I've wanted one of these since I discovered there was a Commodore 65. I reckon it's second to the Apple Lisa 1 in my top 10 of Most Wanted - it's one of those machines that becomes gold dust for any computer collector, particularly since like the P500 it was never officially released. Some did escape into the development world, but the rest didn't get out until Commodore was liquidated in 1994 - this one has a CBM Auction sticker on the back.
Officially called the C64DX (apparently CBM were being cheap with their codenames, since the DX64 was an even rarer development dual-floppy version of the portable SX64), the C65 was started without management knowledge, and I have to wonder why it was started since the Amiga 500 was already out and about - even I had one! Again like the P500 there are varying rumours as to how many got out, from 200 to 2000, but from what I've read the real answer is closer to the 200 mark.
Note how Amiga-like it looks, right down to the expansion slot underneath for RAM expansion and stereo sound ports.....more to the point, it works! This one is Serial number 31 and is a Rev3 board, one of the revisions was to actually include the extra external floppy drive connector for the also-not-released 1556 floppy. Here's a mail from Riccardo Rubini, a fellow C65 owner:
"I am a fellow C65 owner. Among C65 computers, I own a dead Rev 5 motherboard, and the reason it is fauly is in the famous "handwritten" labeled chip you were wondering about in your Rev3 C65 description. That's a PAL, I guess you know what it is. For being more precise, it's a TIBPAL20L8x-xx"
Just giving it a good going over reveals many subtle differences; since this one is missing the F11/F12 key I wondered if I could steal one from a dead C128, but the keyboard layout is completely different; it uses the same keytops as the 128, but still retains the C64's graphics labelling on the side. Basically it has a more PC-like keyboard than the 128, so there's a full size TAB key and the CTRL key is where you'd expect; in layout terms it resembles a modern laptop!
One thing that surprised me, don't know why, is that CBM still included C64 mode in the same manner as the C128 - just for the hell of it I typed 'GO64'......and it did!
Thanks to Bo Zimmerman, Texan CBM collector extraordinaire, for thinking of
me when he came across his other machine, and more detailed info can be found on his site and Cameron Kaiser's Secret Weapons of Commodore.