News & Car Culture

Website Wayback: A Visual History of SummitRacing.com & the Digital Aftermarket

This is what the internet looked like way, way back in the ancient days of 2007. (All Images/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

Yes, websites are officially old enough to be considered historical. (Now get off our lawns!)

To commemorate Summit Racing Equipment’s 50th anniversary, we’ve been taking a look back at important moments in the company’s history.

[Read about Summit Racing’s first project car here and watch video of its first catalog cover car hereThere’s also the story of the Corvette that started it all.]

For the most part, these retrospectives have been fun and lighthearted—but this one just makes us feel old, because today we’re looking at the history and evolution of SummitRacing.com. A website that, as you’ll see below, has evolved from something that started out as the most 1996-ish thing ever, into the primary way many of us order all of our new parts and tools. As you’ll see below, many other top aftermarket brands started with humble Internet beginnings, too!

SummitRacing.com started out as many retail websites did back then—a simple information source to learn about products and services. You still had to pick up the phone and order stuff by talking with a person like the 1980s.

It was about a year after its launch that SummitRacing.com introduced ordering capability. The website team tells us the first online order went through about an hour after the website went live.

From then, the website evolved to include more parts and improved functionality. You could soon shop by your vehicle’s year/make/model, and sort results by engine type.

Customer service went online too, allowing customers to check order status, ask questions, and get access to a massive library of technical documents, how-to guides, and reference sheets.

The Summit Racing mobile app launched in 2014, so you could buy parts from your phone anywhere, at the grocery, in the shower, or while you’re lying on your back staring at a leaking oil pan gasket.

What’s next for SummitRacing.com?

The company’s website developers tell us the challenge is growth—in web traffic, customer demand, and data volume. When asked how they’re going to handle it all, they mentioned something about lasers and a moon base, but the interview concluded abruptly when they disappeared through a trap door below the conference room table.

We’ve been able to grab screenshots of SummitRacing.com dating back to 1996, thanks to the Wayback Machine.

Scroll through these pics and see what life was like before smart toothbrushes and GPS-enabled toasters.

1996

Summit-Racing-Website-1996

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

1997

Summit Racing website 1997

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

1998

ProChagrer-Website-1998

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – ProCharger)

2000

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Aeromotive)

 

2001

2001-Summit-Racing-Website

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

MagnaFlow-website-2001

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – MagnaFlow)

2002

Cragar-Website-2002

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Cragar)

Mickey-Thompson-2002-website

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Mickey Thompson)

Summit-Racing-2002-Website

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

2004

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Hurst Shifters)


2005

SummitRacing.com 2005

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

2009

SummitRacing.com 2009

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

2012

SummitRacing.com 2012

(Image/The Internet Archive Wayback Machine – Summit Racing)

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One Comment

  1. I’d like to see classic Summit Racing print ads!

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