J C Whitney - Official Site
J C Whitney - mail me a catalog (several different catalogs for different market segments)
Roy Warshawsky - Creator of the Warshawsky & J C Whitney catalogs - The Automotive MAIL-ORDER King:
(in the early years, the Warshawsky catalog was "Wholesale Only"
it was only sent to gas stations & garages - about 10% cheaper)
The Original Warshawky & Co. catalog of 1940
One ad, One Message and an Empire of auto parts was Born
The Warshawsky-JC Whitney story
Roy Warshawsky - Automotive Hall of Fame
J C Whitney - Wikipedia
Roy Warshawsky - Hemmings Article
Auto Parts Magnate Obituary - The Chicago Tribune
Sears - 1948
Detroit Never Satisfies Them - June 1948 Popular Mechanics Magazine
How to Double the Performance of Your Car - Edgar Almquist, 1953, North American Stevens
High Performance - Robert C. Post, 1994, The Johns Hopkins University Press Amazon
(This is a great book about drag racing from the very beginning to today.)
The Complete History of Ford Motor Company - Richard M. Langworth, 1987, Publications International, Inc.
Ford Chronicle A Pictorial history From 1893 - James M. Flammang, 1992, David L. Lewis Publishing International, LTD.
Encyclopedia of American Cars 1940-1970 - Richard M. Langworth, 1980, Publications International, Inc.
Dragging and Driving - Tom McPherson, 1960, Scholastic Book Services
Ford Pickup Red Book - Peter C. Sessler, 1993, Motorbooks International
American Supercar - Roger Huntington, 1983, Fisher Publishing, Inc.
Building and Racing the. . . Hot Rod - The Editors of Hot Rod Magazine, 1966, Petersen Publishing Company
The Hot Rod Handbook - Fred Horsley, 1965, J. Lowell Pratt & Co., Inc.
California Bill's Ford Speed Manual, 1952 Edition - Fred W. "Bill" Fisher, 1952, Fisher Books (Reprinted 1995)
Tex Smith's The Complete Ford Flathead V8 Engine Manual - Ron Ceridono, 1995, CarTech, Inc.
Ford: The Dust and the Glory - Leo Levine, 2001, Society of Automotive Engineers Inc (Feb 2001)
You may be able to rekindle some old memories here.
They have are Museum too - in Dearborn MI.
Sacramento Vintage Ford - Everything imaginable concerning Fords - There is too much here to describe!
Jim Martlett's Flathead Fords and Nostalgia Drag Racing Lots of Flathead Basics, new & old projects (from the 60's)
Follow-up to the Auto Parts
Company Article- JC Whitney/
Warshawsky from Nov. 2013 TFRB.
I enjoyed reading his histories of the parts
companies. An item that is interesting
for us here is that Roy Warshawsky
(President of JCWhitney/Warshawsky)
was a member of Northern Illinois
Regional Group #8 from about 1973 -
1976. His name also appeared in the
National Roster from 1969 through the
early 70’s. Our group toured
occasionally to Roy’s impressive classic
car collection at his huge warehouse
along the Chicago River before it was
broken up after Roy’s death in 1997.
The old retail store was quite impressive.
It took up an entire city block on the south
side of Chicago at the intersection of
State Street and Archer Avenue. The sign
on one street (I don’t remember which)
was Warshawsky & Co, on the other
street it was J.C Whitney. No one could
ever get out of Roy where he came up
with the name “J.C. Whitney”
From the Nov 2013 Running Board.
J C Whitney Company
JC Whitney began its life in 1915 as The Warshawsky Company, a scrap metal yard on the south side of Chicago. The company's founder was a Lithuanian
immigrant named Israel Warshawsky.
Throughout WW1, Israel bought failed auto manufacturers and added new parts to his inventory. The Warshawky Company continued to grow, even during
the Great Depression. The company closed its Chicago location and opened a new location in LaSalle, Illinois, in 1997.
