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Old 08-30-2006, 01:42 PM
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History of Honest Charley's

Check it out http://www.honestcharley.com/about.htm

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Old 08-30-2006, 01:51 PM
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Cool post. Lots of memories of Honest Charlies. I remember when it was THE place to buy stuff, and I always waited for the new catalog to come out. I still have a dog-earred one I use for reference when looking at some old intake or other old part.

He was quite a charactor, and funny as H***.


Thanks for sharing Henry.


Don
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:59 PM
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My uncle was a moonshiner ... back in the day ... and he always bought his stuff from Honest Charley ...

I have a few old catalogs ( 1957, 1959 and 1962 ) and they were just mimeographed sheets stapled together ...
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:55 PM
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What was cool about the catalog was that there was a page with all of the employees pictures and a description of what each one did. (He only had about 15 at the time, I think) But each one was called Honest in front of their name, like Honest Alice, Honest Jim, etc. Must have been a fun place to work, as Honest Charlie looked like a fun dude.

My catalog is a 1965, and he must have moved into the big time by then because mine is still black and white, but was a regular catalog with some cool pictures inside. But I do remember those earlier ones that were just like homemade ones.

Lots of good memories on this one.


Don
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:12 PM
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Most interesting, thanks HH. This could make another excellent new page for our Monkey Boys Garage section. If someone has any scans of that original catalog that they can upload, that might be helpful. Mimeographed sheets, with staples still intact, would be awesome (if they still exist? eBay?).

I don't fully understand the "hisself" reference. Is it a slang way of saying "himself"? Or, is it just a cultural thing that I'm not going to understand no matter how much it's explained?
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:28 PM
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I remember the "Honest Charley" catalogues well........When I was a kid I used to order all those catalogues from the US..... Moon, Autoworld, JC Whitney, etc.............Honest Charley was the only one that would send one to Canada................................Too bad I didnt save any.

Makes you wonder if the founder is still alive?
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
Most interesting, thanks HH. This could make another excellent new page for our Monkey Boys Garage section. If someone has any scans of that original catalog that they can upload, that might be helpful. Mimeographed sheets, with staples still intact, would be awesome (if they still exist? eBay?).

I don't fully understand the "hisself" reference. Is it a slang way of saying "himself"? Or, is it just a cultural thing that I'm not going to understand no matter how much it's explained?
I take as he means himself....
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:44 PM
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Charley Card was Honest Charley....he founded and owned Honest Charley's. He referred to all of his employees as Honest....Honest Bill...Honest Alice etc. Whenever he signed his name on any company correspondence he would write...Honest Charley Hisself. Looking at what I can find on Google ....he was a big deal with SEMA as well as one of his Managers.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
I don't fully understand the "hisself" reference. Is it a slang way of saying "himself"? Or, is it just a cultural thing that I'm not going to understand no matter how much it's explained?
Y'all ain't from roun chere, air ye?

From the page linked by Henry Highrise, "Founded in 1948 by Honest Charley Card in the foothills of the Great Smokey mountains in Chattanooga, Tennessee [...]". The folks in those foothills, just like in the Appalachians in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, kept theirselves to some olde English speech patterns for many a year and generation. The Bard would have little trouble understanding them if'n he took hisself up out of his grave to go visit a spell. Some of the words, such as "ain't", are just like his'n as he spoke 'em during the reign of Elizabeth.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:54 PM
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OK, and just to confirm: you guys did business with the company known as "Honest Charley" and/or the person known as "Honest Charley Hisself", and you feel that indeed he was honest, and that the word "Honest" was used accurately in portraying him, his employees, and his company?

(added to grouch: very interesting, I had no idea that American regional twang has linguistic connections to Shakespeare.)

Last edited by Jon; 08-30-2006 at 03:58 PM. Reason: edit: saw grouch's post
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:58 PM
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If Honest Charley is still alive

If Honest Charley is still alive or his decendents, I'll bet Coker has hosed him and soiled his reputation. All you need is to find him and gain an ally.

"hisself" is the kind if english that uneducated people in the South use. I don't want to expand upon that because a lot of good people, you know, rednecks, hillbillies, trailer trash, black folk and so on use the same kind of language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
Most interesting, thanks HH. This could make another excellent new page for our Monkey Boys Garage section. If someone has any scans of that original catalog that they can upload, that might be helpful. Mimeographed sheets, with staples still intact, would be awesome (if they still exist? eBay?).

