Help with an old cafe racer -- I'm new to vintage outerwear

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by SlamminSammy, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. SlamminSammy

    SlamminSammy New in Town

    Messages:
    3
    Hey all,

    I just picked up my first vintage leather jacket and I have a ton of questions. This forum seems like a huge wealth of information and I've learned so much browsing around.

    From what I can gather, the jacket I have is a 70's era Schott cafe racer(based on the large, chunky Talon zipper with "T" logo on slider stop) but it appears to have been heavily modified (no tags/labels). I think the lining has been completely replaced in addition to the pocket bags and perhaps the cuff zips as well (they are YKK). It is not in good condition but I love the lived-in and distressed feel.

    My Questions:

    1) Does anyone have a better idea of the date? Or the style # of the jacket? I understand without any tags/labels this could be very challenging.
    2) There are 7 rivet holes in the shape of a triangle on the left chest — any idea what these might be from?
    3) The leather feels pretty supple in general, but the jacket is pretty old and beat up. I've read lots of contradicting opinions on leather conditioning. I would mainly want to condition this jacket to help preserve it but I definitely don't want it to lose its beat-up character. It also is pretty squeaky in the arms and I've read that conditioning will help with that. Opinions on conditioning this jacket?
    4) There's a pretty big tear in the lining near the right armhole. Is taking it to a tailor the best way to repair this? I'm pretty handy, could I do it myself as well?
    s-l1600 (5).jpg s-l1600 (4).jpg s-l1600.jpg s-l1600 (3).jpg s-l1600 (8).jpg s-l1600 (6).jpg
    Thanks for any help you can provide!!
     
  2. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,036
    Location:
    Australia
    Hand stitch the tear if you can do it neatly - looks like a small issue.

    Stick on some conditioner - most will do, from Vaseline to Pecards (thin application only). It won't hurt, will probably help preserve the leather but, yes, it will tone down the wear a little. I don't think anyone will tell you not to condition, the debate is whether it makes any real difference over time.

    Yep, 1970/s. A few makers did this common pattern with piping, I have a Brooks version, I am not aware of a pattern name. The shoulders look like Schott. I've picked them up for around $50-$80 US.

    The holes may be from a badge.

    The new lining and zips are not unusual - they wear out and the previous owner must have liked the jacket.
     
    Monitor likes this.
  3. Will Zach

    Will Zach Practically Family

    Messages:
    870
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    Nice jacket - as they say "well loved". I think the abrasions seem to indicate that the previous owner took a slide on the pavement - they only add to the patina and character. Can't help you with dating or brand, but regarding conditioning - chances are that jacket that old (50 years as Seb indicated), and worn on a bike might need some conditioning. New jackets typically don't need any conditioning for a decade or more. Pecard's seems to be the Lounge favorite. I like Obenauf's oil. Some use Lexol.
     
  4. SlamminSammy

    SlamminSammy New in Town

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for the info! I realized I forgot to include an important detail... The snaps on the collar are branded Schott, so I'm pretty sure that it's a Schott, just not sure the model.

    s-l1600 (1).jpg

    I just stitched the lining up and it looks fine. Not professional, but should do the trick for a little while.
     
  5. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,036
    Location:
    Australia
    Don't think these were ever coveted enough for the name or number to be recognized, that happens only occasionally, e.g., the Buco J100...

    I like them - much cooler to me than many new leather jackets.
     
    Monitor likes this.
  6. lina

    lina Practically Family

    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Washington DC
    A good looking jacket..
     
  7. Claybertrand

    Claybertrand One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    257
    Not to run you off, because you've found the true holy grail community of Leather Jacket enthusiasts and information here in the Lounge, but Schott's own forum on their website will have more brand specific information on this and especially, loads of valuable identification info. Sadly, their resident historian and long time employee Gail passed away fairly recently. She was the true font of knowledge over there and she actively used to answer jacket ID questions and all questions about Schotts.

