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  • Modern seats w/ headrests

    At some point I plan to take a long tour around the US in my 64 Daytona. Now, my son has gotten on a safety kick and he's saying that for a long trip I should have headrests to eliminate the chance of whiplash. I'm already putting 3-point seat belts in. So here's my question: Has anyone installed more modern seats having headrests? If so, what vehicle did they come from, how did they fit, etc. I'm not talking about Recaros or something expensive like that, more like what I can find in the junk yard.

    I would plan to put the safer seats in for the long trip, but then return the original seats afterward for local cruising.

    Any way to retrofit the original seats with headrests?

  • #2
    The best bucket seats that have ever caressed my tush are the ones in my 99 Honda Accord. They have held up for the 21 years I have owned the car and the foam has not crumbled. Lots of those cars in the boneyard. Not the ones from the Civics, though. They felt terribly non-supportive to me.

    I would think that head restraints have to be fairly rugged and rigid to do their work. An upholster could look into the frames on your seats to see if they are strong enough to do the job. I would be surprised if they were.

    The add-on head rests that you could buy from J.C. Whitney and were popular in the late sixties and early seventies were more for looks than actual safety, in my opinion.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      Some folks have used the seats out of Sebring Convertibles as they incorporate the seat belts into the seat. You'll need to be sure they are well anchored. If you have a set of three point belts already, like I did, you can use about any seat front seats from newer full size and mid size sedans.

      Wander around the used car lots or wrecking yards looking for the most comfortable seats you can find.

      As an aside, look at the mounting points on the seats. Any of them can be made to work but if they have decent front mounts it makes the job easier. If you also choose seats with controls mounted on the seats, you can have power adjustment, lumbar and also heating and cooling if you chose wisely.

      Bob

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      • #4
        Many people have used the Chrysler Sebring seats from a convertible, that have the built in three point belts. You do not need this if you are already going another way to get three point belts.

        I do not believe that your original seats are anywhere near strong enough to support an effective head restraint.

        I would look for a late model mid to standard (not full) size car for seats. Look for something that is comfortable for you and look appropriate to your car, including colors. Like RadioRoy's Accord, I like my 2001 Acura CL coupe's seats. Since you sit lower in most new cars, you may need to put spacers under the mounts.

        EDIT: As you can see, Bob and I were "typing" at the same time. At least we agreed.
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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        • #5
          All the above is great advice, but I'll add that '64's had head rests as an option, so the seats may already be set up to accept NOS ones if you can find them. Around late 1961 my dad bought a pair of head rests from the parts department at Freeman-Spicer and fit them into a '60 Lark wagon we had. Fortunately, they never got tested.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ronpasquale View Post
            All the above is great advice, but I'll add that '64's had head rests as an option, so the seats may already be set up to accept NOS ones if you can find them. Around late 1961 my dad bought a pair of head rests from the parts department at Freeman-Spicer and fit them into a '60 Lark wagon we had. Fortunately, they never got tested.
            They were great as head rests, but I would not trust them to work adequately as head restraints. I have been in more than one accident where I was hit hard from the rear. There was a big difference in my outcome from modern cars with head restraints than with older cars.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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            • #7
              These are a set of factory headrests in two '64s - Studebaker friend in PA puts them in just about everything he restores - like the cars in the photo. Not sure that they were really meant for safety as much as they were for "comfort."

              '64 Cruiser



              '64 Daytona HT

              Last edited by 62champ; 05-03-2020, 02:45 PM.

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              • #8
                The 2008 and up Sebring convertibles have a smaller integrated shoulder belt which works well for hard top models as there is no B pillar to anchor the shoulder belt. The earlier Sebring seats stick up higher and just look ugly IMO. The other option is a set of Dodge high back truck seats mid 90's they also have a built in seat belt system but I don't think they would look as good as the Sebring seats.
                Last edited by JayBird; 05-03-2020, 05:25 PM.

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                • #9
                  These are the Pontiac 2007 G6 seats I put in my 74 Avanti. As Gary said above, there is a lot more steel and reinforcement under there to keep them, and me, in place. You can do the same with the Daytona and have much better comfort and a bit better safety. Just find a set of seats you like. Eventually, I'll probably get them recovered but for now they are what they are.

                  Bob

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    I'm putting a set of GTO seats in an Avanti. Of course they will be reupholstered to tie into the factory pleated "look". Click image for larger version

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                    Bez Auto Alchemy
                    573-318-8948
                    http://bezautoalchemy.com


                    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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                    • #11
                      I'm in the process of installing some free Craigslist seats from a Transit Connect. For me, I know they offer all day comfort as I own a Transit Connect. Having driven it all the way to New York from California without a sore behind was good enough for me.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      I only had to drill two additional holes to mount the seat and measured height was the same as the original seats.

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                      • #12
                        Wow Roland, there is no way I'd ever put Transit seats in anything. I've been looking for something to replace them with in the Transit (2018) since they're so uncomfortable (way too narrow and squeeze my ribs) . There again, I'm a bit bigger than you. I guess the key here is to find a seat that is confortable for you, then make it fit.

                        Probably the most comfortable seats I had were from a 1969 Mustang. I used them (the actuall same seats) in four different cars over 22 years. Unfortunetly, they went away when I sold the last one in '97, an '82 Toyota.
                        Last edited by bensherb; 05-12-2020, 12:11 AM.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          I used an 81 Monte Carlo split bench in my 60 Lark . The width is just right and mounted the seat tracks on 1.5 inch 90 degree angle stock. I then mounted the same angle stock by bolting it to stock bolt holes in the floor. