View Full Version : Seat belt/turn signal Q's

09-10-2009, 04:31 AM
I was at the show in Hugo last weekend, it was fun seeing the nice Studes. One of them had a child seat in it, and I thought how fun it would be to tote my girls around in something like that. ANyway I was wondering when cars started having seat belts in them, either because they had to or it was just offered. I had mentioned that to my wife, who doesn't remember cars without air bags and she didn't believe that cars use to not have "safety equipment" like that, aren't us young-uns funny? And I was looking at this forum at work, and one of the Drs I work for happened by, and told me about how his first car ("just an old Ford" according to him) was so old it had to have turn signals installed so he could use it. So, when were turn signals first required? Thanks


09-10-2009, 05:17 AM
I am sure there are others with more knowledge on this than me but I will take a stab....

Seatbelts in Studes at least were first optional in '56 as far as I know. Probably there were aftermarket ones available earlier than that but I am not sure when.

I am not sure when they started to be standard on cars but I have a '65 ford with the standard front-only belts in it. There were optional deluxe ones that included the rear. My folks had a '67 ford when I was a kid and it had front and rear belts. My dad ordered that car and I doubt he would have gotten a belt upgrade option. These were all lap belts. I don't think shoulder belts in the front appeared until at least '68 or '69.

Turn signals were a option on Studes probably through '54 or '55. Some states required them earlier. Minnesota started to require them in about '48 or '49 I think. We had a '47 chevy truck on the farm (I am from MN originally) with a "allstate" aftermarket turn signal kit on it. Allstate was a Sears brand for auto accessories. My '53 is a original MN car and had factory turn signals.

Given that air bags started to be standard on some cars starting about 1990 and pretty much all cars only around '96 or so, you folks ARE pretty young [:p]

Jeff in ND
'53 Champion Hardtop

09-10-2009, 05:32 AM
The first vehicle application for turn signals was a 1938 Buick, though they were being invented when the first cars showed up at the turn of the century.
Not sure what year car that you have, but I think seat belts showed up on Studebakers pretty early on as options. They seemed to be taken more seriously in the fifities as car speeds picked up and they were mostly aircraft lap belts then. I have an original set front and back in my car. They are the same as found in Piper Cubs in the middle fifties. The 3 point seat belts first showed up for the shoulder restraint in the '59 Volvos. My neighbor had those in his old Volvo. They have always been ahead in that game.
I think they had archaic child seats as far back as the late 1920s. Tennessee was the first state to require those back in the seventies. I can't imagine how we all survived without using any of those!
Studebaker International has any color '60s style seat belt that you may want, but here's an original for sale:


09-10-2009, 05:49 AM



09-10-2009, 05:54 AM
LOL! I remember as kids we went most everywhere standing on the front seat next to Dad until we were too tall to do so. When my sister was 7 she was with my Uncle Jim when he went off the road and hit a tree and she hit the windshield. Although not seriously injured, my parents took decisive steps to insure her future safety: She wasn't allowed to ride with Uncle Jim anymore!:D

Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
Parish, central NY 13131

09-10-2009, 06:02 AM
Lucky! How do you survive that??? Wow.

Skip Lackie
09-10-2009, 07:50 AM
I believe a couple of Australian states were the first to require the installation of seat (lap) belts, in 1964. In the US, the Department of Transportation was established in 1966, the same year seat belt installation in new cars became mandatory. Shoulder belts started in 1970. Mandatory seat belt use was first required in New York state in 1984.

Directional signals were required by a number of US states as early as the 1950s, but I know many of us own vehicles from the middle 50s that didn't come with them. I believe the automakers standardized their installation in 1957.

In the US, the EPA and DOT allow states to exempt antique vehicles from all Federal laws mandating the installation of safety or emissions equipment, if the vehicle was not required to be so equipped when new.

Skip Lackie
Washington DC

09-10-2009, 07:55 AM
When we bought our 1964 Daytona, it did not have seat belts. My dad bought some (don't know if they were generic or Studebaker) and we installed them ourselves. Only in the front, as I recall. We also installed windshield washers.

'50 Champion, 1 family owner

09-10-2009, 08:44 AM
We live in Illinois. My parents bought a new '61 Lark.
It did not have seatbelts. Somewhere around 1965 the
State passed a law requiring seatbelts in some years of
cars and newer. Our's was new enough that we had to have
seatbelts installed.
My '63 Avanti was sold new to a family in California.
It was ordered from the factory with seatbelts, but
as I understand it they were shipped in a package with
the car but were to be installed by the dealer.