Lacoste racquets: what went wrong?

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Tennis Man, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

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    Here's a summary of my little research or unsuccessful attempt to search for any info about Lacoste racquets. Why did they stop making them is a mistery. There are French tennis co. like Babolat and Technifiber making racquets and the most famous of them all doesn't. What went wrong?

    LACOSTE
    In 1933, Lacoste founded La Société Chemise Lacoste with Andre Gillier. The company produced the tennis shirt which Lacoste often wore when he was playing, which had an alligator (generally thought to be a crocodile) embroidered on the chest.

    In 1963, the company created a sensation in racquet technology by patenting the first tubular steel tennis racquet. Until then, racquets had almost always been made of wood. This new racquet's strings were attached to the frame by a series of wires, which wrapped around the racquet head. The racquet was marketed in Europe under the Lacoste brand, but in the United States it was marketed by Wilson Sporting Goods and achieved critical acclaim and huge popularity as the Wilson T-2000, used by American tennis great Jimmy Connors.

    The company was sold to Dunlop France in the 80's but the racquets were produced under Lacoste brand name.

    So, the company created two of the most unique tennis racquets of their time: In 1963, Lacoste designed the first steel(which was distributed in the U.S. by Wilson); 25 years later, in 1988 (?) Lacoste patented the “Equijet” racquet, whose head resembles a guitar.

    Guy Forget used the original version in his Davis Cup wins against the US (1991). There was also an all red LT 302 with the same headshape, but a thicker beam (22 mm instead of 19) and a larger head (95 instead of 85). Lacoste stopped making racquets in 1995.

    Here's a list of all Lacoste racquets that I heard of (feel free to correct me):

    Lady L (1982)
    Classic,
    Control,
    Competition (wooden, red and blue)
    RL 010
    Top-Fiber (1986)
    Top-Master
    Top Light (white with blue/red stripes graphite)
    Top Classic (blue with white stripes, graphite)
    Top Control (green with red stripes woodie)
    Top Graphite (grey with red stripes)
    Top 240 (563 cm2, blue with white stripe and red head line, graphite)
    Open 240 (brown)
    Equijet 255 (572 cm2, original Equijet, blue)
    Equijet 301 (572 cm2, black graphite)
    LT 310 (black, high beam, graphite/Kevlar)
    LT 302 (red, graphite)
    LT 303 (green black graphite)
    LT 320 (bright blue graphite)
    LT 321
    LT 330
    LT 340
    Top 341 (599 cm2, green with red/white stripes graphite)
    LT 345 (white, graphite/fiberglass)
    Equijet 352 Graphite (blue with green top)
    LT 360
    Topjet 382 (dark grey)

    Please, post your pictures.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
    #1
  2. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I have great respect for this superb brand. Which other touring pros used the frames? Hard to forget this emotional image of Leconte crying like a baby out of pride and joy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7Tdpcgws-8
    I know you are into "just the facts" TennisMan and I respect that, but to me it's about the emotions, like connors fist pumping antics and his t2000, you can't seperate the two...
     
    #2
  3. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I think it's about both the facts and the emotions:)

    Connors hitting lightning winners down the line and fist pumping for 30 seconds (sometimes 2 minutes against McEnroe or Lendl:)), got me into tennis in the first place!

    But, I'm really enjoying finding out about Connors and others racquet history!

    It's all good:)
     
    #3
  4. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    I remember counting that Jimmy bounced the ball 33 times before one serve against Mac . Love that stuff.
     
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  5. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    #5
  6. ericsson

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    Tennis man, like i said before, the original is the Equijet 255, not the LT 301.
    I have one at home, will post it soon...
     
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  7. fattsoo

    fattsoo Semi-Pro

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    that's one YOUNG looking Sampras
     
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  8. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Ok guys, here's a pic of my original Equijet, the 255 graphite, developed in 1988 and came out in Europe around 1989-90, of course used by Guy forget till 1992, then he switched to the Equijet LT-301.
    This is stick is rock solid with buttery feel, wonderful racket!

    PS: Made in Belgium :mrgreen:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
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  9. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    It was almost as if he was trying to put him off:)

    He seemed to be really good at winding Mac up, I know Mac came back with similar, but Jimmy definitely had the edge in the mind games. It was so good when he won Wimbledon in 82 against him, does anyone have this in good quality BBC (UK) version on DVD please?
     
