Home » It’s Time For Another Tour Of Weird Crap From A ’70s JC Whitney Catalog

It’s Time For Another Tour Of Weird Crap From A ’70s JC Whitney Catalog

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This is a bit of insider information, but JC Whitney reached out to us recently, and I’ll be honest, that kind of felt like Cap’n Horatio Magellan Crunch reaching out, a near-mythical figure from your childhood that you sort of thought was gone. But they’re not gone! They’re still around, but they’re much more rational now, with a lot less of that old ’70s madness that I’ve showed you a few times before. But I still have some old catalogs, which means there’s still madness that needs sharing, so let’s all just calm down and do what needs to be done! Let’s look at some weird JC Whitney crap from 1974!

First, we should note that the 1970s was, when it comes to floors, the shaggiest era known to humankind. Much like the groins and chests of the people of the era, floors found themselves pelted with rich, shaggy fur, and humans adapted to this to such a degree that it was practically a medical requirement that vehicles like cars must have at least the option to have their floors slathered in shag.

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That’s why we ended up with stuff like this, “CLOUD-SOFT FUR-LIKE AUTO CARPETS”essentially throw rugs for your car:

Furlike

Why risk your feet touching some sort of miserable low-cut pile carpet or. god forbid, rubber or metal? It’s just not worth the likely subsequent hospital stays at the podiatry wing, with emergency podiatrists applying carefully sterilized bits of shag to the soles of your feet. Get a car throw rug.

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JC Whitney catalogs always had great selections for imported cars, and I like the variety of cars they used to identify the not-from-here car pages:

Imports

So, from top down, we have a Volvo P1800, a Toyota Corona, a Jaguar E-Type, a Mercedes-Benz W110 fintail, and I included a VW Type 3 Squareback, mostly to show that the catalog’s extensive Volkswagen section didn’t only have little line art of Beetles.

Who likes danger? JC has something just for you!

Leftfooraccel

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Yes, a “left foot” accelerator kit! I think this was a sort of cheapskate’s alternative to cruise control, so if your foot got tired on a long drive, you could just, you know, switch feet, which gave your right foot a chance to rest and a great opportunity to experience some real exciting “pedal confusion” should an emergency crop up!

Imagine smacking a second accelerator when you just wanted to hit the clutch! Or, even better, the brake! That’s what keeps driving fun!

Noveltytails

It’s time for taillights! Motorcycle taillights, and what I like about these three options is how they somehow manage to capture the full spectrum of ’70s motorcyle owners: the peace sign covers the hippies, the star-spangled number one gets your mainstream, good American patriots, and the “maltese cross” (it’s really more of an Iron Cross, which, I’ve learned, isn’t necessarily anti-semitic, so as long as you don’t sharpie a swastika on there, we’re good) to get the more outlaw end of the market.

Between these three options, there should be a novelty taillight for just about every biker, whatever their outlook on life!

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So, these are fascinating:

Pipeorgan

They’re just crappy stereo speakers, but they have that pipe organ-like cover on top. I don’t think these provided any real acoustic benefit, but when it comes to adding just the right amount of ecclesiastical influence to your car’s interior, these are hard to beat.

Holy crap, you can still get these today! I bet these would really class up some boring modern crossover, like a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. Especially right on the dash speakers.

Speaking of dashboards, I find this kind of amazing:

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Superbeetle Dash

See what’s going on here? So, in 1973, the VW Super Beetle was updated to have a curved windshield and a deeper dashboard (pictured above, below the catalog clipping), much like what one would find in a “real” car. For VW geeks that had known Beetles to have flat windshields and flat, panel-like dashboards since 1938, this was a revelation, and I imagine some Beetle owners found themselves positively intoxicated by the promise of all this revealed interior volume.

But what to do with it? Well, I guess if you’re suitably intoxicated, the idea of ordering some little fences to enclose the upper dash so you can throw crap like cigarette packs and sandwiches and Ray Bradbury paperbacks must have seemed like a pretty hot idea, all for under $5 bucks!

I’ve never seen a Beetle with these stuck on it; I wonder how well they actually worked?

Tachspeaker

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How can you make a round speaker seem cooler? Easy! They’re tach style now! Not just round and stuck on top of your dash, clumsily! That’s tach style! Like a tachometer! But a speaker!

So, this product is notable because I had these for my high school car, a ’71 Super Beetle:

Terryseats

They were absolute garbage. I had black terrycloth covers, and when you think terrycloth, you think towels, which seems like it’d be an okay seat cover. But you’re thinking something towel thickness; these were thinner than any towel you’ve ever seen, even towels from the crappiest motel you’ve ever stayed in. I think they isolated terrycloth down to its molecular structure and made seat covers precisely one terrycloth molecule thick.

I think these came with a warning not to tear them because if you tear it more than twice, you’re in danger of actually ripping individual atoms in half and causing nuclear fission to occur.

