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Vintage Lewis Leathers Rarity / Help - Super Lightning 401

Geekrobot

One of the Regulars
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167
Location
NYC
Hi Fedora Lounge,

I'm enjoying my recent Lewis jackets and just found a rare vintage Lightning that is [potentially] a grail for me.

I am reaching out to LL to inquire about any info, but also wanted to see if any LL savants could provide any insight, because it seems like a super rare find. I'm a Lewis collector and have owned many jackets, but I find the vintage stuff can be tough to nail down.

Anyway...

This is what I think is a yellow 401 Super Lightning jacket, which were supposedly horsehide. It certainly doesn't feel like the sheepskin vintage jackets I've owned. This model and the Super Bronx, also introduced within the same couple-year span, were an upcharge due to the horsehide.

I know LL offered a variety of colors in the 70s, but unsure what type of hide those were. Not sure if LL did colored horse or cowhides back when, or if they were sheepskin like the earlier jackets. The base hide color is darker than my newer yellow Monza. From what I've read, the older colored hides were actually available in yellow, gold (which I think this is, and no longer a color on offer), and orange, etc.

According to the good (Rin Tanaka) book, the Lightning zip, blue and red inner label, 70s model and corresponding tags, and square badge indicate early - mid 70s.

Also, from the hangtag, perhaps it was in the LL shop archives for sale at some point?

Anyway, please see below, any help is appreciated. The jacket is in unbelievable condition, so I am skeptical but optimistic it's the real deal. Would very much appreciate any help you can provide. My holy grail jacket is actually this era of vintage Lewis Leathers, but a yellow Cyclone or Twin Track Bronx. However, the Lightning, especially in this configuration, is right up there with the most classic Lewises, so I had to take this opportunity to grab it.

Thanks in advance.

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Geekrobot

One of the Regulars
Messages
167
Location
NYC
Will also post some fit pics soon, but the cut is also much more akin to other vintage LL jackets i've owned:
- Armholes are lower, providing more room in the chest and shoulders. Sleeves are wider and taper less to the wrist. Most of the recent LL jackets I've owned have much higher armholes and tailored sleeves.
- Length is short, as expected from a Lightning, but is a 'vintage-correct' 24 in front with ~25 in back with drop.
- It does have the pointed / triangle back yoke, not the later straight back yoke.

Amazingly, it's a very good fit for me, so I am hoping this will be a lifelong piece of outwear.
 

Geekrobot

One of the Regulars
Messages
167
Location
NYC
100%, but more directly, Bruce Lee Game of Death vibes [also something I love].

Here are some telling catalogue shots from a March 1972 LL catalogue entitled the Colourful World of Lewis Leathers:

401, in yellow, nonetheless

Screenshot_20240403_170829.jpg


colors available:

1712178656050.png
 

Geekrobot

One of the Regulars
Messages
167
Location
NYC
Side note: AFAIK, Game of Death, where Bruce wore this iconic yellow and black jumpsuit, wasn't out til 1978 in the West.

Approximating features, this jacket seems like early 70s. Probably very close to the debut of 401 and early on in the offering of colors.

So, is the jacket a Bruce Lee tribute, or did Bruce come across some old Brit riding about London in the early 70s and think, damn, that's a cool jacket?
 

Geekrobot

One of the Regulars
Messages
167
Location
NYC
According to Steve at Lewis, it does indeed check out as horsehide, mid 70s, one of the vintage archive Derek used to sell in the early days of his ownership of the company.

The jacket is in such excellent condition, almost new old stock. It doesn't even look broken in at all compared to even my newest jacket.

Unbelievably, I got it for substantially less than a new one.

EDIT: Sorry if this sounds like gloating. I am kinda just nerding out.
 
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