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History J.C. Whitney being sold

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Goober, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,014

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    How they held out as long as they did is what's amazing. It's how it is; the bigger fish eats the smaller fish, is eaten by an even bigger fish, that's eaten by an even bigger fish. Look a O' Rielly's Auto Parts. Same kind of deal, only they were the biggest fish in the pond. In my 57 Sedan Delivery I just bought, is a shifter purchased through J.C. Whitney. It works fine, for what was a $19.95 shifter at the time. I only buy from them a couple of times a year, and then it's usually off the wall stuff. Hopefully, the new company will continue with some of the stuff J.C. Whitney was known for, and it would be nice if they kept the name, but that probably won't happen. Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  2. Seepwater
    Joined: Aug 13, 2006
    Posts: 164

    Seepwater
    Member

    I took the ex down to the southside store (before they moved). Two employees got in a fist fight in the aisle we were in. She said, "get me out of here". We parked in the lot across the stree that had a 15' chainlink fence with razor wire on top around it and an armed guard at the entrance. Good times....
     
  3. Turbo-T
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 18

    Turbo-T
    Member

    I've got a flying goddess hood ornament and a bermuda taxi bell that came from them. I think I'll keep them for a while.
    Read their catalog cover to cover when I was a kid. The hub caps filled a whole page.
     
  4. plym49
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,797

    plym49
    Member
    from Earth

    So the acquisition would seem to make sense. Consolidate warehousing, purchasing and distribution under one company; badge engineering can maintain the distinction. Economies of scale, what?

    That said I fondly remember the JCWhitney of the 60s. The catalogs were great reading; I would find out a lot about what worked and how and so on simply by reading about what was available. There was nothing like the look and feel of thier old printed catalogs. Over the years I saw many of the legacy items, for example taillights for 1950s cars, become fewer and farther between. The Jeep and import stuff started to crowd those old parts out. Their current web site is a joke; totally unsatisfying to use.

    I seem to recvall that they went through a Chapter 11 or somesuch in the 80s or thereabouts. Some big changes occurred then when they came back and the other changes have been happening slowly ever since.

    Nowadays there is really very little difference between what JCW has become and any large parts house. You see therefore the inevitability of this change.
     
  5. The times, they are a changin'. Stock up and lock up; that is all. And learn a foriegn language. But which one?
     
  6. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    The name of the company matters? They don't make the parts, they just sell them, whoever 'they' are.
     
  7. 39 All Ford
    Joined: Sep 15, 2008
    Posts: 1,531

    39 All Ford
    Member
    from Benton AR

    Many years ago when I was a teenager, I used to think JCW was the only place I could find parts for my 39.

    I also remember being profoundly disappointed with the $86 Ford Deluxe grille, (yea, I remember the price for certain, lots of money for a kid in the late 70s) I think it was made in Brazil, and even as a teen I knew it just was not going to make the grade.
     
  8. MODELA30
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,165

    MODELA30
    Member

    I REMEMBER GOING TO Warshawsky's LATER JC WHITNEY ON STATE ST IN CHICAGO WE WERE LIVING IN EAST CHICAGO INDIANA AT THAT TIME REAL TOUGH NIEBORHOOD. BUT WHEN WE WENT DOWN THERE WE WOULD ALWAYS PACK REAL HEAVY. LOTS OF RIF RAF IN CHICAGO AT THAT TIME. BUT I DO REMEMBER BUYING ENGINE BEARING KITS IN A PLAIN BOX OPENED THEM UP IN THE CAR AND ALL THE BEARINGS WHERE CLEVITE 77. GOOD DEALS. THAT PLACE WILL ALWAYS BE MISSED. WE NEED TO START BUYING ONLY American PRODUCTS!!!!!!! KNUCK FROM INDIANA.
     