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These were crap. $3.98 was a rip-off.

I wonder if this post if going to hurt or help a potential deal with JC Whitney?

 

Relatedbar

What If They Made Those Fake Rolls-Royce Grilles For Other Cars Like Porsches And Teslas?

Old J.C. Whitney Catalogs Are Full Of So Many Bonkers Things So Let’s Look At Some

Here’s A Look At The Incredible Car Accessories That 1970s Blaxploitation Movie ‘Super Fly’ Inspired

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Bradillac
Bradillac
1 month ago

Agree on those terry seat covers that I had for my ’79 MGB. Nice for keeping the seats cooler in the hot SoCal sun, but thin as tissue paper and faded as fast as one night stand. I just switched out to T-shirts instead.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 month ago

Describing the jc whitney to a your person : ” imagine the strangest most gaudy thing you have seen on Amazon, now imagine is a line drawing on cheap newsprint paper that came in the mail.” Being a gear head is so different since the internet.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
1 month ago

I want the pipe organ speakers to put over the pathetic single exhaust pipe of my Honda Element. Instant performance look!

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
1 month ago

The J.C. Whitney catalog was the stuff dreams were made of. I was going to buy some sort of VW based kit car like a Sterling or Fiberfab Avenger, get the big bore VW kit and all the other hop up goodies, headers, cams, all of it.

I did but a set of seat covers “tartan plaid” for my Austin Healey Sprite right around when they went bankrupt. I thought my $25 was gone, but they eventually arrived after a few months, and they looked like crap.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

We drove from Edmonton to Montreal in 81 and stopped at their store in Chicago, not only was the stuff in the store neat but outside there was a mix of crapped out domestics, VW Beetles and genuine pimp mobiles, we also drove through a neighborhood with burned out cars on blocks so it made a real impression on me

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago

Sheepskin seat covers. The most 70’s car mod ever (and maybe early 80’s too). I had a set. I think we thought they would make our cars more appealing to females. Throw in some feathered hair and a barely buttoned polyester shirt to show off that chest fur and you were really cruisin’.

How many ads for those were there in that ’74 catalog?

FYI (Wikipedia): I think Jason got the French style covers. Fancy 🙂

There are two types of terry fabrics:

Towel terry
This is a woven fabric with long loops that can absorb large amounts of water. Its content is usually 100% cotton, but may sometimes contain polyester.

French terry
This is a type of fabric used in clothing. Ranging from items such as hoodies, pants and even shirts. The inside of the fabric is crossed with loops, while the outer part is smooth and flat. It can be 100% cotton or be made from a variety of fibers, sometimes with spandex (also known as elastane or lycra). It is often warp-knitted, and the term French terry is colloquially used for all warp-knitted terry.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

The Boeing 767 came with those from the factory, nothing better for cooling and heating than wool

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Sweet!

Duke Woolworth
Duke Woolworth
1 month ago

My Uncle Ben (I’m 82) was wounded in the war and had a bad right leg. He had a left accelerator pedal and got around pretty well, considering.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
1 month ago

I’m on the young side of the JC Whitney phenom. I remember thumbing through them, but didn’t have my license yet, so I never made any purchases. Obviously they sold a bunch of trash. Did they have any hidden gems? That’s sorta my opinion of Harbor Freight. They sell a lot of junk but they really do have some great deals on the cheap as well.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 month ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

I needed a hammer drill for an addition on my house. I picked one up from Harbor Freight. It did all I asked of it. Then I went ahead and ruined it trying to mix concrete.

If a HF tool makes it to the end of the job, it’s a win. If it lasts longer, it’s like winning the tool lottery.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
1 month ago

I can’t decide what’s more entertaining: The crap products or Jason’s writing. A great Sunday morning coffee read, thank you JC Whitney, thank you Torch.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 month ago

I remember the organ speaker things being in the catalog even in the early 90s.

Chump Change
Chump Change
1 month ago

Oh sure those pipe organ speakers may be ludicrous, but if you follow that link and scroll a bit farther down, there is a Thumbing Devil License Plate Topper, that may or may not currently be sitting in my shopping cart.

CantDrive55
CantDrive55
1 month ago

Their brick and mortar store was about 5 miles from my house in Chicago. As teenagers we would go there for stuff for my 72 Bug. It was blast looking at all the “cool” things I could buy. Blue dots, night rider scanning leds for the grill, footprint gas pedal, suicide knob for my chain steering wheel, etc.. I remember when they were called Warchawsky. Memories…

Soasas
Soasas
1 month ago

Who drew and lettered all these ?

Eric W
Eric W
1 month ago

No terry cloth seat covers but in 86 or so I was lured into buying new foam “covers” for my lowback vw seats. Turned out to be as thin as the foam in a cheap toolkit and as structural as cheesecloth. Straight in the trash.

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