I finally had to give up on my leather jacket — the zipper was broken, the lining was ripped, the outer shell of the jacket was ripped open along one side, it was frayed along the back. All that was the condition for the last year or two — I hated to trade it in after long and good service.
In shopping for a new leather jacket I found that jackets generally come in Fighter / Bomber / Flight, Motorcycle, sport coat, or car coat.
Fighter: the USAF designed an A-2, “Jacket, Pilot’s (summer)” in 1930. It replaced the A-1 flying jacket originally designed in 1927. The A-2 added zipper and hidden snaps for pockets instead of the A-1’s flap pockets. Description: “seal brown horsehide leather, knitted wristlets and waistband (skirt).” Fighter pilots and bomber pilots wore the A-2 jackets; they were a treasured memento of having completed flight training.
Bomber: synonymous with Fighter Jacket, or flight jacket.
Motorcycle jacket: Although the A-2 Fighter jacket is also often worn as a motorcycle jacket as well, (Fonz) a bespoke motorcycle jacket is designed as a piece of safety equipment in case of the rider skidding along pavement. It also is designed with more zippers and water proof pockets and closures. Ideally it is cut to be longer in the back than front so when leaned forward over the cycle the jacket continues to provide coverage.
Sport Coat: a leather coat cut to the same pattern as a sport coat. A sport coat originally was a less formal jacket which could be worn for shooting, hunting or similar sports. In today’s US society it is viewed as more formal attire, although not formal attire.
Car Coat: an over coat cut with length extending to the middle thigh. Originally intended for use in open automobiles, where a longer coat might be inconvenient but sufficient coverage was desirable for warmth.
My previous jacket was a Car Coat, so on happy coincidence I searched for a replacement car coat and settled on a leather car coat from Shepler‘s:
[Note: This is the catalog photo and Model from the catalog:]
This particular model has a separate front liner that acts as a built-in vest and the 2nd collar in the photo.
The shell of the coat is textured as opposed to smooth/shiney. It is a bit thinner than my previous car coat, but also lighter. The winter mini-vest / collar help boost warmth.
I am happy with my purchase, and wear the car coat daily. I am hoping for the same years of service from this car coat as my last car coat.
Disclosure: Shepler’s and I have had no communication, and I purchased the Car Coat from their website at the going price.