  9. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,860

    Retro Jim
    Member

    How the hell did they stay in business this long ? That was the worst shit you could buy on earth . Hell I don't even think China would sell to them .
    Yea it was fun looking at all the stupid shit you could buy for your car back in the late 60's and early 70's ! I couldn't imagine anyone buying that junk !
    OH well anyone bites the dust !

    Retro Jim
     
  10. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    Bullshit Retro Jim. They marketed car parts, I've bought a lot from them. None that I recall had a "JC Whitney" lable. Motor parts were Clevite, Felpro, Champion, AC, etc. Remanufactured parts ran the gambit, but NEW parts, seat belts, mufflers, and the like were primarily the same ones OEM outlets sold. Of course, you said it, that you never bought any so how would you know?
     
  11. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 6,985

    5window
    Member

    In the 60's, my dad had a Model T-remember when JCW had a whole section on A's and T's and another just on Jeeps-then on VW's?. Dad would get a JC Whitney and a Warshawsky catalog at the same time. Same catalog but the addresses were different sides of the same building-and the Washawsky catalog was cheaper!
     
  12. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,988

    fab32
    Member Emeritus

    Sad to see them go. They have been a fixture on the auto parts/hotrod/custom scene for many years. I remember buying from them in the late 50's early 60's when I turned 16 an HAD to have a few of their accessoeies.

    Frank
     
  13. MODELA30
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,165

    MODELA30
    Member

    Retro jim are you high!!! All those parts they sold back then where 85% built in the usa. We did not start buying jap crap till reaganomicks kicked in early 80's. 29 nash is right all those engine parts were good stuff for cheap too. I bought many of things out there. I just did not care to much for the neighborhood on state st chicago. Knuck from indiana.
     
  14. Skeezix
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 846

    Skeezix
    Member
    from SoCal

    I always liked their catalog, better than Sears or JC Penny for wishin'
    Well at least we still have harbor freight
     
  15. cigarcaptain
    Joined: Jun 11, 2009
    Posts: 43

    cigarcaptain
    Member

    I did a pilgramge to JC W in 1970 or 71. The place was so old it freaked me out. Floor and counters all extremely worn wood, practicaly nothing showing, no walls full of goodies like I had envisioned. There was at least a smallblock on an engine stand and a counter with all the parts books but no bling very stark and old. Also in a scary neighborhood. But I always loved those cataloges in the mail.
     
  16. Thumper
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,611

    Thumper
    Member

    Jc Whitney, Washawsky, Honest Charley, Almquist.......A lot of cars were built with parts from places like that. Sure.... Jc Whitney went a different direction in the later years but what company hasn't?

    Those catalogs spurred a lot of dreams in a young mans mind in those days.....I know they did mine. Custom tailight lenses, chrome goodies for damn near any engine, and who can forget the custom tube grilles, Lake pipes in any lenght, lowering blocks, multi carb intakes......the list is endless.

    Now they will be swallowed up and most likely disappear. I will go and drink a cold one in honor of my youthful memories of them. The pages of old stirred my mind and kept me dreaming . Thanks for the memories.
     
  17. lewislynn
    Joined: Apr 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,413

    lewislynn
    Member

    Wow! Are you sure about that?

    I'm pretty sure back in the day all "the worst shit you could buy on earth" (your words) at JC was manufactured here in America...Probably even union made.
     
  18. lewislynn
    Joined: Apr 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,413

    lewislynn
    Member

    I'd be looking for another job
    I have to keep my opinons to myself at work
    Both are only a couple of reasons I'm self-employed.
     
  19. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 896

    claymore
    BANNED

    It was a killer wait for your parts ordered from JC to show up and find out the generic parts listed were really GOOD PARTS in a plain box like clevite bearings and real ford gasket sets at half the price the dealer wanted. Never had a problem with anything bought there for my Y block.
     
