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Seat Belts


1937hd45
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I believe there needs to be a thread to discuss the installation of Seat Belts in Vintage cars, based on the tragic loss last weekend.The following link is not ment to be an add, I'm not associated with the company, just passing along information that may be of interest. www.julianos.com has been supplying new seat belts for use in 1930's vehicles for years, just scroll down the list of their products. Information they have may be of interest to you.

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I was in an accident where the driver of the car who hit me, drunk crossed a double yellow line in the rain, wasn't wearing seatbelts and was killed.

I'm a believer.

I've installed them and use them in all my collector cars. The ones I use in my Duesey J446 are very much like the red ones/chrome latch shown in the link.

I got mine from JC Whitney. My car will be at Pebble this year. We will drive her on the Pebble tour as well.

As far as having children unbelted in any car that is something no one has the legal or IMO moral right to do.

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I've purchased seat belts for my cars off the shelf at Pep Boys. They are black and reasonably attractive. Other colors are also available. In fact, a pair of those seat belts are featured in the CCCA Judging Video, as an example of a "no deduction" item.

I'm sure most other auto parts stores have seat belts or can get them for you. There is no problem with availability of hardware. The Hot Rodders have been doing it for years. You could even recycle harnesses out of modern cars.

The problem is installing them appropriately, and most importantly, safely. As I've mentioned. CCCA makes no point deduction for their installation as long as they are done in a tasteful and workman-like manner. Likewise, AACA makes no deduction either. I don't know of any national club that does.

The challenge is to install them safely, so they actually provide protection, not just a false sense of security.

Any time you drive any collector car, you absolutely must practice defensive driving at all times. I hope you do that with your modern car too. The world is not a very safe place.

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I really cant believe there is so much concern over the installation of seat belts. Any show organizer would be crazy to discourage the installation of seat belts. EVERY show and EVERY club should make it clear that cars with seatbelts should NOT suffer ANY loss of points simply for the appearance of seatbelts for those that did not orignally have them.

I require everyone riding with me to buckle up.

If you want them you should be able to have them with no docking of points.

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As a CCCA member who regularly participates in CARavans (Just returned from Alaska) and a Vintage Racer, seat belts are routinely installed in the cars I use on tour. In Vintage racing they are not only required, but belts of a significantly higher specification are specified. I have a set of Simpson Racing lap belts in out 3 Litre Bentley.

Accidents of the type that have brought about this thread are very rare. Take a look in any salvage yard to see that the overwhelming majority of crashes are at the front end. It makes sense when you consider that is the direction cars usually move. Consequently, one should seek protection from the greatest hazard. Roll-overs, in spite of the Ford Explorer publicity, are a small percentage of wrecks. However, even in the case of a roll-over, the occupants are statistically safer staying in the car than not. Obviously the hazard in an open car without a roll-bar is greater than in a closed car, but one should remember that upon being ejected from a moving vehicle, your body is still moving roughly in the same direction and speed as the car and you have no control of where you or the moving vehicle will land. For instance, I recently saw a roll-over at a Vintage race with the driver well strapped into an Turner roadster with a roll-bar. There were no injuries, but significant car damage. The driver's helmet, probably a poor fit, flew off in the roll. When the car stopped, the helmet was underneath the car, an arm's length from the driver.

Do yourself, your family and your friends a favor, and install belts in your cars. At under $30 per set, it's the bargain of a lifetime.

As for installation into a car with wood structure, remember that Franklin, among others, used seasoned Ash for the Chassis frame members. Wood is very strong and resilient. Of course, rotten wood is no better than rusted steel. The lap belts in our Bentley are fastened into a 3" x 3" ash crossmember that is bolted directly to the frame rails and sill rails. Vintage Sports Car Club recommendations are to back up the mounting of the belts with a 9 square inch steel plate, regardless of where the mounting is placed, and to set the mounting for as straight as possible pull on the belt fabric.

As Chuck and others have noted, I am not aware of any Club that discourages the installation of seat belts. Seat belts, in my opinion, do not detract from the asthetics of any car, and certainly demonstrate the good judgement of the owner

I hope this discussion encourages the use of belts.

