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Confessions of a J. C. Whitney Abuser – The iPhone of its Time,
curbsideclassic. ^ | By

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 didn’t 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 didn’t really work. You’d pretend that at the age of 12, you somehow had the requisite amounts of money and legitimacy to buy a used car...."

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TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Miscellaneous; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: cars; jcwhitney
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1 posted on 06/14/2014 8:41:18 AM PDT by virgil283
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To: virgil283

now THIS is a GREAT THREAD!!!

Thank you.


2 posted on 06/14/2014 8:44:14 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: virgil283

“(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.


3 posted on 06/14/2014 8:45:28 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: virgil283

4 posted on 06/14/2014 8:46:10 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (This is known as "bad luck". - Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: virgil283

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.


5 posted on 06/14/2014 8:50:34 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: virgil283

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.


6 posted on 06/14/2014 8:51:09 AM PDT by prisoner6 (Stop the Stupid!)
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To: buffaloguy
"You could really find out what you could do with a car"......Me too buff. I imagined a car with Buick 'bullet holes' in the hood. With Lake pipes and spinner hubcaps. Or that whopping big Carter AFB carburetor At 325 CFM !!!...WOW all that power !....
7 posted on 06/14/2014 9:00:46 AM PDT by virgil283 (GOD loves you...'He's not mad....He's not even in a bad mood'...)
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To: virgil283

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!

No where!


8 posted on 06/14/2014 9:01:10 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alteration: The acronym explains the science.)
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To: virgil283

The Sears & Roebuck catalog was fun too. Toys, women’s lingerie and a bunch of other junk.


9 posted on 06/14/2014 9:01:36 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin
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To: virgil283

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.


10 posted on 06/14/2014 9:04:34 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel

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!


11 posted on 06/14/2014 9:09:55 AM PDT by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I am the Tea Party bully who took Mitch McConnell's milk money.)
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To: virgil283

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.


12 posted on 06/14/2014 9:10:01 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: virgil283

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.


13 posted on 06/14/2014 9:13:29 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: buffaloguy

As a kid i got J.C. catalogue, a corvete club mag and spent hours drooling. Fun times!


14 posted on 06/14/2014 9:13:46 AM PDT by DariusBane (Liberty and Risk. Flip sides of the same coin. So how much risk will YOU accept? Vive Deco et Vives)
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To: virgil283
Oh, yes, do I remember J.C. Whitney and their catalogs! We even had a store in town that did a lot of muffler work, including custom stuff. I haven't seen a catalog in years, but I checked on-line and they are still in business! Congratulations to JCW for a successful business model.

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.

15 posted on 06/14/2014 9:14:02 AM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: virgil283
Ever see a Warchawski's catalog? It was page for page the same, but with a different name on the cover.

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!)

16 posted on 06/14/2014 9:14:03 AM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

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.


17 posted on 06/14/2014 9:14:42 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: muir_redwoods
I was instructed to put the end of a screwdriver against the carburetor bowl

A ball point pen stuck into the butterfly valve worked well too.

18 posted on 06/14/2014 9:17:12 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: virgil283

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?


19 posted on 06/14/2014 9:22:48 AM PDT by upsdriver (Palin/West '16)
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To: virgil283

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!


20 posted on 06/14/2014 9:26:06 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana ("If youÂ’re litigating against nuns, youÂ’ve probably done something wrong."-Ted Cruz)
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To: MeshugeMikey

Amen! I remember borrowing the catalogs from my dad’s side of the bedroom floor and paging through, looking at all the great parts for my non-existent Mustang.


21 posted on 06/14/2014 9:26:47 AM PDT by rabidralph
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To: virgil283

Thanks for the great Father’s Day gift — the memory of my Dad on getting his Whitney in the mail. We knew he’d be busy for days — and want so much to share his “great finds” with my Mom, sister and I but we just didn’t get it. It’s a guy thing and a wonderful memory for me. Wish I’d shared more with him when he was here.


22 posted on 06/14/2014 9:28:50 AM PDT by bunster
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To: virgil283

I’m so glad you posted that cat ad. Our neighbors had a cat like that in the rear window of their car whose eyes would glow red. I thought it was satan’s cat. Now I know it was just a fake. Wait a minute. That cat was grey.


23 posted on 06/14/2014 9:29:06 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
Nowhere else on eart could you buy an under-dash 8-track player for $20!

Yea, you saved bucks on the player but spent a fortune replacing the tapes they ate............LOL!