  20. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835

    Johnny1290
    Member

    Man when I was in HS in the mid 80s I'd get those catalogs and stare at them all day. I remember the jeep and VW sections and I think they still had model a and t back then as well. They always had crap like bull dog hood ornaments with jeweled eyes that glowed or something like that hahaha but like the above poster said a lot of times you'd be surprised and get something name brand from them

    That catalog was my internet back in '86 LOL

    Hey you can still get catalogs, but not the same one from back then it seems, these are specific for jeeps or bugs or whatever

    catalog request

    I've ordered from them a few times in the last couple years when they had some stuff on killer sale. No complaints but also no reason to shop there than any other website.

    Looks like they were already sold in 07? and now they're just getting flipped. This seems to be what companies do before they go bankrupt these days.

    I wish I'd seen the store in Chicago. I've been to PAW in the valley. It's pretty underwhelming, no catalogs anymore, and I can't remember the last ad I saw of theirs. They're just the last couple years getting the website together to have a shopping cart and prices and stuff. That place can't possibly stay in business much longer I don't reckon.
     
  21. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    I wouldn't worry. It says that they are being sold not liquidated.

    A friend put J C Whitney pressed pleat seat covers in his 62 and bought extra material for the door panels. He has 650 bucks in the interior. (no headliner or carpets) It looks great.

    I looked around on the net for some universal exhaust flanges to make a set of headers. I found them the cheapest at J C Whitney. Everyone else were either out of stock or they were $tainless $teel. I had what I needed in 3 days.
     
  22. Back in the late 50's and early 60's, where I live, about the only place you could find new el cheapo Model "A" parts was in the Whitney catalog...
     
  23. NITROFC
    Joined: Apr 17, 2001
    Posts: 6,189

    NITROFC
    BANNED

    JCW was one of our sponsors back in the late 80's

    [​IMG]
     
  24. tobyflh
    Joined: Nov 5, 2008
    Posts: 421

    tobyflh
    Member
    from Peru il

    whitney was sold to an investment group in 07 with the plans for them to sell in a 3 years. the group made there money now it's time to sell. they do very well there. the new company would be very stupid to change anything. to bad they don't sell much for old cars any more, but i did just buy a lund bed cover for my truck.
     
  25. Slow55
    Joined: Sep 20, 2009
    Posts: 112

    Slow55
    Member

    Well that's just great. Going from cheap Chinese parts to expensive Chinese parts. What's next, Ded Boyz?
     
  26. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,851

    Hdonlybob
    Member

    Bought a lot of parts back in the '60's from their store on S. Main Street in Rockford Ill.
    Was always fun to go in there and scrounge around.
    If my memory serves me correctly, the Chicago store was on a corner with JC Whitney on one street, and Warshawsky's on the other street.
    I always chuckled when I would spend ~$10 or so ordering from their catalog and then get one catalog a month for about a year!!!
    I aggree, a sad situation.
     
  27. ScottV
    Joined: Jul 18, 2009
    Posts: 818

    ScottV
    Member

    Crap ... now where am I going to buy my chrome steel slots ???
     
  28. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,051

    sololobo
    Member

    Speedway doesn't belong in a catagory with J.C. Whitney They offer some off shore product to make affordable options for folks is true. But they have tons of high quality products and excellent service. I am a huge supporter of Speedy Bills enterprize and have seen it build from a tiny shop to a worldwide distribution, manufactoring, hobby supporting, business. So dogging them is not cool in my book. Lack of knowledge is however easy to understand, Thats my story and I am sticking to it. ~Sololobo~
     
  29. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,206

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Every upholstery kit I ever bought from them fit well. Carpets, fitted seat covers, headliners. Well done.
    I'll miss them, even though I hadn't bought from them in years. I thought they started going downhill when the Jeep stuff got bigger and the VW stuff got smaller.
     
  30. I remember them having 56 chevy grills and other stuff for a 1/3 of the danchuck price many moons ago. I went down there, and it was danchuck!!!!

    Yeah, the old showroom was a sight to see. There was a car collection in the front windows, I hope someone can find some pictures of that. Another cool store was "Blue star" across the street. They're still there but the inventory has gone lame.
     

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