In 1934, Israel's son Roy joined his father at the company after graduating from the University of Chicago. Roy proposed expanding out from the Chicago-
area with a nationwide catalog and placed an ad in Popular Mechanics for sixty dollars. The ad offered readers a "giant auto parts catalog" if they sent in
twenty-five cents and response to the ad was huge.
Roy took charge after his father's death in 1943. He continued to grow the business through World War-II, always developing new strategies in response to changing customer needs.
Roy decided in 1937 that the catalog should be expanded to include new parts and accessories and that it should be distributed beyond Chicago to encourage
a mail-order business. Although the company has always been known in Chicago as Warshawsky & Co. (and still is), Roy gave the catalog a different name: J.C. Whitney & Co. "In those days, you needed a less ethnic, Anglo-Saxon name," says Whitney vice-president John Armstrong.
Warshawsky & Co. continued to prosper through the Great Depression, when few Americans could afford new auto parts. By 1933, Warshawsky began publishing
a catalog for its salvaged parts. Covers declared: "The century's greatest VALUES!" He offered Ford Model A cylinder heads for $3.15.
Regardless, J.C. Whitney flourished under the strong hand of Roy Warshawsky. He hired Armstrong in 1973 to computerize the company. Shortly after Armstrong
arrived, a longtime employee asked him if he'd seen the official Whitney chain-of-command chart. Armstrong said he hadn't. "So the guy grabbed a piece of paper, drew a box on it, and inside wrote
Roy's name. ‘That's it,' he said. And how true that turned out to be--700 people in the company, and they all reported to one man," says Armstrong.
"That's the way he ran it. He made all the decisions. He had an endless menu of ideas--eight of ten which weren't any good, but the other two were fantastic.
And those two kept us going." Roy retired in 1991.
On June 26, 2002, The Riverside Co. acquired JC Whitney. In 2007, The Riverside Company created Whitney
Automotive Group, which owns other companies such CarParts.com, StylinTrucks.com, and AllBike Supershop.com.
On August 17, 2010, JCWhitney
Automotive Group) was acquired by U.S. Auto Parts for $27.5 million.
Feb 2002 TFRB - Government Gone Amuck
Link to a Forum on Warshawsky/J C Whitney old catalog pages etc. This is TODAY'S J.C.Whitney website.
The Rise and Fall of an Automotive Icon
Wikipedia-JCWhitney In the 50s & 60s (perhaps earlier too) Roy published 2 basic catalogs: Warshawsky & J C Whitney. J C Whitney was mailed to anyone that was a possible retail customer. Warshawsky was his "wholesale" catalog - it was mailed to Gas Stations & Auto Parts Stores - with cheaper prices, about 10% lower than J C Whitney.
Roy used to attend all the Automotive Trade Shows, accompanied by an entourage of his buyers (6-10 men). He would enter every booth and inquire about the product. He carried a portable voice recorder (very expensive & advanced for the day) and recorded everything. If he was interested, he would assign one of his buyers to stay in the booth and inquire/negotiate farther. If you struck a deal, this guy was usually your buyer and future contact.
During the late 60s and early 70s, he was a hard negotiator, particularly on price (if you had any competition and weren't the lowest priced, you probably wouldn't get any of his business). However, his business was wonderful to deal with - they gave you big orders and had 2 ways to PAY you: Regular 30 days and 5% discount right away.
This was particularly attractive to small underfunded suppliers (like my business, Arre Industries, later Carrera Shocks, we sold him thousands & thousands of shackle kits, lift kits & other items), which was probably the majority of his business - he PAID ON TIME.
Apparently, this ended by the middle 70s, when things got tight for him, as they filed for Chapter 11 in 1979.
He never advertised Brands - so he had the ability to change suppliers instantly with no disruptions. Around 1972, I heard that he was negotiating with Edelbrock, with the requirement that he advertise the Edelbrock name in the catalogs, but I think that fell through.
"Honest Charley" Card, out of Chattanooga TN, was one of the Kings of Mail-order in the Speed Business During the 50's & 60's.
MarApr 2011 V8 times
Joyce & Bill Smith
Honest Charley Card