Skip to comments.Confessions of a J. C. Whitney Abuser – The iPhone of its Time,
Posted on 06/14/2014 8:41:18 AM PDT by virgil283
"Kids: Want to know how we (once) pre-teens and teens spent the way-too-much free time we had back in the electronic dark ages of a half-century or so ago? We read books. The classics, of course, like the famous J.C. Whitney Automotive Accessory and Parts Book (J.C. deliberately called it a book in order to let us tell our parents we were indeed reading a book as though they really cared then, before the invention of helicopter parents). Now, one simply didnt read a JC W book cover-to-cover or randomly, without some higher purpose; no, we exercised our developing minds by using this book in a very specific manner, kind of like an app.
Before even opening it, you had to pick a certain make, year and model of car that, for some inexplicable reason, was of intense interest to you and no,not a new one; that didnt really work. Youd pretend that at the age of 12, you somehow had the requisite amounts of money and legitimacy to buy a used car...."
now THIS is a GREAT THREAD!!!
“(J.C. deliberately called it a book in order to let us tell our parents we were indeed reading a book”
And Shotgun News isn’t a real newspaper but it sure is fun to read.
This is weird. I was thinking this week about how much fun the J.C. Whitney catalog was when I was a kid. You could really find out what you could do with a car through that catalog and I did read it cover to cover every year.
This was in a time when any car made in Detroit could be made into a racing car. Which shows you how old I am.
JCW got so much of the little money I had especially in the mid to late ‘60’s when my family had a brand new Mustang convertible and a new VW camper van. I put JCW flower stix all over it and both the van and I became known as “Flower Power.”
The future Mrs p6 came up with that...her parents forbid her to ride in the van.
Nowhere else on eart could you buy an under-dash 8-track player for $20!
Extra speakers for another $20.
Gotta love the pride of LaSalle Illinois!
The Sears & Roebuck catalog was fun too. Toys, women’s lingerie and a bunch of other junk.
Man, those were the days. Downdraft carbs, engines bored out to bigger cubic inches, extra strong transmissions to handle the power as you raced down the strip.
Woo Hoo!I wish our kids had that these days.
Ah yes....the 8 track....my ticket out of generation X due having owned and used one.
That Bradford stereo system and my pioneer speakers...listening to Bread and Chicago and Seals and Crafts on the 8 track.....leaving Stein Stein church and ching and Cosby records on the turntable.
F-off gen X’ers....I disown you clowns!
My first real job at age 16 was working the parts counter at an auto parts store. This was before computers became prevalent, and you had racks of parts catalogs that you relied on to find what the customer wanted. I learned how to look up parts, and about different makes and models, by reading J.C. Whitney catalogs from cover to cover. Working part time at a salvage yard, and having access to Hollander manuals helped also. I still can remember part numbers and what parts would cross with what models even now.
First year I had my driver’s license I used to lust after the glass pack mufflers and headers in that catalog.
Somehow my mother didn’t share my obsession when it came to her car.
As a kid i got J.C. catalogue, a corvete club mag and spent hours drooling. Fun times!
I remember going to their Chicago store in the 1970s. Big mistake. That store had the rudest staff I'd seen — they really worked at offending their customers. I can understand why the catalog was popular; you didn't have to deal with obnoxious employees.
BTW- I don't think there was ever a time when I received my entire order (from either one of them) all at once! They were masters at using other peoples money for about a month or so, before you finally received whatever was "back ordered". (Do that on a nationwide scale, to enough people, and that $10 or $20 here and there adds up!)
That is one of the most useful and entertaining books ever written. My VW once ( well, often) exhibited bizarre behavior. It started right up but stalled as soon as I gave it any gas. Puzzled I opened up that book without much hope. Under a heading of “starts, won’t run” I was instructed to put the end of a screwdriver against the carburetor bowl and whack it moderately with a hammer. That fixed a stuck carburetor float and I was on my way.
I used that book and the JC Whitney catalogue to rebuild several VW engines.
A ball point pen stuck into the butterfly valve worked well too.
Yep! I remember those days well! J.C. Whitney catalogs gave me hours of entertainment. I even ordered items from them for some of my projects. Good memories! Anyone remember Herter’s?
I guess I went more in the geek direction. I went for the Lafayette catalogue, Radio Shack if I was slumming. Lafayette actually sold prerecorded open reel tapes!
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