Jon Lee

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I echo Chuck Conrad and Jon Lee's comments. I installed seat belts in my 31 Franklin with Derham body 10 years ago. It has 3/4 inch marine plywood floor boards, that I used 1/4 inch steel plates, 3" x 3" , on either side of the floor board and a 3/4 inch bolt to fasten the seat belt end to. The floor boards are screwed in place to the 3 to 4 inch ash sills of the body. On my other cars (33 Chrysler, 37 Packard, 40 Buick) they go into steel body frame members. If the tragedy in Michigan serves as a wake up call to all of you who were eventually going to get around to putting seat belts in but never did, DO IT NOW!

Twenty years ago or more a Dr. friend servived a t bone crash in his 32 Franklin sedan , that rolled the car over twice, he had installed a lap seat belt, and it saved his life. He walked away from the crash unhurt, the car was totaled. We are still going to car meets together in fact went to one yesterday together. If he hadn't installed that seat belt he wouldn't be here today.

Better safe then having your name in the CCCA Bulletin - in the obituary!

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  • 1 month later...

Upon learning of the Michigan tragedy a personal decision was made to park my car until belts were installed. This site features ~build your belt 'online'~, they shipped my 1st set promptly, re: 2 point mounting 75-inch length lap belts with brown material and retro look chrome lift lever buckle ends.

Click to View->SeatBeltPros dot com

Was able to install the fronts in my 32 Chrysler Custom Imperial CL phaeton by running the belts horizontally thru existing holes in the bottom structure of the seat lean back, threading them under the carpet and fastening the extreme outer belt ends to existing 7/16-inch diameter body-to-frame through bolts. Changed these bolts from 3-1/2-inch to 4-inch length to accomodate the anchor, the original bolt head was recessed in a heavy washer.

The inner belts required drilling two holes in the floor pan, adding a reinforcement plate in the x-member hole, fitting angled through bolt shims. The anchors are completely concealed. Next is the rear seat . .

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  • 1 month later...

I added seatbelts to my 1934 Rolls Royce for three good reasons.

1. So I could carry my grandchildren in the car and meet North Carolina child seat requirements - and because I want my grandkids to be safe.

2. Keeps me more "stable" on leather seats - on curves, quick stops, bumpy roads.

3. The wife said "I'm not riding with you unless you put seatbelts in."

We used modern belts bought at Pep Boys, attached to steel rods welded to frame under the wooden floorboards. The orginal oak floorboards are about 3/4" thick, but wouldn't hold without the steel rods. We also put steel washers on both sides of the floorboards to reinforce where the bolts go through the wood. Color of belts matchs leather seating, and they can be moved out of sight for shows, but as mentioned elsewhere, AACA and CCCA allow seatbelts. Just a good idea to have them regardless. I'd have put them in even if it meant "points off" - better safe with no trophy than to die on the way home with a trophy.

Ed

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  • 4 months later...
Guest imported_CarFreak

Time to bring this thread to the top - Spring will soon be here in the northern states and people will be bringing their cars out of storage soon. I plan to sit down this weekend and order seatbelts for my 1940s car and also vintage fire truck.

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Can anyone tell me how to secure the front seat lap belts so they won't break your hips or back in a serious accident, particularly a 'T' bone? My 6219 has rear belts (ugly as home made sin) and the fronts have been removed. I was thinking of replacing them with a better looking GM style ... but have been warned that without some form of tensioner, the belts can seriously harm you. It is kind of a danged if you do, danged if you don't proposition.

Thanks!! As always...

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I've been concerned about using lap-only seat belts in any car.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that in a head-on crash, the lap belt will cause your body to "jackknife", throwing your chest against the steering column and head who-knows-where. That doesn't sound gentle. Didn't someone do a study years ago concluding that lap belts can be worse than no seat belt at all?

I would think that if you want to install seat belts that the lap+shoulder is the only way to do it. Hard to do on an open car, though.

--Scott

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  • 2 months later...

Agreed. Lap belts would at least keep your head from going through the windshield (and as stated will keep you in the car where you are safer than outside the car). I've had problems finding the right size belts for my shoulder harness and have thus removed them and only use lap belts in my 70s Lincolns (shoulder belt is not adjustable). I will probably check with one of the links provided in this thread to see if someone will custom make the lengths I need for a reasonable price. To date, I had only found places willing to make what I need in batches of 100 and I only need 2.

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