A1 Engineer Jumper (GPL863)
Product InformationFor most of The Great Escape, McQueen wears a blue sweat shirt with cut-off sleeves. But early on in the film, when preparing for the big July 4th celebrations, McQueen is seen wearing what is known as an engineers jumper.
Officially titled the A1 jumper, the style was developed by the USAAF as a way of keeping engineers and mechanics warm as they went about their daily work.
Made from a medium weight worsted wool, these jumpers became very desirable and highly coveted, and although they were intended for lowly ground staff, there were often purloined by air-crew and pilots as a way of keeping warm, especially by those flying on high altitude bombers.
Of course, we can but guess how Capt. V. Hilts came to be in possession of an A1 jumper, but it would not have been at all unusual for one to have been worn beneath an A2 leather jacket for extra warmth.
After the war, perhaps unsurprisingly, the A1 became a popular style amongst American motorcyclists. In the late forties and early fifties, motorcycling boomed in the US, as a generation of former soldiers, sailors and flyers sought other ways to get their kicks. But with no such thing as dedicated motorcycle wear and base layers, the mechanics jumper became a popular way for bikers to keep warm.
Of course, this was not dissimilar to the situation in the UK, where bikers adopted the submariners heavy wool, roll-neck jumper. The A1 jumper we have sourced for the King of Cool is a very, very accurate replica of the jumper issued by the USAAF, right down to the correct olive drab wool.
We reckon its a really cool jumper that looks terrific when worn simply over a cotton T-shirt, but its also the best way to keep warm if youre wearing an A2 jacket over it. It looks really authentic on any period bike.
Of course, on an Indian or Harley it would be perfect, but think anything that might have found its way on to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the fifties or sixties and you wont go far wrong. That means any old Norton, Triumph, or BSA, or even a Vincent. In fact, any British classic from the period.
- Made from wool
- V shaped neckline