Ran across a guy on eBay selling all kinds of really vintage car audio stuff, some of it dates back to the 70s. He has two of these amps... never heard of them. Anyone here knows about these old school amps and what happened to the company?

Another interesting amp, Orion 225 Pink Floyd edition

Super Old school Linear Power amps and Alpine EQ
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I also came across the same eBay ad. Believe it or not, my family founded and operated BUI Electronics in San Jose, CA who designed and manufactured the Cruise Power Amps. At the time Rockford Fosgate was THE brand to beat in car amps, so my bro-in-law Tom Bui (now you know where BUI Electronics comes from) and his electronics mfg. company decided to put together a design team to create an amp to compete with Fosgate.

I'm not really an audio nut, so I can't explain in great detail, but there was a couple of things that were touted about these amps:

- very low distortion and noise due to the separate power supply circuit

- 100% MosFET design (ok, I don't know WTF this means haha)

- Oversized heat sinks for extremely cool operation

- Ability to go from stereo channels to full power bridged mode with a flick of a switch (again, I'm not too clear on why this is so cool)

Apparently these are collector's items now. For a very short while in the early 90's when I was still in college, these amps started to achieve a good amount of critical acclaim. However, they were expensive to build and not very profitable and eventually the business model collapsed. Before that, though, a couple of cool things came out of it. First was a ridiculous 80's looking ad with my brother Ted on a lawn chair next to his Mercedes, flanked by two blondes in bikinis. The background was this futuristic perspective grid. It was like Miami Vice meets Tron. It ran in Car Audio and Electronics mag (is that still around?).

The other cool thing was that they turned my little Dodge Colt hatchback into a Cruise Power show car, with 33 speakers (odd number because of a center channel placed in the center A/C vent) and something like 1,500W of power (IIRC it was one 600W bridged for the subs, one 300W for mid-bass and another 300W for mids and highs). It was pretty ridiculous and actually didn't sound very good because the Colt seems to be made out of the same material as a sardine can. The whole car rattled when I cranked up the volume. In the end the one thing I actually loved about the system was the Clarion deck they put in!

Anyhow, BUI Eletronics eventually stopped manufacturing the Cruise Powers. That was roughly '92 or '93 when they gave it up, I believe. They went back to their core business which was assembling PC Boards and renamed the company THD, Inc. Eventually they sold the company and are now semi-retired in San Diego. It surely is a trip seeing this stuff on the internet -- to know that there are people who have turned these into collector's items. Pretty cool.

The Colt ended up getting sideswiped by an 18-wheeler going 70 and I somehow survived with nothing more than a cut under the eye. The car, however, was totaled. I managed to save the amps and several of the speakers and ended up selling them off. I had outgrown the whole "booming system" days. Wish I had kept them - I probably would be making a pretty penny right now!
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