card or Insert. He couldn't recall ever seeing them, and assumed that they'd been left in their packing material and trashed along with all the other boxes that comprised the complete assembly. Fortunately the leather-bound software wallet, and similar extravagant user manual were all retained and handed across to me. I particularly like the 'Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh' engraved matching twin pen set that was also part of the package.

A few more pictures once set-up at home:

TAMplus2_4.jpg


TAM plus 2.jpg

It doesn't get a great deal of use, but when it does the sound reproduction from the integral FM tuner or CD is superb through the side tweeters and separate (now floor-mounted) TAM/Bose subwoofer.
For info, a detail on the logic board gives an Apple Corporation Inc date of 1996, whereby the Main Apple ident decal on the chassis below the board indicates Model M3459 and a copyright date of 1997. Strangely enough on that same ident sticker I can see no obvious individual S/No, although there is another decal with a bar code and an eight-figure number and a 'C' suffix.
I must take a few photos of the accessories and post again.
 
Last edited:

bobesch

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2015
1,240
851
Kiel, Germany
@CooperBox , thanks for sharing that story with us!!!

Oh, I like these stories behind that nice hardware!
Remnants and history of the hands that passed through that stuff.
Makes first encounter a kind of time-travel back to the moment, when that specific hardware was in it's original contemporary usage.

And well, Karl Lagerfeld, he's got style ...!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CooperBox

iTurbo

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
298
356
Pretty cool. I think these were pretty similar hardware-wise to the PM 6500?
 

havokalien

macrumors 6502a
Apr 27, 2006
649
49
Kelso, Wa
They were 6400, similar to the 6500, but the bus speed was bumped up and also processor speed. You can Tamify (change resistors) as i call it a 6400/6500 board to make the Tam boot sound, but it must be in a tower with the built in sub, not the 5400/5500 all in one case. I am not sure if the resistor change effects the clock speed though as I kind of was just stoked it could be done.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,253
13,094
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Many find it ugly, but I think it's pretty well designed.
I've never found it ugly, but I've always been disappointed in the size of the screen. Even in 1997 there were 15" or 17" CRT monitors available for sale - yet the TAM has this dinky little screen.

For a 25th anniversary example it doesn't say much to me about progress when the screen is virtually the same size as a Classic Mac. Maybe that's a homage? I don't know. But it's just never impressed me.
 

bobesch

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2015
1,240
851
Kiel, Germany
... the screen is virtually the same size as a Classic Mac. Maybe that's a homage? I don't know. But it's just never impressed me.
You say it, and maybe the clue, why that design was chosen: when you look at the front is has the same dimensions like the Macintosh from 1984 (monitor upper half, drive etc. lower half) plus in addition speakers on both sides.
Certainly top of crowd, when it comes to music-entertainment at that time ... stereo-speakers and subwoofer: if you sit in front of it, sound must have been great (I guess the same like with the early and later intel MacBookPro's plus attached BassJump-woofer). Hopefully no foam-rot!?
 
  • Like
Reactions: eyoungren

iTurbo

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
298
356
I have a Sonnet 500 Mhz G3 "L2" upgrade in my 6500. I think it works in the TAM too. I wonder how much those go for these days.

I'm still hell bent on upgrading that machine to SATA/SSD and making a 4-track recorder out of it though. If only I can find the time.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,684
1,679
I've never found it ugly, but I've always been disappointed in the size of the screen. Even in 1997 there were 15" or 17" CRT monitors available for sale - yet the TAM has this dinky little screen. For a 25th anniversary example it doesn't say much to me about progress when the screen is virtually the same size as a Classic Mac.
To be fair, the TAM has an LCD screen and those weren't humongous back then, either. I was just disappointed with the rubbish SVGA resolution. Not what you want on a premium product.

I have a Sonnet 500 Mhz G3 "L2" upgrade in my 6500. I think it works in the TAM too. I wonder how much those go for these days.
Yeah, I looked at those, then saw the issues with space and heat build up. Not the best logic board design Apple has ever made. Reminds me I need to replace the blown PSUs in both of my 6500s.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eyoungren

AppleHaterLover

macrumors 68000
Jun 15, 2018
1,963
1,956
It’s e beautiful machine, but I’d imagine it’s pretty useless today in spite of what I presume are great speakers?

Does it have any sort of audio or video input? I think those would be some OK Spotify speakers.
 

iTurbo

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
298
356
To be fair, the TAM has an LCD screen and those weren't humongous back then, either. I was just disappointed with the rubbish SVGA resolution. Not what you want on a premium product.



Yeah, I looked at those, then saw the issues with space and heat build up. Not the best logic board design Apple has ever made. Reminds me I need to replace the blown PSUs in both of my 6500s.
Yup, I also have two 6500s. One hot-rodded with just about anything and everything possible, the other is stock. The one with all the upgrades I did have to replace the PSU. I'm nostalgic about it since I used it daily for so long and had so much fun with it. The slide-out logic board was pretty darn user friendly though.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,684
1,679
. The slide-out logic board was pretty darn user friendly though.
I'll give it that. Removing the front plate to replace the hard drive is not so user-friendly, though and there's an alarming bit before it snaps off when you think the plate is going to split in half.

Also that stupid, rare PRAM battery. There was no need for that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tevion5