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Whitefeather Mfg Co. & Their Buco J-21 Repro

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15,655
Been to Whitefeather Mfg Co. store in Vienna some days ago.

Tl;dr - Go check it out.

Long story... Well, to start off, the store is really nice! Relatively small, it's packed with all sorts of 1940's inspired clothes, army and civilian alike & while I don't really know much about any of that stuff, the aviators and the HB jackets all seemed quality. But what immediately caught my attention was the Buco J-21 repro, proudly exhibited high-up at top of the shelf.

Now, I've handled several J-20-something repros, RMC among others and I think I can say that I have seen enough jackets to conclude that this is a seriously impressive & possibly my favorite contemporary made version of the style thus far.

First off, it is surprisingly sturdy tank of a jacket! Vanson tough. Leather, hardware, lining... Everything just somehow appears to be extremely tough. Built to last is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot 'round these parts but if there's a jacket that warrants it, it's this one.

The exhibited jacket had been tried on enough times to hint at how it would break in and it's impressive how closely it resembles the originals we see online.

All the hardware is what you'd expect on any decent repro of this style and the hefty woolen lining, the kind that actually feels like it might provide decent warmth, is particularly nice.

The only downside is that the stitching isn't what the other notable alternatives had gotten us used to but all else makes up for it. I mean, the leather is so amazingly tough that I was shocked to hear it's vegetable tanned horsehide.

Granted, I may be overly forgiving when it comes to stitching but believe me, I do want my pricey jacket to be as well made as possible - but - while serviceable, the way this jacket is constructed only adds up to the vibe that this is exactly what the 1950's newspaper Buco ad would've gotten you.

What else... The jacket feels very comfortable and the action back works great. The owner said they pretty much copied the pattern from the original and that's exactly how it fits; Typically 1950's, tapered though slightly boxy (roomy) shape.

Speaking of, the owner was friendly, especially once he realized I know my stuff and immediately went on to discuss the jacket in detail. He was kind enough to show me the original J-21 the Whitefeather version is modeled on and I was surprised how close they've reproduced the jacket and how oddly similar the leather is to the original. I honestly don't understand why most other makers insist on Shinki for this style as it's not really the best match if one has authenticity in mind. . .

All in all, last thing I expected to see in Vienna was what might be the most impressive Buco repro I've handled so... Go check it out. Considering the prices of all the good repros, at €1100, you're getting a hell of a jacket that is, as far as I am concerned, second to none.

What I'm saying is, the jacket is so completely different that to me personally, it's not the matter of money anymore - As in, whether paying more money will or won't get you a better version of the Buco J-21. This version is just so different that it deserves to be the part of your motorcycle jacket collection.

Also, not far off is a Red Wings shop, full of new & used service/army boots which is definitely a mandatory stop if you're in the area. Guy working there is so friendly and forthcoming that the shop is worth visiting just for that.

Few pointless photos that don't do this jacket any justice whatsoever. If I had seen these or the pics on the site, I would've just waved it off...

Don't be me.

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Tom71

One Too Many
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1,729
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Europe
Thanks for the review, Ivan. Definitely a must-see next time in this great city!
BTW, I love how you wear the jacket. I am not (no longer) in the skintight society, so this is how I would like this to fit. Works well with a sweater for grim east Austrian winters.
 
Messages
15,655
Thanks for the review, Ivan. Definitely a must-see next time in this great city!
BTW, I love how you wear the jacket. I am not (no longer) in the skintight society, so this is how I would like this to fit. Works well with a sweater for grim east Austrian winters.

Worth a look! I agree with you on skintight society as well. I was in London last week, went to Lewis Leathers and the experience on how a leather jacket is supposed to actually fit me was eye opening. I'll write a thread about it as well but I'm definitely giving up on the under-sizing as well.

Vienna is absolutely stunning. Especially so if you enjoy the art of sitting at a cafe, doing absolutely nothing. Which I do, more than jackets.
 

Robbie79

Call Me a Cab
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2,121
Thanks for the great review! I‘ll visit them next time I travel to Vienna. I can imagine that they have access to high quality Italian leather. I hope you finally ordered or bought the OTR J-21
 

Will Zach

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,083
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Northeast USA
1200 euro on their website, but no matter, if you are US-based, with the strong dollar and the VAT refund, you can get yourself a great deal if you visit Vienna. A great city, make sure you visit Grinzing while you're at it!
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
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2,416
It's about 900 USD with the VAT refund at the airport and current exchange rates. I'd say it's a pretty good deal.

Always go to the airport a bit early, that joy of having extra cash in hand when boarding your flight is priceless.

Cool shop too. Thanks for the write up Monitor, now you make me want to buy a flight ticket to Europe...
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,380
It's about 900 USD with the VAT refund at the airport and current exchange rates. I'd say it's a pretty good deal.

Always go to the airport a bit early, that joy of having extra cash in hand when boarding your flight is priceless.

