According to the official website, the legendary JC Whitney mail-order catalogue of auto parts and accessories has been discontinued. E-catalogs, or digital versions of print catalogues, are also available for free download on the JC Whitney website, with selections from the Jeep and Truck product lines. Aside from the Auto, Motorcycle, and Volkswagen catalogues, JC Whitney no longer publishes any additional subscription-only specialised books.
How to Locate the JC Whitney Free E-catalog
There are a few steps to take to access the JC Whitney website and its e-catalogs. First, go to the JC Whitney website. Once there, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Next, look for the words “Get the JC Whitney E-Catalog” and click on “E-Catalog” next to it. Finally, choose the Jeep CJ, Wrangler, or Truck e-catalog by clicking the appropriate button on the page.
The unique layout of the JC Whitney Jeep and Truck brochures simulates the feel of paging through a printed version. Both digital catalogues’ web pages are designed to resemble glossy magazines cover to cover.
Catalog Searching on the JC Whitney Website
The site’s product pages are also called catalogues on the site. The highlighted catalogue is located at the bottom of the homepage. Use the drop-down menus under “Featured Catalogues” to narrow your search by manufacturer, product category, or specific part.
The JC Whitney web catalogue section works much like most other retail websites. Visitors who wish to purchase any of JC Whitney’s offerings have to go to the page of the specific item, add it to their cart and pay for the item on checkout.
The JC Whitney Catalog: A Must Have for Every American Garage
JC Whitney was the brainchild of Israel Warshawsky, a Lithuanian immigrant who opened a scrapyard in Chicago’s south side in 1915. Warshawsky created “JC Whitney” with the hope that an American-sounding moniker would entice more customers. When Warshawsky specialised in car parts, especially for the Ford Model T, he saw middling success.
In 1934, Warshawsky’s son Roy had joined the company and begun looking for opportunities outside of Chicago. Roy went into the mail-order catalogue industry, which eventually led to the creation of the now-famous JC Whitney catalogue.
While the catalogue included affordable aftermarket replacement parts, much of the financial success of JC Whitney came from the sale of accessories with higher profit margins that were also light and therefore cheaper to send by mail.
In the following decades, JC Whitney catalogues and their small print descriptions and line art drawings of the items on sale became a staple in garages and auto body shops across the United States. They were mainly purchased by car enthusiasts who wanted to improve the aesthetics of their rides without breaking the bank.
Consolidation, Reorganization, and Disposition
The automotive industry took a major hit during the 1970s due to the oil crisis and rising awareness of environmental issues. JC Whitney was not immune to these problems; the company filed for bankruptcy in 1979. Due in part to the development of more affordable but still lucrative aftermarket components, the company was able to recover in the decade that followed thanks to prudent debt management. Roy Warshawsky led JC Whitney until he retired in 1991. After Warshawsky passed away in 1997, the company was sold to Riverside Capital in 2002. In 2004, WAG was established to incorporate additional holdings, such as CarParts.com.
Today’s JC Whitney
While WAG was in charge of the JC Whitney brand, it saw some success. Nonetheless, the company’s name kept getting older and less hip among the youth of today. Due to continuing declines in sales, Riverside has made the difficult decision to unload the brand while it’s still profitable.
US Auto Parts paid $27.5 million in 2010 to acquire WAG, which included JC Whitney. Since then, the company has gradually rebuilt the brand into an online digital catalogue and sale website, completely ditching the printed catalogue. Still, the printed catalogue is widely regarded as one of JC Whitney’s most lasting legacies to the American auto industry.