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Testosterone, J.C. Whitney and income levels


phoenix2013
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I view it as my responsibility to introduce a bit of levity now and then, some of your guys are way too serious. You might recognize that some of the things quoted indicate that it was written years ago, that doesn't diminish the fact that the core 'subject matters mentioned in the title are timeless and pertinent through all the ages.

Testosterone, J.C. Whitney and income levels

 

Testosterone, in any quantity, does impart certain behaviors which can be directly attributed to its presence. The qualifier, “in any quantity”, was inserted into the above sentence to dispel any notion for those who have “aged gracefully”, have a slightly lesser quantity of the said hormone at their disposal and therefore feel that they might be immune to its effects. Horse feathers, when it strikes, you will behave like a teenager who was just given the keys to a s**tbox that barely escaped a trip to the junkyard.

Those who are blessed with a body that contains glands that produce the said hormone know that it’s a lifelong struggle of impulse control which requires higher and higher income levels to “satisfy”.

The marketers know this and are ready to “help you”. What are the first two things you got upon receiving the key to the “s**box”, a repair manual how to fix it and a J.C. Whitney catalog.

That J.C. Whitney catalog was your first friend in allowing you to take something your father handed down to you and make it distinctly your own. Unfortunately that catalog also immediately stratified you among your peers depending on your ability with a wrench, screw driver and a pair of pliers. You see some of your buddies took to rocker covers, cams and four barrel carburetors, while your “talents” might have stopped at “sheepskin seat covers”. And no self respecting J.C Whitney customer would ever purchase pair of those dingle thingies to hang from your rear view mirror, lest your buddies immediately and forever assign you to a certain ethnic group, your birth certificate notwithstanding.

As in any societal grouping, the “stratification” was further exacerbated by a member(?) of the group with well healed parents who cruised in, in a brand new Corvette which required no purchase of anything from J.C. Whitney. That’s was probably the first time when you asked Lord for help, so that your Corvette driving buddy would not park it next to your “s**tbox” and further amplify your feelings of inadequacy.

Now the feeling on “inadequacy” is a powerful motivator. You will do pretty much anything to cure it and spend any amount of money to eliminate it. Many examples abound, bigger yacht, faster jet, younger mate, F-350. You see the marketers of Detroit know how to exploit it. Just look at this picture, ah the vision, the imagination, “the possibilities” it imparts on your psyche.

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What can I see in this glorious vista above? I see desert sunshine. I see heading into wilderness with your trusted equine friends in tow, no doubt a fiery stallion for you and a gentler mare for the Lady. I see you gallop through the desert, the stallion between your loins, clearing sage brush and dry creek beds in a single leap.

So you say “what’s wrong with this picture”? Nothing really, except that’s Hollywood and the reality is a bit different. You see that hill that F-350 is climbing, with that trusty 6.0 under the hood, it’s in the second gear. So here you are, you just plopped 55 grands at your Ford dealer and that “feeling of inadequacy” is creeping in again. Can you cure it; certainly, and there are many willing to help. Except, when they see that you just plopped 55 grands for a pickup they assume that you moved into a different income stream to cure your “inadequacies”.

Let’s explore the possibilities”.

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You can start “cheap” and “address the tranny”. Better gateway for $250, more robust converter for $1388 and keeping that oil “cooler” for $172.

Ah the, good ol’ trusty 6.0 liter. You let it breathe easier for $285, cram more air into it for $1120, inject it better for $450 with the help of the $401 computer and if you get going too fast you can slow yourself for $1175.

For those of with even better income stream, why fool around, full Banks system for $3209, propane injection for $3000 and a whole new better tranny for $3605.

We are definitely beyond J.C. Whitney and $29.95 sheep skin seat covers, but who’s counting when for a mere $10 grands you can crest hills in third instead of second.

Now for those of you who purchased one of these to satisfy your “testosterone needs" you have the opposite problem.

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Withdrawal.

 Like a junkie you cast around to blow your dough and you are stymied at every turn, Chip the engine, ah ah, bigger turbo, ah ah., bigger tranny, ah ah.

How is the guy gonna spend his dough. And even if you bought them “dingle thingies from J.C. Whitney, there ain’t no rear view mirror to hang them from!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by phoenix2013
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Oh me, Henry.  You have awakened dormant memories.

