The VIC-40 that became Commodore 64

From: Anders Carlsson (
Date: 2006-10-08 01:27:26


(message Bcc:ed to Cameron, in case he doesn't read the list)

I found some photocopies from an UK magazine "MicroComputer Printout"
from early 1982, and typed in as much as I could find:

As some of you might know, VIC-40 was a planned upgrade for the VIC-20
to give it 40 columns and perhaps a bit better sound. There is some 
information on Secret Weapons of Commodore, and Brian Bagnall in his
latest book appears to have written a deal about it, introducing a
couple of new details, previosly unknown.

I have put a bit of comments into the document linked to above. As
far as I understand, Commodore at one point had a project code named
VIC-30 but at some time during Christmas 1981 (?) decided to scrap the
planned VIC-20 upgrade and instead renamed the new project VIC-40.

The article mentions that on the Hannover Fair Trade, where the VIC-40
along with the Ultimax were presented, there also was a 40-column PET
compaible computer with detachable keyboard called Commodore 64. I think
it sounds very much like the P500. Larry Anderson or anyone else with
experience in the matter may agree. The article only has a picture of
a CBM-II series computer (not scanned).

Later in the summer, it appears Commodore changed plans, and prepared
to use the Commodore 64 name for the VIC-40 project instead. The other
machine demoed got a new name, and computer press was a bit confused at
the beginning what the new VIC-20 like home computer was to be called.

The first short article about the VIC-40 mentions it was planned to be
powered by a 6509. The Ultimax however was developed with a 6510, that
maybe can be said to be a down-scaled, low cost alternative? In that
case, it appears the VIC-40/Commodore 64 catched on with this processor.
Based on how complex the 6509 seems to be in memory management and bank
switching, maybe it was just as well that the C64 didn't get one? :-)


Anders Carlsson

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