    #9
  10. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    It had to be made in Belgium didn't it:)

    So did this not come with vibration dampner in the butt of racquet?

    Otherwise is it identical size to the LT301?

    I'm still looking for the original Lacoste T2000 (White plastic grip/pallet I think), as seen a few posts above held by the great man himself. As Connors once used one of these (he preferred the Wilson obviously), I'd really like to get one, but they seem to be really hard to find:cry:
     
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  11. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Jimbo, if you ever been to Belgium or used or taste a Belgium product you will know we stand for quality ;-)

    It did came with the vib dampner but somehow lost it...

    I think it's essentially the same as the LT301 but damn i regret selling my black velvet :s (although it was the most expensive racket i've ever sold)

    Jim, about the Lacoste 2000, if you really looking for one let me know, maybe i can help...
     
    #11
  12. Tennis Man

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    Thanks for your correction. So what is the proper name for it, LT 255 or Equijet 255 Graphite?
     
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  13. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Equijet 255 Graphite ;-)

    BTW: you can also add LT 360 and Top Light and Open 240 on your list :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
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  14. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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  15. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Well there's not much doubt Belgium made the best racquets and best chocolate:)

    Just emailed you...

    And more Lacoste racquets are the LT310 and LT320, there are loads more as well, they made racquets for over 20 years as far as I'm aware.
     
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  16. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    ok it's time for some pics don't you think ;-)

    Lacoste Open 240:

    [​IMG]


    Lacoste Top Classic:

    [​IMG]


    Lacoste Top Light:

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Tennis Man

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    It's about time, ericsson ... I assume they are not for sale :)

    Do you have any specs for them (i.e. size, composition, etc.)?

    Lacoste Open 240 and Top Classic look like graphite/fiberglass 90 sq inch head. Lacoste Top Light is more like an 85 sq inch ceramic frame.
     
    #17
  18. Tennis Man

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    Here's my contribution:

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I really want an equijet bad...coached with a ps 85 today...china black buttcap...mmmm. I'm hoping an equijet will suit me even better. Always been a huge fan of IZOD. Surprised Lacsote sticks went under.
    I was dragged all over the world as a child and resented it..although now it makes me a man. Lacoste was like Nike to the world, izod was a huge brand.
    Guess seeing the gugenhiem moma and met at age 5 affected me. My folks came from hard working folk. Jewish bagel shop owner in Berlin, and a Jewish steel foundry owner in Tel Aviv, not much money in the fam bam. Maybe travel, like getting me into tennis, represented what tennis itself represented back then.
    The sweetlife
    transcending
    the good life
    ballin', flossin', mackin'
    I want to thank my hebrew mom and german Dad, they were very generous people. now they are in heaven, giving lectures, writing dissertations, books, manuscripts, etc. If only they were alive, I would have definetely scored that $350 Puma Estusa becker tw had...even though I'm in my 30's.
    anyways, momma may have...
    and poppa may have,
    but bless me lord, now it's time I get MY own,
    and I ain't talkin just bout the equijet brutha....
     
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  20. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Well they are not all mine but i will have a sell out in the near future, way too many rackets here and i'm moving before the winter time so watch out ;-) (could include some Lacoste rackets too)

    Anyway, i almost forgot but you can add another Equijet on your list, this one is very rare (well actually they all are :mrgreen:
    I'm talking about the Equijet 352 Graphite, will post pics soon...
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
    #20
  21. Captain Haddock

    Captain Haddock Rookie

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    Made in Belgium... I assume by Snauwaert, judging by the shape of the Top Classic?
     
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  22. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Nope, that would be Donnay! the woodies and other models were made by Donnay Belgium, the later LT series were made in Portugal and Taiwan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
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  23. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Equijet 352:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #23
  24. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Lacoste Topjet 382:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #24
  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    WOW! Are those both yours?

    Great looking racquets:)
     
    #25
  26. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    the first is not mine, last one was but sold it some time ago.
     
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  27. Tennis Man

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    thanks again for your input. Let us know if you come across more pictures or actual racquets.
     