    I have owned 2 of the same jacket you have. Age ID for a Schott is fun. They usually have a few indicators of era. One being the main label which appears to not be present in your specimen. Another is branded Schott Snaps. This type of snap has a starting date so to speak. You should be able to research when they started using the branded snaps and that would be the earliest probable production date for this jacket. Of course, it could be later than that date but the date of the origination of the Schott Embossed snaps would be the earliest.

    The newer jackets have a tag in their left pocket that can be used to decipher the production date but I don't think yours will have this tag or if it does, it won't have the serial number needed to date it properly. As others have stated, the curved leather piping down the front was a common/popular design feature used by multiple makers (Lesco, Excelled, Schott, Reed, etc.).

    The jackets I owned like this one, one was older, (70s) and the other was an early 80s and the 80s one had embossed Schott snaps. The 70s one did not. Again, the Schott forum---do a deep dive on the Schott snaps and you will find when they first appeared in their production.

    Both of the jackets I had also had zip in liners. Yours does not appear to have this or perhaps the liner was replaced and it the interior zip in liner was done away with. Many of these jackets are missing the zip in liner anyway when you find them second hand. Schott will make new zip in liners for about $100 but this appears to be a moot point as your jacket does not have a zip in zipper on the inner shell.

    We can certainly help to a degree here in the Lounge, but I know for a fact as someone who has owned at least 10 Schott jackets that I used to get a lot of questions answered about their products over in their forum. Its brand specific/focused over there. I urge you to check it out and then come back and tell us what you found. Also, post some fit pics.

    Lastly, for what its worth, give the jacket a good cleaning with a PH neutral soap if possible and condition it. The whole process will take a few days because you want it to be clean and dry before you apply a conditioner (ideally). Not firing any shots here---just telling you my process----I use Lexol Deep Clean and Lexol conditioner applied in several light coats--letting each coat be absorbed by the leather before deciding on whether to give it another coat. Do NOT over condition with Lexol. It can develop a bit of a white film if you apply too much. Its as if the leather gets its fill of the conditioner and sort of overflows if you apply too many layers. If this occurs, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the white bleed out away and then buff it dry. Not a serious problem at all. This is not always an issue, but if you haven't done it before, you can sometimes over apply it. The white bleed/film is most visible when it DOES occur on black leather. If you choose Lexol, go with multiple thin applications to gauge proper absorption.

    AND off you go!!!!! Welcome to your new addiction and welcome to the Lounge!!;)
     
    jonbuilder, tmitchell59 and Monitor like this.
  8. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    11,167
    Just gonna add - that jacket aged beautifully.
     
  9. dannyk

    dannyk Practically Family

    Messages:
    907
    its exactly how their new line of distressed jackets wishes they could look. Great age/patina on this one for sure.
     
    Monitor likes this.
  10. SlamminSammy

    SlamminSammy New in Town

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks to everyone for their help and advice! Looking through the forums over at Schott, it appears that this is either a 657 or 157 (depending on the leather type, which I have no idea on) and was produced in the mid to late 70's.

    As far as conditioning goes, how much will this change the visual look of the jacket? Is there a more minimal process that can add a bit of protection, but more importantly reduce the squeaking? The leather doesn't seem to be dried out much at all and I'd really not like to change the look of the aged/patinaed leather much if possible.
     
  11. Applying conditioner would possibly soften the scuffs giving it a more blended look rather than the stark contrasts of abrasions next to darker leather. IMO it would make for an improved patina.
    HD
     
    jonbuilder, sweetfights and Will Zach like this.
  12. Claybertrand

    Claybertrand One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    257
    Agreed. Conditioner isn't like shoe polish or like that late night tv commercial goo that "fixes" leather abrasions. Conditioning may hide superficial surface scratches, but it definitely won't cover that patina or alter it much. I agree with Hoosier that it would improve the look and obviously, improve the feel of the leather and increase its longevity. I encourage you to condition it. I try to condition every jacket I get............ but the addiction is strong and my conditioning has fallen well behind my jacket purchasing o_O

    For what its worth, Lexol will not dry with a sheen of any kind. Its not like you'd be polishing the leather like shoes if you are worried about that possibility. Do NOT try to waterproof the leather though. THAT I would NOT do.
     

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