24 posted on 06/14/2014 9:31:30 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (By now, everyone should know that you shoot a zombie in the head. Don't try to reason with them...)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I still have both the book and the car.


25 posted on 06/14/2014 9:31:34 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: virgil283

A Holley Double Pumper with two fuel lines. 650 to 1150 cfm. You had to be running a lot of revs to keep the thing from strangling on the fuel. 4.11 rear end, valve springs so tight to slam them closed fast nothing would hold them in place.

The Quadrajets had two fuel dump jets. A secondary spring picked them up when you romped on the gas and just dumped gasoline into the intake from a reservoir until the vacuum could pick up.

I tuned almost every Saturday and cleaned spark plugs, filed points, set advance springs.

I learned about engineering from vendor catalogs. They were chock full of rules of thumb, nomographs and formulae.

I remember one late summer night coming through the mountains and a long banked curve, a full tank of 18 cent gasoline, a new pickup, a blonde farm girl and KVOO on the radio. Life has never been any better than that. It was the height of Nam, we young men were anxious but we had FREEDOM!

I married the girl and still have the pickup and her.


26 posted on 06/14/2014 9:33:06 AM PDT by Sequoyah101
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

***women’s lingerie and a bunch of other junk.***

Remember when the models wore black leotards with the undies over them?

When they did away with the black leotards, I know of some moms who tore those sections out of the catalog before the kids and the Old Man saw them.


27 posted on 06/14/2014 9:33:49 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need more than seven rounds, Much more.)
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To: rabidralph

ahahahaha I underwent a very similar set of “window shopping” “buying sprees”


28 posted on 06/14/2014 9:34:31 AM PDT by MeshugeMikey ( "Never, never, never give up". Winston Churchill)
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To: virgil283
And also Allied Catalogue - for electronic parts, tubes and speakers for amplifiers and ham radio gear.


29 posted on 06/14/2014 9:39:03 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: virgil283

I still like JC Whitney “books” but I miss the Western Auto store.


30 posted on 06/14/2014 9:54:22 AM PDT by lewislynn (What does the global warming movement and the Fairtax movement have in common? Disinformation)
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To: upsdriver
'Anyone remember Herter?'....Yes I sure do. Their catalog was a favorite for perusing camping and hunting gear. .....I bought one of their odd sheath knives;
31 posted on 06/14/2014 9:59:29 AM PDT by virgil283 (GOD loves you...'He's not mad....He's not even in a bad mood'...)
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To: virgil283

I used to LOVE receiving my J.C. Whitney “book” in the mail each month!
the good old days.....


32 posted on 06/14/2014 10:01:50 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: virgil283

Yep, that’s the one! My cousin and I ordered a reloader and supplies for 12 gauge shot shells back when we were in our teens.


33 posted on 06/14/2014 10:05:03 AM PDT by upsdriver (Palin/West '16)
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To: virgil283

When I was in fourth through about tenth grade, I was an abuser of the Fisher Scientific catalog.


34 posted on 06/14/2014 10:10:56 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: virgil283

Oh, the lists I used to make from that publication...

Let’s not forget Hemmings, either.


35 posted on 06/14/2014 10:11:27 AM PDT by moovova
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
Nowhere else on earth could you buy an under-dash 8-track player for $20
I have such fond memories of 8-tracks. Remember how the cartridges tended to get "car sick" and they unraveled inside the tape deck?
36 posted on 06/14/2014 10:21:44 AM PDT by Impala64ssa (You call me an islamophobe like it's a bad thing.)
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To: factoryrat
My first real job at age 16 was working the parts counter at an auto parts store.
I worked at a parts store back way back when also. I remember going through those books chasing down parts for the customers. Speaking of old VWs, one of our regular customers converted his garage and back yard into a small repair business, he was the local go-to guy when it came to German cars. I only knew him by his nickname, Sputnik. We called him that because years earlier he his wife and then newborn son escaped from E. Berlin with only the clothes on their back and whatever money they had. If communism is such a great thing, why was that damn wall built in the first place? To keep the Mexicans out?
37 posted on 06/14/2014 10:28:04 AM PDT by Impala64ssa (You call me an islamophobe like it's a bad thing.)
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To: upsdriver

Herter’s ...yes I spent hours huddled under the basement stairs AKA my fly tying shop lusting over feathers, fun and hooks.

I saw the name Herter’s on ammo and hope soared...only to be dashed.


