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Cooper A-2 question

Pushrod

One of the Regulars
Messages
120
Location
Montana
Hello, I picked up this jacket at a thrift store and am wondering how it compares to other A-2's sold today. I think the company (Cooper) is out of bussiness now. The linning is printed:
"50th Anniversary of Victory"
"Commemorative A-2 Flight Jacket"
"1945 WW11 1995"
It's a larger size than I usually wear, I normally wear a size 42 and this is a 46 but seems more like a 44. I wish it was a smaller size, but I couldn't pass it up.
It has a one piece back two piece sleeves and no hand warmer pockets. the label inside says it's goatskin.
Thanks
A-2006.jpg

A-2001.jpg

A-2007.jpg

A-2011.jpg
 

deanglen

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,154
Location
Fenton, Michigan, USA
A very nice contemporary A-2 for a reasonable price! Congratulations! And welcome to the Lounge! If you ever want to sell that one, let me know.:)





dean
 

Doctor Strange

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,062
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Aside from the illustrated lining, it's very comparable to today's offerings from US Wings, Legendary, American Mystique and others. Cooper was a major producer of A-2s throughout the nineties and up until around three or four years ago. Solid jackets reflecting the 1988 USAF spec.

After eight years of closely watching this market on the web, I am convinced that there's a single factory in NJ that makes these goatskin A-2s with the V-shaped pockets that end up being sold under many different brand names in the $200-325 range...
 

Pushrod

One of the Regulars
Messages
120
Location
Montana
Thanks for the welcome and the information. Maybe someone here might have an A-2 or other stlye jacket thats too small for them and we could work out a trade. This particular Cooper appears brand new and never worn. and is a size 46 reg although I think it fits like a size 44 regular.
 

fedoralover

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Great Northwest
I also found one at a Goodwill a number of years ago. Aside from the lining, mine was just like yours. I always thought it was a fairly decent jacket. The goatskin on mine was thinner than on my late 60s G-1s. I sold it to finance another purchase.

fedoralover
 

Atticus Finch

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,717
Location
Coastal North Carolina, USA
When the USAF began issuing the A-2 again...for the first time since 1943...Cooper won the bid to make the new jackets, and did so under the Saddlery brand name. Interestingly, Cooper had been one of the makers of the original WWII A-2. Cooper had two conracts with the Air Force...one in 1988 and one in 1996. After that, Avirex began producing USAF A-2s and still does...under the Cockpit brand.

Your jacket is the civilian version of the first of the new A-2s. The military jacket is a little different than yours, but not much. The jacket on the left of the first photo is a '88 Saddlery. The other A-2 is a civilian Cooper like yours.

The second photo is of three issued modern A-2s. The upper left is a '88 Sadlery, clockwise next is a 1992 Orchard...a 1998 Avirex is at the bottom.

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AF
 

johnnyjohnny

Practically Family
Messages
629
Location
lake balboa
some infO

very nice jacket...a few bits of info with respect...

the cooper you have is a later version made by cooper, which is NOT a replica or civi version, but actual made for the usaf contract...the cooper saddlery, a superiour jacket to the later cooper, was not made contemporaneously with the straight cooper, but in the first years upon reentry of the A-2 (1987)...sadly, cooper then switched from their 'saddlery' version, and cooper we see above came out

the 50 anniversary cooper is the same as their usaf contract jacket except for the lining, which is obviously a commemorative lining...doesn't seem to up the price much on ebay...these usually go for around $150 to $180 in little or no used condition, tho some people try and list them for $250...hahahaha

also, must say there are definite differences in the cooper, excelled, uswings, orchard, avirex and later cockpit versions...

