As a teenager, I remember reading stories by Peter Egan in which he said something to the effect of “Look for the cheapest parts in the JC Whitney catalog and those would be the bits needed for a Bugeye Sprite.” At the time, I don’t think that the American parts bible was available here in Canada, so I thought of it as some sort of mythical race parts outlet.
While the company, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, did and does sell performance parts, they also have a history of selling some pretty weird accessories. As part of their Centennial celebration, they dug through their catalogs from the Fifties and Sixties to showcase some of the strangest ones they have carried.
Looking through the list makes me think that some things never change, like the human need for coffee on the run. The company once sold an in car coffee maker to those who need a caffeine jolt on the go. This isn’t so strange, as in 2012, Fiat launched the 500L with a built in espresso maker!
A record of nothing but race car sounds? Sign me up! Come to think of it, I think I actually had one of these.
#10 on the list wouldn’t be out of place in today’s marketplace and how about that in car radio phone?
10. Winky and friends
9. In the Car Coffee Maker Kit
8. Deluxe Left Foot Accelerator
7. Foot Operated Radio Selection Switch
6. Gyroscopic Stabilizers
5. Automotive Radio Phone & Accessories
4. Actual Race Recordings/Sports Car Recordings
3. Dashboard Record Player
2. Fuzzy Car Muffs
1. Door Re Me Door Chime
Source: JC Whitney