Thanks for writing up that article Gil. I was one of the folks you helped in customer support all those years ago. In 1981 when I was in high school, I bought a used Dynamax 8 through a classified ad in Sky & Telescope (back when the classifieds used to run for many pages each issue). The drive corrector it came with worked fine with indoor AC power, but the first time I tried plugging it into the lighter socket in the car it smoked.
At that time I didn't know good versus bad optical quality, but it was a great scope to have during the 1981 "Great Conjunction" of Jupiter and Saturn, and I saw most of the Messiers with it, several lunar eclipses, and learned a lot of sky. I also periodically had police cars stop when I was out in front of my house, but we were a small township and most of the officers who drove the night shift knew about me after a while. I kept it through college and for many years thereafter, only replacing it (with another SCT) when my interest in astronomy was rekindled during the run-up to the 2003 Mars opposition. Say what people might about the optics, the "golden pyramid" tripod was rock stable with a set of anti-vibration pads.
By the way, I think during the timeframe you wrote about, there were more than four telescope companies in the US. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, and I recall that Questar was somewhere in the area. I never visited them or even knew precisely where they were, but it was pretty cool to see their fancy ads in the magazines and know that they were nearby (even if I would never afford one of their scopes on what I made mowing lawns and working at McDonald's!).