Cool shop too. Thanks for the write up Monitor, now you make me want to buy a flight ticket to Europe...
I highly doubt a small one man shop like this contracted one of the tax refund service companies like Global Blue or Planet.
 

Will Zach

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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^^
You may be right, but these are high ticket items, lending themselves to VAT refund incentives for visitors from outside the EU. I guess it depends on how many of those patronize Whitefeather.
 

Tom71

One Too Many
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Worth a look! I agree with you on skintight society as well. I was in London last week, went to Lewis Leathers and the experience on how a leather jacket is supposed to actually fit me was eye opening. I'll write a thread about it as well but I'm definitely giving up on the under-sizing as well.

Vienna is absolutely stunning. Especially so if you enjoy the art of sitting at a cafe, doing absolutely nothing. Which I do, more than jackets.

Much looking forward to the LL report. That is one hell of a cool place!

I was actually working for Vienna University back in the day, so I was all into that „Wiener Kaffeehaus“ culture. Ah, the joy of ordering a „coffee“ and being thoroughly ignored, because you don’t know proper terminology… (a bit like New Zealand with their „Long Blacks“ and „Flat Whites“).
 
Last edited:
Messages
15,279
Location
Chicago
Jacket doesn't really excite me more than any of the other d pocket repros that have flooded the market. Certainly doesn't look bad by any means but you can see from the coin pocket that it's not an attempt at creating the "perfect" jacket. Nice enough jacket though and I've seen some other stuff from this company that looks really great and quite unique.
I like this minus the placement of the bottom button...a bit visually troublesome to me:
1663092051622.png
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
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2,416
I highly doubt a small one man shop like this contracted one of the tax refund service companies like Global Blue or Planet.
It'd really make a lot of sense for these small shops to just get a tax number and get more tourist business. 20% VAT is a lot of money, especially for something that's over a grand.

Jacket doesn't really excite me more than any of the other d pocket repros that have flooded the market. Certainly doesn't look bad by any means but you can see from the coin pocket that it's not an attempt at creating the "perfect" jacket. Nice enough jacket though and I've seen some other stuff from this company that looks really great and quite unique.
I like this minus the placement of the bottom button...a bit visually troublesome to me:
View attachment 450879
Looks like it's missing the usual front drop.
 

MrProper

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2,979
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Europe
At least in the past, VAT was reclaimed at the airport. All you needed was an invoice showing the VAT. So the store doesn't have to do anything. But that is actually standard anyway.
I would assume that this is still the case today.
Since I'm often in Vienna, I have to stop by the store.
 

Canuck Panda

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,416
At least in the past, VAT was reclaimed at the airport. All you needed was an invoice showing the VAT. So the store doesn't have to do anything. But that is actually standard anyway.
This has been my experience. But it's been a while since I was in Europe. I remember just handing the receipts at the counter on my way out, and the Frankfurt officer gave me back a bunch of money, even most of that money was spent in Italy. How does that work? It was hard cash too, not an electronic transfer. But the line to get there was a bit long. So if I have to pay 5% to get skip the lines and have the money refunded to me electronically I wouldn't mind as much. Maybe 3% is better than 5%.
 
Messages
15,655
Much looking forward Tonspur LL report. That is one hell of a cool place!

I was actually working for Vienna University back in the day, so I was all into that „Wiener Kaffeehaus“ culture. Ah, the joy of ordering a „coffee“ and being thoroughly ignored, because you don’t know proper terminology… (a bit like New Zealand with their „Long Blacks“ and „Flat Whites“).

Hahaha! Well, this would've been my experience as well since I sincerely doubt it that my order of "Coffee with milk, please!" would've had any merit in any decent "Wiener Kaffeehaus" establishment, had not literally every waiter in literally every cafe that I've set foot into, been either from my country or one of the neighboring ones.

Jacket doesn't really excite me more than any of the other d pocket repros that have flooded the market. Certainly doesn't look bad by any means but you can see from the coin pocket that it's not an attempt at creating the "perfect" jacket. Nice enough jacket though and I've seen some other stuff from this company that looks really great and quite unique.

I hear you 100% & I would've shared your thoughts as well, had I not seen the jacket in person & tried it on. I do believe I am relatively good at deducting what any certain jacket actually is, just by looking at the photographs but in this case, I admit I would've been dead wrong.

Sometimes there really is no substitute for experience.

But I would've happily made this my only D-pocket.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
Messages
1,456
Worth a look! I agree with you on skintight society as well. I was in London last week, went to Lewis Leathers and the experience on how a leather jacket is supposed to actually fit me was eye opening. I'll write a thread about it as well but I'm definitely giving up on the under-sizing as well.

Vienna is absolutely stunning. Especially so if you enjoy the art of sitting at a cafe, doing absolutely nothing. Which I do, more than jackets.

I’m looking forward to this because it feels like a particularly good time to order a Lewis, and I’d appreciate your thoughts on some of the leather options we haven’t seen much of.
 

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