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Archive for May, 2011

Obsessions | Billykirk No. 117 Mechanics Belt

By now, many of you have realized we have an infatuation with all things Billykirk. Maybe it’s their obsession with craftsmanship, or our affinity for things made with painstaking care – but we dig their products, especially their belts. And so another one joins our little collection of Brothers Bray engineered goods, the No.117 Mechanics Belt.

Initially designed as a belt to protect the finely finished hulls of the cars we cherish, the mechanics belt uses a continuous strip of leather to conceal the belt buckle and metal hardware. Garnering a serious following by the guitar community, it saves that precious back of your ’52 Telecaster from the buckle rash  from years of roadtrippin’ punishment. Needless to say, the Mechanics belt has taken on a life of its own, as a fine sartorial accessory to be worn in the most refined of situations, as well as its rusty and greasy birthplace it hailed from. Either a pair of khaki flatfronts, or a pair of distressed denim trousers would wear either of these beauties proud. Head on over to Billykirk, throw some measuring tape around that old beer belly of yours, and get strapped.

The Grinding Stone | R.W. Loveless Custom Drop-Point Knife

With a name like R.W. Loveless Knifemakers, how could one not assume they were dealing with a man that pioneered the days of rough and tough knife toting. Among the many knife makers out there that produce disposable and dulling blades, one stands out among the masses – and for lack of a better phrase, has kept its edge. The knives are part art, heirloom and tool – a partner to be held dear and outlive you, only to become a partner to those that follow.

Robert W. Loveless was an Ohio native that was widely regarded as one of the most innovative master knife makers to date. Even though he passed in September of 2010, his creations and art survive and still lasts under the home of R.W. Loveless knives.  As a young man, Loveless would join the Merchant Marines during WWII, and become greatly inspired by the knife fights he would watch in foreign ports.  In 1953, when Loveless looked to acquire a Walter Doane Randall knife in NYC and learned of the difficulty to obtain one, he set out to make his own. Forged from the hardened steel of a 1937 Packard coupe, Loveless would make his first knife. And it certainly wouldn’t be his last. While his first knife for Abercrombie & Fitch sold for $17, he would find himself producing such a highly sought after product, that his knives would command the coin that most high end watches would.


Auto Aspiration | TGT’s 5 Curvaceous Coupes

For those of you who don’t know, TGT has a fixation for all things fast – well, not all things, just machines. That said, we’ll talk about the beast that allows the most intimate bond between man and speed – the coupe automobile. The coupe is the incarnation of the speed demon. It carries out a battle between man and physics for a joint victory on the road – and most often then not, it’s lines turn heads like Jane Russell. The automotive achievements during the golden age of auto design yielded some of the most inspiring feats of engineering, that may well move more to action when parked, than cornering at 70 mph. We are talking about the days before composite materials and fiber glass chassis, when chrome and aluminum were the modern day standard to get you to go faster, and keep you looking pretty doing it.

So, TGT celebrates 5 automobiles that changed the world of racing and had an equally great impact to our cultural understanding of the present – or at least to our cultural understanding of the word Cool. These are TGT’s picks for the 5 Curvaceous Coupes.

1. Porsche 550 Spyder (1953)


Ivy Corner | The Baracuta G9 Harrington

Few staples of the ivy prep’s wardrobe has garnered the laurels of versatility as has the Barcuta G9 Harrington jacket. Names of the like of Steve McQueen, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Sinatra, The Clash and countless others have worn the iconic British tartan-plaid lined jackets. Making its film debut in James Dean’s 1955 Rebel Without A Cause, the jacket would become synonymous with the 50s heartthrob and with the edgy leading man. Shortly thereafter the King himself wore the jacket in the aptly titled 1958 flick, King Creole. Elvis Presley effectively cemented its status as a style icon among the limited selection of mens apparel contemporaries.


The Greasy Garage | Boys of Bonneville Trailer

Not a day too late, the folks at Jalopnik bring to our attention Curt Wallin’s documentary about the first speedsters to carve up the salt flats of Bonneville. We are speaking of none other than the pioneers of land speed records, The Boys of Bonneville. If you’ve been following Back In The Badlands you’ll see our fascination for the adrenaline chasers of old – the guys who modded up motorcycles and cars to travel at ungodly speeds. The Boys of Bonneville documents the same pursuit of speed and adventure – namely that of the frankenstein speed Goliath known as the Mormon Meteor, based on a 1932 Duesenberg chassis (on BITB). Advanced screenings are available in California, Utah and Nevada. For more information be sure to check out their site on their tentative limited release.

Watching | The Origins of the Timex/JCREW Military Watch

Confirming the suspicions and many whispers regarding the illegitimacy of the Timex/JCREW Military watch, comes Hodinkee to confirm the claims. You are sure to see them virtually everywhere you go – a clean brush grade steel case with the Arabic numerals on a NATO nylon band. Not a bad look, a solid nod to function over aesthetic, and overall a clean sharp looking watch. However, it is the basis behind the aesthetic that has watch enthusiasts raising their brow.

While JCREW sets the watch in a WWII context by advertising its origins from that of a 1940s military watch produced by Timex, that reality is a little further from the truth. Or 40 years from the truth. It seems the watch was not inspired by any timepiece in existence at the time, but but by a design Timex pitched to the military in the 1980s, and was consequently  never picked up. Still a functional and clever design, but nonetheless one carried out in nothing more than good ole’ American plastic – intended to be disposable. Surprisingly, its elusiveness has caused it to become a bit of a relic among watch collectors.


Time Capsule | The National Motorcycle Race Meet

The National Motorcycle Race was photo documented in the fall of 1955 by veteran photographer George Silk in the Mohave Valley. There, one of the most compelling series of motorcycle Americana imagery was captured, to become  part of the Life photo archive.

Today, we dust off the old prints for a glimpse into a day when infinite-cool wore dirt and grime like a bespoken tuxedo.  The images contain fantastic examples of 1950s style, with heavy leather jackets, ankle high boots, and navy deck jackets strewn into the mix. The young child on the motorcycle wears one of the baddest looking canvas and shearling jackets I have ever seen. Other interesting touches found below are the Triumph Motorcycle graphics on the grease barrels and the patched on lettering on the team shirts, as modern shirt printing techniques were just being developed. As a whole the look of the day was one of character and edge – a little reminder to modernity that we need to get ourselves dirty every now and again. And to that we say – challenge accepted.

Be sure to follow through to see the full series of images below. (more…)