    #27
  28. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    It's a crocodile.....

    http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=179

    [​IMG]

    The veritable history of the “Crocodile” began in 1927. René Lacoste liked to tell of how his nickname became a world famous emblem:

    “The American press nicknamed me “the Crocodile” after a bet I made with the Captain of the French Davis Cup team. He had promised me a crocodile-skin suitcase if I won a match that was important for our team. The American public stuck to this nickname, which highlighted my tenacity on the tennis courts, never giving up my prey! So my friend Robert George drew me a crocodile which was embroidered on the blazer that I wore on the courts.”
     
    #28
  29. Tennis Man

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    I have a question to the Lacoste experts. How does the vibration dampener work?. It simply sticks out from the buttcap. Is it adjustable, fixed or what? It doesn't bother me but looks strange. :) Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
    #29
  30. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    I believe theres a built in gel dampener in the throat area???....is that 352 an 85??????whoooaaaa....awesome!!!! the talk of the dampening mixed with the thin elongated head and opne string pattern make this a racquet I PINE for.....anyone...someone...PLS pls send me an equijet!!!!!
     
    #30
  31. Tennis Man

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    Here are some more racquets (LT301 and LT310 are on the way):

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
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  32. Tennis Man

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    and here's my long awaited French guitar :)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
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  33. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Tennisman, very nice racket but what an awful stencil, please put the croc on or nothing! ;-)

    ps: not to mention the vib :s
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
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  34. Tennis Man

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    oh, thanks ... may be it will antagonize some of my opponents :)

    ... I just gave it a try, put guitar strings for now ... I will re-string it with Nat gut with no stencil
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
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  35. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Hey Tennis Man

    How about a small playtest review? Would love to know how this performs.
     
    #35
  36. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    so i am nothing short of super jealous, however while some of the paintjobs look awesome, some of them look awful.
     
    #36
  37. Tennis Man

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    sure, it's coming up ... I can't wait to play with it (forgot to put it in my bag last night) :)
     
    #37
  38. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Be careful, the equijet is string sensitive, make sure you put the right tension and string in it.
     
    #38
  39. Tennis Man

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    Could you elaborate, please? :confused:
     
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  40. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    The first time i strung my equijet was with a cheap synthetic string strung at 26kg which was way too hard, no power and difficult to find the right feeling. later i tried with gut at 23kg and it was like heaven...
     
    #40
  41. Tennis Man

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    ohhh, I'm definitely going with gut.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
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  42. Tennis Man

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    Here's another monster. When I was buying it I thought it was a thin beam frame but it's actually a high beam version (from 22 mm at the throat to 29 mm at 10 o'clock).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
    #42
  43. Tennis Man

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    Interestingly there is Kevlar in composition:

    [​IMG]
     
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  44. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    The LT365 is red, I've seen that one before.

    I'm actually looking for an LT360 if anyone has one please?
     
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  45. Tennis Man

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    why? what is so special about it? just curious :confused:

    also, do you own any other Lacoste racquets?
     
    #45
  46. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I like Lacoste racquets like you, but getting the expensive/rare ones like the Equijets 255,352 etc is very unlikely!

    I've got an LT310 which is a great racquet, but still quite expensive!

    So thought I'd go for one of the cheaper composite ones. So I'd like the LT360 if anyone has one please:)
     
    #46
  47. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    Great stuff. Did they end because of economics, competition, lack of leadership, or?
     
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  48. tgsock

    tgsock New User

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    I have an LT 331 racquet, it is dark green and has the damper feature and a round large head I bought it in Bahrain duty free in the 1990s for about £50 GBP on a stop en route to the Maldives. (no one has seemed to mention so far, not even when the whole range was listed) There's almost nothing on the internet about it, may not be a classic but could be a rare one.

    I will add pictures soon of this racquet to contribute to the collection so far.

    To be honest I plan on selling it. Out of interest, what would racquets like this sell for usually? it has some evidence of use. I will post a link to the auction if any of you are interested and if i am allowed? I usually ship worldwide.
     
    #48
  49. String|Guru

    String|Guru Banned

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    Just strung this one up for somebody last week! We put a Head Leather grip on it to make it look pretty!
    [​IMG]
     
    #49
  50. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    Equijet 352 Photos

    I guess from your list and numbering system that the 352 came after the LT301.
    This is a wider body multi air section design with more shape than the LT301. It is a blue colour with a silver head.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #50

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