Recently I was scanning E Bay and came across a 1976 JC Whitney catalog. It was “buy it now” at $3 with $3 in shipping, so I bought it. In 1976, the JC Whitney catalog was my window into the world of auto repair and customization. It was a big part of my automotive history. When I discovered a car I was interested in purchasing, I would research the catalog to see what repair parts were available. That search always led to accessories as well. I was looking for something to make the car stand out. Then there were the wish list items. And believe me, the number of items in the catalog that were one-of- a-kind were many. It was car guy heaven.
I remember one of my very first purchases from around 1978 was a digital tachometer. It was small and had a red LED readout. It was so futuristic and cool. It was also hard to read and had a huge delay, but none of my friends had one. Later I ordered a small toolbox with various tools to help expand my limited supply of tools. I don’t believe I have any of those original tools left in my collection. But I know I still have the hip roofed box, it’s under the workbench full of nuts and bolts. Over the years, the JC Whitney catalog has changed from hand drawn illustrations to color photos and from obscure items to the mundane. The store has also moved from midtown Chicago to along I-80.
Today I get catalogs from Ecklers, Mid America, and Corvette America. I still look through them to see what’s new or unique, something to make my car stand out from all the others. I can’t help myself, It’s part of my DNA.
Save the Wave,