It was 1965.  For some stupid reason that I cannot remember, I became the proud owner of a 1960 VW Beetle complete with folding canvas sun roof.  It was the last of the 1200 cc 36 HP engine bugs (In ’61 they were 40 HP).  My first “mod” was a Empi exhaust from J.C. Whitney.  I had previously sent them a quarter taped to a piece of shirt board in an envelope with a 5 cent stamp to get my much coveted catalog. The Empi exhaust looked cool, made a lot of noise but didn’t really give me the blazing performance I anticipated.  The next order to J.C. was for a spiffy chrome air filter to replace the original oil bath unit - guaranteed to increase air flow and performance.  Instead, it barely kept the bugs out of the carburetor. In the same package was an “adjustable” needle valve for the carb main jet (more gas more go, right?).  The only thing it did was leak.

 Taking the back wheels off and turning them “inside-out” gave you that wide track look of “reverse wheels”.  Never mind the wobble that resulted from not having the right chamfer for the lug nuts.  Yes, J.C. Whitney and Warshawsky ruled my life and pocket book.  They had everything to upgrade and improve your bug.  But, alas, my attempts at making it into a Dauphine killer (Remember the Renault Dauphine?) resulted in a badly burned clutch.  With the help of two husky friends and an old tire we managed to lift the back wheels onto cinder blocks, remove the four engine to transaxle bolts, a few wires, cables and the fuel line so that one could wiggle the exhaust to drop the engine onto an awaiting worn out tire.  The flywheel, disc and pressure plate were blue.  Whitney provided a new clutch assembly within two weeks of my sending a postal money order and Big Foot’s Junk Yard yielded another flywheel.  We managed to leverage the engine back into place and I could now throw gravel off the rear wheels with ease.

Then it happened.  I was told about a guy that had a Judson supercharger from his wrecked Beetle for sale.  I had to have it!  It took all of my summer job’s unspent earnings, some loans from a few buddies and the quick sale of some coveted Triumph Tiger Cub chrome motorcycle parts but I scraped together the needed $150 to make it mine.  I had to keep my acquisition secret from my Dad, who would have surely have killed me.

My buddy Bill, who really did not know a crescent from a box-end wrench, and I performed the install in his back yard.  The supercharger bolted between the intake manifold port and the carburetor.  It was driven by a second V-belt from a new engine pulley.  To oil the supercharger an inverted Mason jar hung from the firewall with a rubber drip tube screwed to a modified jar cap.  It used a quart of oil about every 100 miles, but so what?  Oil was 20 cents a quart - my gosh it was cool!

For about two weeks I had a screaming little Beetle that was cranking at least 50 HP.  Then, one night after a few passes around the Snow White drive-in my engine started making some strange noises.  Before I could get it home it just stopped.  The engine ran but it vibrated like a bunch of June Bugs in a jar and had a horrible knock.  Bill pulled it to the street in front of my house with a rope tied to his Ford Falcon; I went inside and went to bed dreading an encounter with my Dad.

The next morning my Dad asked why I had left the car on the street.  I had no other choice except to tell him it was broken.  When he raised the rear deck lid and saw the supercharger he was furious.  Not too much of a surprise but certainly unpleasant.  After being grounded for a couple of weeks, I got my buddies back together and we once again dropped out the engine.  This time the flywheel fell off of the crank shaft when the engine came out.  You see, the flywheel is held to the crank by a single center bolt.  There are four dowel pins that go from the crank to the flywheel to hold it in place.  The nut was supposed to be torqued to 250 ft. pounds.  We never even got close to that when we replaced the clutch so it worked loose.  The flywheel was ruined and so was the crank (dowel holes were wallered out.).  After riding my bike for a few weeks I found a well used 40 HP engine at Red Scallion’s Junk Yard.  We hauled it home then tore the engine apart and replaced the jugs, pistons and bearings with parts from J.C. Whtney.  I had my Beetle back and it was running good – but without a supercharger.  My supercharger was traded with Red for the replacement engine.  With less than an additional 100 miles the engine started knocking really bad then locked up.  Yet a 3rd team pull to get the engine out showed me where those left over pieces of curved sheet metal sitting with stuff from the old engine were suppose to have gone (they routed cooling air around the fined cylinder jugs - which did not happen.)  Fortunately, J.C. replaced the pistons and jugs at no charge.  I just had to pay for the shipping to send back the damaged parts and to get the new ones to me.  This time the engine went together with the cooling air baffles installed.  Our “team” had gotten so good at pulling and replacing the flat four engine that we could do it in the dark in under 20 minutes.

One would think that my woes with this little car were over.  But, alas, several hundred miles later a spark plug blew out of one of the heads.  I had cross threaded the plug then over tightened it.  Not wanting to pull the engine again to either replace the head or put in a Helicoil I smeared the threads with JB Weld and poked it back in the hole.  After a day to cure I fired it up and the spark plug held.  I drove it several thousand miles with the glued-in spark plug without further issues.

