"Dedicated"  VS.  "Converted"  Pole Position 2

This very crude webpage (...it's obvious I'm not a Web Monkey ), is intended to highlight the differences between a "Dedicated" PP2 and a "Converted" PP2.

Most people (in North America at least ) likely have a "Converted" PP2, in that the game was originally a PP1 which was subsequently converted to a PP2 by a conversion kit offered by Atari.    "Dedicated" PP2's are arguably much harder to find (...North America ) given that they were not readily available in the US.

I already owned a "Converted" PP2, but was in the fortunate situation of acquiring a "Dedicated" PP2 , so I though I would share my findings of a side-by-side comparison for the collecting community.

These next few pictures illustrate the difference between a Converted PP2 game which was an upgrade kit to a PP1 cab, and a "Genuine" (original dedicated ) PP2 cab.


Stephan Suys
Ottawa, Canada

A bit of background...

Pole Position was created by Namco, but distribution rights for the US were acquired by Atari. This is why virtually all PP's in the the US are from Atari.

There are therefore two sets of boards, Atari and Namco. The boards are physically different and can not be switched between cabinets. The biggest difference is that the Namco board has on-board audio and does not require the dreaded Atari AR-II boards.

The wiring harness for both boardset is therefore very different also. (I will try to include pictures at a later time).

As for gameplay, both version are nearly identical except for minor differences such as the inclusion of Atari or Namco logos in some of the background billboards and banners .

As for the cabinets, it would appear that virtually all PP2's in the USA were only offered as upgrade kits to existing PP1 cabs.

To the best of my knowledge, the upgrade kit came as an Eprom upgrade for the Atari Boards (not new boards), a new bezel, marquee, CP decals, and new side-art. Ironically, the PP2 sideart contained in the Atari Upgrade kit had the Namco logo. Few operators bothered with installing the sideart, choosing instead to go the easy route with only the Marquee, bezel and CP stickers . This is why most US PP1's and PP2's have the same artwork.

Of interesting note, Atari also had a manufacturing plant in Ireland, which, arguably provided games to the UK and Europe. (...and possibly also Canada since several "Dedicated" PP2's have been  found in Canada ) .  Unlike its' US conterpart which only offered the upgrade kit, this Irish  facily actually made new PP2 cabinets from scratch with entirely different artwork.

The following pictures will highlight these differences.

Side Art

The most obvious change is the side art.

The Converted PP2 is housed in the PP1 cab which has the familiar ATARI side-art
The Dedicated PP2 has a more "stylized" artwork and features the "Namco" logo on the driver's helmet
(...which is interesting given that it was manufactured by Atari )


Size does Matter

The next most noticeable difference is the size.

Unlike the hulking US version (...which is a PITA to move around), the Dedicated version is noticeably smaller, but still has the CP and steering at roughly the same height as the US/PP1 cab.


Measurements are as follows :
Converted Cab (PP1) :  H  = 72.5"   Depth = 35",  Width = 25 .5 "  Weight =  ~270+ lbs
Dedicated Cab (PP2) :  H  = 67.5"   Depth = 30",  Width = 24 "    Weight =  ~200 lbs
[NB. Weight is approximate ]

The Dedicated cab doesn't have the "typically" huge top overhang as found on many Atari games ( Centipede, Kangaroo, etc...)
which make the cab very top heavy and difficult to tilt backwards .



What the Converted cab lacks in side-art, it makes up for with bezel.

The PP2 bezel provided in the PP1 upgrade kit is much nicer than the more ordinary one on the Dedicated cab.
This may be attributed to the fact that the glass area is much larger and therefore allowed for more artwork.

The Conversion Bezel also has the track informarion at the top of the glass,
which is easier to see than on the CP as is the case with the Dedicated cab.

DedBez    ConvBez

Control Panel

Again, the nod for the better panel goes to the Converted cab.

It features a "dash-like" plastic shroud and the steering wheel is at a slightly better angle upward
(...which is useful for anyone over 5' 8" ! ).

The conversion kit included a decal for the "dash" which featured a picture of the 4 tracks.
This replaced/hid the PP1 dash decal which were dial-like gauges.


Final Word

So that's a rough-cut of the differences between a Converted and Dedicated Pole Position II Cab.

Having examined the two games closely, I personally tend to favor the Converted cab solely for it's Bezel and dash, which are usually far more noticeable than the sideart when you have games lined-up side-by-side.

The bigger size of the Converted cab has it pros and cons.  It's a more "intimidating" cab and is an absolute b-tch to move around, but the angle of the steeting wheel and the larger glass make it more "playable".

However, for collectability , "size convenience" and far superior side art, the Dedicated cab no doubt has it's following too.

 Stephan Suys
Ottawa, Canada
October  16th , 2005

[From info/comments please feel free to write me at   s_suys (@) hotmail.com  ]