I don't fully understand the "hisself" reference. Is it a slang way of saying "himself"? Or, is it just a cultural thing that I'm not going to understand no matter how much it's explained?

Last edited by Choctaw Bob; 08-30-2006 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:58 PM
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Honest Charley opened a branch store in Charlotte NC ... sometime in the early 70's ... and I went there to see him ... He was a older man by that time ... but still very active ...

Honest Charleys was like SUMMIT Racing is now ... the place to get parts ... all the dirt track guys, the moonshiners and street race guys in the South and South east bought from Him... Speedway Bill ( of Lincoln Nebraska ) got a lot of the Midwest and West Coast business ... Bill is still alive and doing business ... I saw him at Louisville KY and Nairb works for him now ...
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
OK, and just to confirm: you guys did business with the company known as "Honest Charley" and/or the person known as "Honest Charley Hisself", and you feel that indeed he was honest, and that the word "Honest" was used accurately in portraying him, his employees, and his company?
That was true as far as I am concerned...I did business with him in the 60's and like Poncho said all of us teenaged hot rodders had to have that Honest Charley catalog. Ya'll come back now ya hear?
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:14 PM
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To understand the Honest Charlie thing, you have to understand the times. The '50's were much more simple times. Just look at some of the reruns of old shows. They were pretty lame, but we thought they were terrific.

We didn't have the huge amount of choices of where to buy stuff like we do today. We had Honest Charlies, and JC WHitney for the most part. (there may have been others, but I'm old and I forget any others ) Even Sears in those days was a major supplier of custom car parts, like wheels, hop up parts, etc. Honest Charlies was the first place I can remember where I actually got to see such a huge selection of real hot rod parts, and his cataloq was full of specifications and applications, so you could mail order the exact part you needed. He also ran ads in all the hot rod magazines of the day.

And he was FUN. He poked fun at himself (or hisself) by posing with a piston on his head, or mispelling things (like hisself) It was more than a catalog, it was fun and entertainment. Like I said, those were more simple times.


Don


PS: I think Honest is dead, but I just bought a dash from them in Daytona last year. They have resurrected the once defunct company again.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:19 PM
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A follow-up on the dialect of Honest Charley's heritage, because there's no good reason to simply take my word for it.

Found this reference online -- http://www.wvculture.org/history/jou...h/wvh30-2.html

"The dialect spoken by Appalachian people has been given a variety of names, the majority of them somewhat less than complimentary. Educated people who look with disfavor on this particular form of speech are perfectly honest in their belief that something called The English Language, which they conceive of as a completed work - unchanging and fixed for all time - has been taken and, through ignorance, shamefully distorted by the mountain folk.

"The fact is that this is completely untrue. The folk speech of Appalachia instead of being called corrupt ought to be classified as archaic. Many of the expressions heard throughout the region today can be found in the centuries-old works of some of the greatest English authors: Alfred, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the men who contributed to the King James version of the Bible, to cite but a few."

[...]

"Southern mountain dialect (as the folk speech of Appalachia is called by linguists) is certainly archaic, but the general historical period it represents can be narrowed down to the days of the first Queen Elizabeth, and can be further particularized by saying that what is heard today is actually a sort of Scottish-flavored Elizabethan English. This is not to say that Chaucerian forms will not be heard in everyday use, and even an occasional Anglo-Saxon one as well."

The moonshiner branch of hotrodding also traces pretty far back into history, though not as far as Queen Elizabeth. Early pioneers in the region had to deal with the fact that roads were simply ruts. It was easier and more profitable to transport a year's crop of corn in liquid form. Good roads came to the area very late compared to other places in the country. The sudden decision by the federal government to strictly control and heavily tax corn whiskey was resented. "Hopped up" cars were one answer. They had overload springs and so stood up high when empty. With full tanks of "moonshine", they assumed the tail-dragger stance. They needed to be stronger built than Detroit did it, to haul the loads and outrun and out-corner the "revenuers".

When you're dealing with people rebelling against a government, your word amongst them had better be good. A reputation for going back on your word would, at best, leave you without a business.
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