for awhile orchard/branded garments made theirs, and did uswings as well, rather a nice stock a-2, one of which i have and is pretty close to uswing's offerings today; cooper was really a standalone as to design, which i and others have gone over in this forum before...basically the least desirable from a practical standpoint with thinner (albeit rugged) leather, larger collars (shaft), and larger neck openings than the other brands. i've bought a number of them when going through my cooper phase early on, and these issues quite set them apart from any other manufacturers...but historically still almost a must have for post war a-2s

the cleanest designs were the orchard/branded garments...and apparently these are still being sold on ebay and a few websites, though i've anecdotally heard they are overstock, and models constructed from overstock parts left over from earlier times...really a nice clean design

last, many companies qualified for the usaf contracts and produced concurrently, so none that made these jackets can be called exclusive producers, though avirex was involved with the govt in redisigning the contract requirements...

i keep reading people stating that something like the coopers and post war avirex's were replicas...some were, some were civi versions, but surprisingly like schott to a lesser extent, they were produced for the usaf under contract and are real deal, only 'replicas' in the sense they are versions of the ww2 a-2s, but were produced under new contract requirements for military personnel, and thus were not replica a-2, but actual usaf accepted uniforms that met required standards

oh...nice jacket by the way :D
 

Atticus Finch

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,717
Location
Coastal North Carolina, USA
Actually, it is very easy to determine if any modern A-2 is the military or civilian version of that jacket. An issued A-2's nomenclature tag will show either a DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) number (as on the 1988 Saddlery and the 1992 Orchard), or it will show a SPO (Special Projects Office) number (as on the 1996 Saddlery and the 1998 Avirex). If it shows a GSA or a CSN number (or both) it isn't military issued.

AF
 
Messages
15,549
Location
East Central Indiana
The Cooper commemorative A2 jacket pictured at the start of this thread is,of course,obviously not a military issue jacket. It is a jacket made for the civilian market. Like Atticus says..the tag tells the tale...and in this case the lining as well.
HD
 

James Miller

One of the Regulars
Messages
137
Location
Florida
Nice find.

Pushrod,

I don't care what everyone( some) thinks and you shouldn't either. You have a nice jacket. Yes there are higher quality jackets made but for the money it' a great jacket. Let's just say that there are finer autos made but not everyone drives a Lamborghini. I'm happy with my Ford Pickup.

So in a nut shell it's not an Authentic WWII Replica However it's a good jacket. I own a few Coopers and I have had a lot of people compliment me on the jackets.

You got a nice find and thanks for sharing the pictures Oh... and welcome aboard.
 

Flying Mariner

Familiar Face
Nice Jacket

Hi Pushrod....
That's a very nice jacket.
I also have Cooper A2 in size 46L and it fits me perfect (normally a 44" chest).
I have a couple of Aero A2's and a Eastman but the Cooper has a place amongst them, is very comfortable and I won't part with it.
Cheers,
Wayne.
 

Papa M

A-List Customer
Messages
330
Location
Brighton, England
johnnyjohnny said:
i keep reading people stating that something like the coopers and post war avirex's were replicas...some were, some were civi versions, but surprisingly like schott to a lesser extent, they were produced for the usaf under contract and are real deal, only 'replicas' in the sense they are versions of the ww2 a-2s, but were produced under new contract requirements for military personnel, and thus were not replica a-2, but actual usaf accepted uniforms that met required standards

You are the King of the Phrase in Apposition JJ. But highly informative as always. Thanks.
 

Pushrod

One of the Regulars
Messages
120
Location
Montana
Thanks again everyone for all the information. I really like this jacket but it's too large for me. I'm going to put it up for sale and use the proceeds to get an A-2 that fits me properly. I'll probably go with US Wings. It doesn't have to be issue, just close.
Thanks again
Pushrod
 

James Miller

One of the Regulars
Messages
137
Location
Florida
Contact me PVT Message

Pushrod,

Contact me before you get rid of it. I may have what you need. I have a few Coopers but could always use another.
 