38 posted on 06/14/2014 10:42:23 AM PDT by razorback-bert (Due to the high price of ammo, no warning shot will be fired.)
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To: virgil283

Wow. I remember seeing those glowing-eye cats in cars! It was like a furry precursor to the third brake light.


39 posted on 06/14/2014 11:05:08 AM PDT by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: virgil283

40 posted on 06/14/2014 11:32:45 AM PDT by gura (If Allah is so great, why does he need fat sexually confused fanboys to do his dirty work? -iowahawk)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I bought a copy of that book for a co-worker about 20 years ago. Don’t know if she still has the bug or not.


41 posted on 06/14/2014 11:41:34 AM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: virgil283

Thank you. As a 16 year old I probably spec’d out a couple of modified cars, that in my dreams I wanted to have, with JC Whitney.


42 posted on 06/14/2014 11:50:50 AM PDT by PhiloBedo (You gotta roll with the punches and get with what's real.)
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To: Rebelbase

First year I had my driver’s license I used to lust after the glass pack mufflers and headers in that catalog.
*************************
I bought a complete glass pack exhaust system for my Corvair Monza...


43 posted on 06/14/2014 1:46:11 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: Paladin2; Lonesome in Massachussets
Me too.

'71 Camper

44 posted on 06/14/2014 4:45:13 PM PDT by Does so ("Miranda Warnings" and loss of "Common-Law Marriage" = 2 Big Mistakes...)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
I remember many trips to the JC Whitney on Archer (?) Ave. in Chicago to pick up parts for my and many friends beaters back in the 70's.

Wasn't a neighborhood you went in lightly during the day, you sure wouldn't go in the evening!

Reminds me of the good old days. You know, when you could actually fix your car yourself without thousands of dollars in computerized diagnostic equipment!

45 posted on 06/14/2014 4:48:23 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: virgil283

I fell in love with the J.C. Whitney catalog in 1967 right after I bought my first car on my own, a 1965 Triumph Spitfire.

I knew when I bought it that it would need front disc pads soon, but when I checked the Triumph dealer, I found that a set of 4 pads was $32, a lot of money for me at the time.

Then someone told me about the J.C. Whitney catalog. I checked it and found a set of 4 pads for $7.98.
Figuring I had nothing to lose, I ordered a set.

When they came a couple of weeks later, I found they were Girling disc pads, made in England, the original equipment on the car.

Used the catalog regularly after that.


46 posted on 06/14/2014 5:42:09 PM PDT by chaosagent (Remember, no matter how you slice it, forbidden fruit still tastes the sweetest!)
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To: factoryrat
I still can remember part numbers and what parts would cross with what models even now.

I used to be able to remember part numbers too... for locomotives when I worked on the railroad... but what's happened is my mind has been crammed to capacity with endless online account usernames and passwords and so these days I am lucky if I can remember what I ate for breakfast.

Memory is the second thing to go...

47 posted on 06/15/2014 3:52:59 AM PDT by Rodamala (I can't remember the first.)
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To: virgil283

I was thinking back as to how years ago you ordered something from JC Whitney and were thrilled to get it 6 weeks later and sometimes the order was correct.

Now, I order stuff from Summit Racing on Thursday evening and it is sitting on my porch Saturday. Shipping that takes almost a week is disappointing. And the order is correct.

Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the Internet!


48 posted on 06/15/2014 4:14:49 AM PDT by Clay Moore (I Like My Guns Like Obama Likes His Voters: Undocumented)
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To: Rodamala

I work for the railroad now, and at least you only have to deal with two manufacturers, and only a handful of models now. It’s only a matter of what parts they have in stock at the warehouse, and how bad you need that power to build a train.


49 posted on 06/15/2014 11:46:31 AM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: factoryrat
Lean warehousing was the bane of our existance. There would be ascreaming match once or twice a month because rather than carrying inventory of normal parts, the Material Manager would expect us to apply labor to go steal parts off of recent inbounds... then apply the labor to fixingthe defect... then while trying to make all the promised releases by 04:59 (that dayshift left up to nights to get), we would have to inshop units into the system just to show the material request against the unit... it got to the point that the Technical Director's office had every deskdrawer crammed full of micellaneous parts as we would just charge out 2 parts when there was inventory and squirrel them away so we could be able to "sell" units at zero hour.

I miss that job as much as I do not.

50 posted on 06/15/2014 1:46:55 PM PDT by Rodamala
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