Here's a thoughtful gift for Dad that didn't make it into this week's Father's Day gift guide.
A Westside L.A. vintage home and lifestyle shop called Surfing Cowboys is selling Steve McQueen’s personal jacket. A medium, brown leather bomber for a 5’10” frame, the jacket is going for $20,000 and also includes a surf board and a story.
The 9’4” board is a signature late 60’s Hobie from Gary Propper, East Coast long-boarding royalty, who happened to randomly meet McQueen outside a Dana Point surf shop while hanging out with Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown and surfing/shaping legend Micky Munoz.
We’ll let Propper, who eventually became the Hollywood producer behind such notable films as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: the Secret of the Ooze and Carrot Top Rocks Las Vegas, explain what happened when McQueen suddenly pulled up, as relayed to Surfing Cowboys owner Wayne Gunther:
"Bruce Brown, Mickey Munoz and I were hanging outside the Hobie surf shop in Dana Point. I was on the West Coast to discuss my signature Garry Propper model Hobie Surfboard. Bruce was on break from filming On Any Sunday. An old pick up with two dirt bikes in the back pulled up and Steve McQueen got out. I was introduced to Steve as the East Coast Surfing Champion, we talked for a while and the conversation flowed. I was 19 and he was my hero.
I mentioned that I had an appointment with artist Bill Ogden who was doing the logo artwork for my Hobie Signature Surfboard and was scheduled to meet him that afternoon at the Sound Spectrum in Laguna Beach. Steve said he was going that way and could drop me off. On the way Steve and I talked. We bonded around the fact that neither of us knew our fathers.
I don't know if it was the realization of traveling down PCH with Steve McQueen or it was my weak Florida constitution for cold that got to me but I suddenly started to shake. As Steve pulled over to drop me off he reached into the back of the cab and said: 'You look cold, here, I want you to have this' - and handed me the jacket."
Ah, right. So just like something that would totally happen today.
The surfboard that comes with the McQueen jacket is the very same that Propper was going to see Hobie artist Bill Ogden about that day. The jacket given to him by the actor was later acquired at auction, while Gunther acquired a letter from Propper backing up the story. There’s no word on where McQueen, who made many a bomber look good, acquired the jacket, though it does bear a fair resemblance to the one he wore in the Great Escape.