Old AVIREX 'A2' Flight Jacket

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by Vincent65, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    I seem to recall some interest in these in previous posts/threads, so I thought I'd post up a few shots of mine. I've had it since 1987, when I bought it new. I understand AVIREX no longer exists as a brand. This is a 'plain' one (many of the outer shells were decorated with various aviation-related graphics and images, but I wanted a basic leather shell), but has a nice embroidered lining, celebrating Lindbergh's achievement.

    It's sheep-skin leather, and REALLY thick, which I like a lot. The sleeves could almost stop a bullet! I love the old and classic bomber style, often copied, but never equaled, IMHO. I brought it back from the UK after a recent visit, and was going to get it 'professionally' cleaned by a leather expert, and have the lining repaired at the same time, as it's tearing on a few places around the edge seams, unfortunately. This would likely cost at least a hundred bucks, here in Zurich.

    Decided against that, and took the plunge with it, instead opting to chuck it in the washing machine with plenty of soap, followed by about an hour and a half in the dryer. Came out very hot and steamy, slightly tighter and a bit stiff (especially those sleeves), but now that it's completely dry, I've worn it a couple of times and it's relaxed out again and nice and supple. And clean. Very pleased. Just have to decide whether to get the lining fixed now - maybe patch it up around the edges/inside pockets, or have it re-lined, in which case I'd request that the cool embroidered area and other patches were saved and sewn in again.

    Hope you like - maybe you've got one and could share some pics of yours, too...

    Cheers,
    Karl

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  2. DSimon9

    DSimon9

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    It is a great looking jacket. Not sure I would have placed in the washer and dryer, but it worked. So what do I know. :rofl: Thanks for sharing the images.
  3. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thanks - yeah, there was a little risk, but I've always washed track shoes/sneakers (even leather ones) and they always come out great. Plus, I figured the sheep survived being wet a few times, so what's the worst that could happen...
  4. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Looks good Karl. Actually has a nice patina approaching an original now. I have been an A-2 fan for over twenty years now and my first was an Avirex "MacArthur" horsehide model that IIRC cost about $325 in 1990. Seemed like a small fortune at the time. :lol:

    I wore the heck out of that jacket and just got too fat to wear it about five or six years ago and gave it to a buddy. He loves it and it is still going strong.

    These days I try to keep my A-2 jacket obsession within reason and just have one good one- a Good Wear reproduction Monarch contract. Got it last year and isn't even broken in good yet. Very nice repros if you don't mind the expense and wait.

    Some guys love to collect and wear originals, but that's tough in my size range. A lot of surviving originals are 36-42 and way too small for me. :-( You see a few larger originals, but always very pricey. Plus, I think I would fret over wearing an original too much as I'd be afraid of damage...

    I know we have some other jacket fans here, maybe they will chime in. :thumbsup:

    Here's my Good Wear right after I got it...fresh out of the box.

    [​IMG]
  5. deadeye

    deadeye

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    It looks great but I would never have the ba--s to put in in the wash. :thumbsup:
  6. Kiwi

    Kiwi

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    Awesome looking jacket, Mate :thumbsup:

    As for the cleaning process...that takes guts:worship:
  7. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thanks guys - yeah, it was a carefully considered decision, and I felt like the worst would be more lining damage, but even that survived both washer and dryer pretty well! Specialist cleaners... who needs 'em?!

    @ Clyde - thanks mate; your post is great, and that jacket looks superb, even new, but I like them beaten up! I also like horsehide leather.

    BTW, mine was about £350.00 in 1987, so it was a big buy for a young geezer!
  8. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Congrats on that :coolanimated: jacket! :beardjump:

    Let's see it on ya, please! :rocker:

    At what temperature did you wash and dry it? :thinking:
  9. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thanks Bo! I'll get some pics taken when there's some more light, and post them up.
    I just put it in the 'short and intensive' cycle in the washing machine (not sure of temp. but probably up to 40-60c) and then pretty darn hot in the dryer for about 1.5-2hrs! The wash programme was about 1hr 15 mins. I was actually more concerned about knackering up the machines than the jacket! It's very heavy even dry, but when it was wet, it weighed a ton, even after being spun at 900rpm (or something obscene) for several minutes. I hate to think how heavy it was before the machine started spinning it. Was listening out for an exploding washer or at least a shot bearing, but I got lucky all around.
  10. Erwin

    Erwin

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    I love your vintage bomber, Karl. For me, the older this jacket is, the better. I met a lieutenant once while serving in the Navy who wore the exact jacket but more beat up. With rips and everything. It looked like it's been to so many tragic wars and yet he still prefers to wear it even when obviously, he can get a newer one issued. When asked why, he'd just answer..history, son, history!
    Thanks for posting the pics!:thumbsup:
  11. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thanks Erwin, appreciate your comments my friend. I agree - 'beaten up' is great with leather jackets! Nice story, BTW.
  12. Subfiend

    Subfiend

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    Fantastic thread, Karl.

    I have an old Avirex B-3 shearling bomber jacket, circa 1986, that I absolutely love. It is, by far, the warmest jacket I own. I wear it on the coldest, windiest days of the year, when the temperature drops to near zero. It looks much older than its 25 years, but that makes it even more awesome.

    Here are a few crappy iPhone photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Enjoy!
  13. Pete17

    Pete17

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    I never go anywhere without one of my A2 jackets.
    I have two high quality jackets from Eastman Leather Clothing in England. Gary Eastman makes top notch repro A2's from WWII contracts. Not cheap though. My RoughWear 1401P is my favourite. Beautiful russet horsehide and superb quality.
    There are a few quality makers of repro A2 jackets. Only one decent one from the USA strangely enough- Goodwear Leather Co.

    Great thread Karl- I love a little WWII history.

    Sent from my Droid
  14. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thank you! Great pics of your fantastic sheepskin as well! I bet it is warm. I once saw a guy in a launderette take his sheepskin out of the dryer, put it on and walk out. It was all fluffy and clean. No lining, of course, so I suppose less risk washing it than with mine!

    Cheers!
  15. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Thanks Pete - would love to see some pics of yours, if possible mate!
  16. leopardprey

    leopardprey

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    Nice jackets!!!!!!
  17. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    cheers mate!
  18. Subfiend

    Subfiend

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  19. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Good link thanks - they look like great quality, but none of them look half as thick as mine, leather-wise. They look a bit light-weight?
  20. Subfiend

    Subfiend

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    Have a Lost Worlds Cafe Racer motorcycle jacket. The thing is bullet proof (and also stiff as a board after 7 or 8 years). My wife stole it after I got too f.. um, big, but she gave up wearing it because it was too stiff.