It was dark and raining.  The guy said he never saw me.  The little blue bug was T-boned by a 5,000 pound Packard Clipper at 40 mph.  I was knocked off the road and into Poplar Creek.  I escaped through the sun roof with only a few cuts and scrapes.  I was lucky. The VW as not.  Red Scallion bought the wreck for $50 and wrote off the $5 wreck bill.  The Packard driver paid me another $200 for the total on the car.  It was enough to buy a 1954 Studebaker Starlight Coupe with a 234 c.i.d. V8 and 3-speed overdrive.  The Stude was a beautiful car – low swung and very “sporty” looking. The evolution of the Stude is yet another story……….

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So Randy, sounds like you were the "star" among the sheep skin seat covers and "dingle thingies" crowd.

You and others must remember the days when a conversation could be initiated by mentioning just one of these numbers:

289, 302, 351, 428, or 350, 409, 427, or 361, 383, 426 and if you didn't know what these meant you probably didn't even own a J.C. Whitney catalog

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4 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

 

289, 302, 351, 428, or 350, 409, 427, or 361, 383, 426 and if you didn't know what these meant you probably didn't even own a J.C. Whitney catalog

My numbers were a 2.3, 2.8 and a 307 but I didn't need the catalog because I could go directly to the store in Chicago. 

Now that I think about it, all those plain cardboard boxes marked made in "xxxx" was what the future held for us!

Dave

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Licence was obtained in a Dart with 225 slant six and a manual on the steering column (who would know what to do with it today),  Central Catholic High School had a bunch of these for us, the heathens. Yes, Marist Brothers were in charge of this joint, no joints were available then, Winstons and Marlboros were it and brothers were on the lookout for those who needed to "puff".

1955 Packard Patrician (hand me down from father's friend) was the high school car. Yes this was the ultimate luxury car. Had four wheel independent torsion bar suspension, self leveling by an electric motor mounted in the center of the frame. Wow, they thought of it in 1955.

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It was the "limo" of the 50's, dig those foot rests on the floor and the sash cord on the front seat. My buddies claimed that its purpose was to hang the clothes on if you "got lucky", dream on virgins. See those two protrusions on the front bumper

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this was known as a Marilyn Monroe bumper,

 

Gas was 25 cents per gallon but that V-8 was demanding, often only 50 cents were put in the tank to get to the school and back.

First "muscle car" 1967 Cougar (first in the city, ordered from the factory), 289 Windsor "high compression" (required high test gas), close ratio four on the floor, factory installed eight track, "wow"! Met and drove in it the future Mrs. DW.

Put on it a set of wide bias ply Kelly tires, they sucked, couldn't balance them right, but would throw a lot of white smoke into an interaction if you popped the clutch just before the light changed to red. First gear had a pretty high ratio.

Had to see what it could do on the interstate racing a buddy who bought a 1968 model with a 302 and and auto tranny. Took a while to get up there, mine did 98 mph, he topped out at 96. Nothing to brag about to our third buddy who bough a Corvette with 427 six pack, he could "chirp" the tires going into a fourth. We were all working for Raytheon, our Corvette buddy split his income paying for a small apartment and the "six pack", he also met his future DW in that car. Interesting side note, he claimed that they could "get it on" in that car in spite of the stick shift in the middle. He did not share the "details" of the "technique".

Edited by phoenix2013
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10 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

So Randy, sounds like you were the "star" among the sheep skin seat covers and "dingle thingies" crowd.

You and others must remember the days when a conversation could be initiated by mentioning just one of these numbers:

289, 302, 351, 428, or 350, 409, 427, or 361, 383, 426 and if you didn't know what these meant you probably didn't even own a J.C. Whitney catalog

No Henry - never had sheepskin or dice on the rear view mirror.  But, I did have a hula girl on the back window shelf of my Studebaker sitting on a shag carpet mat.  I remember all those c.i.d. numbers..... and more.  You left out the 260 before the 289 and forgot the 413 before the 426 wedge and the Dodge 440 six pack.  Add in the GM 396, 389, and 421 tri-power.