Stearmen

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,202
G1

I have one of the late 80s Schott G1 military issue jackets. It is more of a 50s cut to the pockets, not the nice scallops of the WWII jackets, no side pockets, "don't want to look like truck drivers" and it is fake fur. On the plus side, it is tough goat skin! Sadly, I was getting into my car in the garage, and ripped it on a nail, not too big fortunately. It has served me well, both in and out of the cockpit! I prefer the G1 to the A2 because of the collier, the A2 is uncomfortable to wear with a Tshirt or Sweatshirt. I do have an origanal WWII unidirectional waist band that I bought surplus in the 80s, I should have some one make a jacket around it!
 

kampkatz

Practically Family
Messages
715
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Glad you like your Cooper. Since it is very light-weight the extra room gives you the option for wearing a sweater in colder temps. Enjoy, and welcome to the forum.
 

johnnyjohnny

Practically Family
Messages
629
Location
lake balboa
sTuff

papa m...i may be in apposition...but i'm part of the LoyaL apposition

in other things, i think it was said the cooper was not a military issue jacket...which is more than true...no post war a-2 is military issue...the military never issued the a-2 in post war history...they are constructed according to military specified contract and when they meet those specs they CaN be purchased and used for part of the military uniform, but are neither required or issued by the military or government

they are purchasable at the personnel's option...the most the govt does is allow their purchase if they meet the govt specs, and if the personnel meet the criteria for being allowed to wear the a-2 as part of their uniform

as for the cooper a-2 in question, it is totally correct and milspec, and identical to all other cooper a-2s of that period that fulfilled the u.s.govt contract specs...except perhaps for the lining, being commemorative

there is no question the lining was aiming primarily at the civi market, but i have read the actual milspecs for the post war contract (which loosened in 96) and i don't recall a requirement or prohibition on what design might be on the lining...though i'll admit all the time i've spent on the fedlounge might have rotted my memory and i just don't recall...but aside from the lining, it is totally milspec

if it doesn't fit, by all means get a uswings...i have found their signature series to be the most beautiful of all post war a-2 designs, and it is fully milspec...i do have issues with quality control and it took several orders for me to get my uswings without a defect in it...but the design, and execution when done without defect, is beautiful...though not a fully faithful ww2 a-2 design in terms of exact cut...but it does have all the ww2 specs, such as top entry pockets, throat latch, etc, and no current production milspec supplier makes ww2 accurate replica aside from the high price replicators, though some of what cockpit produces as ww2 replicas comes close, like their flying tigers horsehide, which i own and is my fave a-2

whatever you get, do enjoy it...the a-2 is a simply wonderful jacket...but i would recommend getting one by uswings, orchard if you can find them on the net, or cockpit, and getting their old style milspec (not the loosened 1996 standards)...unless you have the bux for a goodwear, eastman, or other high end milspec replication
 

Atticus Finch

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,717
Location
Coastal North Carolina, USA
johnnyjohnny said:
they are purchasable at the personnel's option...the most the govt does is allow their purchase if they meet the govt specs, and if the personnel meet the criteria for being allowed to wear the a-2 as part of their uniform.

I totally agree. I have seen many "orange label" Coopers with velcro receivers on the chest...clearly private purchase jackets.

I'm told that the same is true with respect to G-1s. There are several manufacturers that produce excellent "MIL-SPEC" G-1s...though they have never had a military contract. San Diego Leather and Gibson and Barnes come to mind. Often, USN and USMC personnel (who are authorized to wear G-1s) purchase from these manufacturers because they make better-quality, better-fitting jackets than the current G-1 contractor.

AF
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,007
Location
London, UK
johnnyjohnny said:
some of what cockpit produces as ww2 replicas comes close, like their flying tigers horsehide, which i own and is my fave a-2

What would be the main differences there? I have to admit, I'm occasionaly tempted by the idea of a Flying Tigers jacket with the blood chit etc.... I enjoy them as design pieces, but I'm no re-enactor nor even especially a fan of WW2 units etc (I enjoy the jackets and other military bits the same way I did contemporary army surplus back when I was fifteen: for incorporation into my civilian wardrobe as nice peices of utilitarian design). It's probably not something I'd wear that often (no more often than the other project in the back of my mind, to create a replica of Brando's Johnny Strabler jacket). That being the case, a cheaper option would be the thing if ever I went there.... Even if I never do buy one, always interested to know more about the variations of the jacket available.
 
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