Car coat in Ventile Canvas in copper

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Garment

£440.00

Car coat, made in London, with heavy Ventile Canvas from Lancashire, a removable liner of grey wool-melton from West Yorkshire, and dark horn buttons from the West Midlands.

More of this sort of thing

There's not many of these left, by the looks of it. Still, don't despair. Email info@sehkelly.com and perhaps something can be done about it.

Sizing

The car coat fits true to size — the mannequin here, for instance, is as standard a 38 chest as you will ever meet, and wears size S — but is cut to accommodate, say, a shirt and light jacket underneath. If you're not prone to layering, or prefer a slimmer fit, then best go a size down.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Sleeve over shoulder 31 31½ 32 32½ 33
Back length 33½ 34 34½ 35 35½
The car coat is made from Ventile, which is a cotton of legendary weather-proof capabilities. Rain rolls right off, wind cannot penetrate, and yet it is wonderfully breathable. It was invented in Manchester in the '30s. It is made with cotton of the longest staple, and is very, very tightly woven.
Not just any Ventile, this. This is Ventile Canvas, which marries the wonderful properties of Ventile with the grit and substance of a sturdy duck-canvas. It is 16oz in weight, which is heavy — but such is the cut and weight-distribution of the coat, when it is on your shoulder, it won't feel half that.
The car coat is a five-button number, which falls to the upper thigh. It has a fairly large and traditional collar, which is cut to sit proudly when down — nothing limp or concave here — and to really hug the neck when up; to shield the wind and not to flop and fall around. The cutting of collars is taken seriously here.
The buttons are horn — dark tortoiseshell in colour and matte in finish. Being as they are an entirely natural thing, each looks a little different, one to the next — varying in tone, hue, and striatic marking. Same goes for the hand-sewn backing buttons (below-left) which anchor their big brothers at the front.
The car coat has a curtain — or flap, if you want to take all the fun out of it — which circles its middle, all the way around. Beneath it, at the front, sit two very large patch-pockets. The curtain serves as a cover for the pockets, to prevent rain — or, in certain locales, light fingers — from getting inside.
Not that you'd know it on first glance, but the pockets at the front may also be accessed sideways. "Warmer pockets", they're sometimes called.
With things so eventful on the outside of the coat, inside, things are clean and simple, with a chest pocket on the left-side as worn.
The coat has a half-lining of even more Ventile. In this way, when also taking into account the facing on the inside-front of the coat, you have a double-layer of Ventile on the most weather-exposed parts of the exterior. Elsewhere, meanwhile, the seams are carefully bound with dark grey cotton.
The coat has a removable liner — or "warmer", as some have it — which buttons to its interior. It is made with grey melton wool, and is lightly padded with the wool of British sheep. It fastens firmly to the interior of the coat courtesy of eight horn buttons.
The aforementioned liner extends almost the entire length of the coat. It weighs next to nothing, the warmer, and cannot be seen at all from the outside — but when buttoned into the coat, it adds a significant degree of warmth, such is the density of the cloth and the padding of the wool sandwiched between.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", weighs in at 12 stone, and has a chest just north of 38. Here he wears a size S. Nice and relaxed, see, the car coat — but, if he wanted a slimmer fit, then a size down would be a-okay, too.

Makers of

The coat is made by an outerwear factory in London. They are safe hands indeed when it comes to Ventile. Core-spun threads, double-felled seams, fine-diameter needles, and every other Ventile nicety — they know it all, having made such garments for military and civilians alike since the late 1980s.
Ventile was invented in Manchester in the 1930s. It is a high-performance cloth — being put to use over the years for all manner of high-octane and outdoor pursuits — but is simply an intensely tight weave of natural cotton. Water hits the cotton, cotton swells up, water has nowhere to go: easy.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons here in Birmingham."

So they say

The car coat is great. Probably the best-crafted piece of clothing I've ever held. Thanks for the help with everything.

This gent purchased a grey Ventile car coat in November of 2016.

I can only say things about [...] the car coat that you probably already know: they're really, really wonderful garments. I had imagined saving them for the spring, but realised they are both perfect for the weather that we are having right now in south Hessen. The coat is particularly kuschelig and really is like no other coat I've owned.

So said, kindly, by a man who bought the car coat in Ventile in the back end of 2014.

The fit [of the car coat] is good, like I hoped. My wife could not believe that this was newly made coat and not a vintage one, based on the quality of the stitching and the finishing.

High praise received with gratitude by a Ventile car coat owner in Canada in December 2016.

I love the car coat. Beautifully made. And thank you the accompanying care advice. No doubt I shall buy again.

Comments from a chap who bought the car coat in olive Ventile in July 2016.

Just to let you know I have been putting the car coat through its paces over the past few weeks. Rain or wind, it has performed, as expected — spectacularly. The sizing is just about perfect, with or without a jacket underneath.

Few are the chaps who own the car coat in black military-grade Ventile — but here are the words of one, back in 2014.

The liner arrived in perfect shape yesterday, and is already at my tailors with the two coats to have buttons installed. I have had many button-in liners over the years, and this one is the best. The quality of the materials is amazing — most companies seem to use inferior materials for this sort of thing — and the workmanship is your usual perfection.

Sometimes padded woollen liners are made for the car coat. This chap bought one in February 2018, and seems, by all reports, fairly happy with it.