How about the Wonder Bar?  Just hit the bar with your foot to change radio stations.  Oh, and mechanical spring delay reverbs - hit a bump and the spring would twang in the rear deck speaker...... that is if you could hear it over the hum of the mechanical vibrator in the radio.  I had a 4 track before an 8 track - still have some tapes around here somewhere.  A buddy bought an automotive mount 45 rpm record player in a cushioned black box from good old Uncle JC.  Didn't work too well though.  We took B&W pics of our rides with bellows type Polaroid Land cameras.  A Kodak Brownie was old school by then.  Replaced by type 126 Kodachrome and flash cubes.  103+ octane Esso, Sunoco blending pumps with pure 260 and Gulf Crest gasoline - those had to be mated with Western Auto dual electrode spark plugs for fire power.  Three on the tree?  Yep - remember them well but had to put in a J.C. Whitney floor shift kit so I could rub my sweetie's knees when I shifted - she, of course, sat in the middle with no seat belt and her Teaberry gum temporarily stuck on the dashboard for safe keeping. Certainly we cannot overlook the Honest Charlie's catalogues.   On the electronics end there were the Lafayette and Allied Radio catalogues.  They were also coveted.  The "younger" generation missed it all - no clue.  BTW - did you ever have an exhaust whistle?  Maybe some pics later if I can find them.

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Howdy All,

Ah yes the olden days of my oft misspent youth.  This was taken in 1973, its a 68 Nova Custom, home built car that ran 10.86 at 127 in the quarter mile.  By this time I had bypassed the JC-Whitney catolog and moved on to the high dollar parts made by the likes of Acell and Moroso.  Gave it up in the summer of 74, blew the engine and the kids needed shoes more then the Chev needed a new crank.

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I often wonder what would have happened had I carried on rather then settling down.  Kinda like one evening when I and my good friend Gary and after consuming  vast quantities of beer sat in the garage on a COLD winters night in Minnesota discussing going down to Walinskies surplus buying an old duce and a half, striping it down to the frame and running gear, bolting in a big block Chevy then tossing an old pickup body on top, this happened about 5 years before BigFoot, became a sensation all over the country.  Ah yes, I oft times wonder.....................................

Dave

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I'm sure we all experience the 'what ifs' . 

While Dave^ was racing Chevys , I was drag racing my Kawasaki 500 H1B triple . Never blow it up though . What a handful of fun that bike was .

Prior to that I was swapping a '54 flat head 8 into my '39 Ford Coupe and Holly dual quads onto a 409 stuffed in my '58 Biscayne . Went through more tires on that car than most would with ten cars . LOL 

 I never had enough money to buy anything from JC Whitney .  I did send for a catalog , just because .

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1 hour ago, Pat & Pete said:

While Dave^ was racing Chevys , I was drag racing my Kawasaki 500 H1B triple .

Mr. Russ Collins got some of my money.  I still have the bike, a CB750.  It was a sleeper back in the day..........

I must admit, I ordered a few things from ol' JC.  Some soft saddlebags and a windshield come to mind.

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Best thing I got from Uncle JC was a set of cast iron Y valves that bolted onto exhaust manifolds to dump the exhaust right under your feet.... Sounded ok with a cammed 350, sounded great with a 396 in a 1967 Firebird that I bought for $300... the car interior had burned but my step dad was a Marine Corps aviation mechanic, and wiring and such was available from uncle Sam on occasion.  I quickly left the JC catalog and moved to Jegs and Summit.....  But the Y's were great on the drag strip and at a light when you wanted to drown out the entire block....

Probably why I still have a headache.... from the noise or the leaded gas fumes....

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3 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

Best thing I got from Uncle JC was a set of cast iron Y valves that bolted onto exhaust manifolds to dump the exhaust right under your feet.... Sounded ok with a cammed 350, sounded great with a 396 in a 1967 Firebird that I bought for $300... the car interior had burned but my step dad was a Marine Corps aviation mechanic, and wiring and such was available from uncle Sam on occasion.  I quickly left the JC catalog and moved to Jegs and Summit.....  But the Y's were great on the drag strip and at a light when you wanted to drown out the entire block....

Probably why I still have a headache.... from the noise or the leaded gas fumes....

Ha . Sounds familiar ... but i took the cheap route and simply added a couple of fuel filler necks to the exhaust that dumped just behind the front wheels . Put the pedal to the floor and let the motor back off to blow the caps ... instant open headers . ;)

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Randy, you must have been a core and respected member of whatever flaggerdoot you were running. My knowledge of c.i.d. numbers was not thorough but sufficient to stand around and nod my head  whenever someone would pull a tarp revealing a "project and parts".

The earliest attempt at "wrenching" I remember was finding a fender in a junkyard and replacing the one of a Buick Special I owned and dinged.

However the next time I got into "serious wrenching" (years later) I moved several steps up in complexity and "income level" required to maintain this activity.

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Hot damn, this boy doesn't know yet that 40 years later he will be carrying 60 pound gut on two metal knees.

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Note the very first RV we purchased, picture circa 1974-76, the RVing bug was already well established.

 

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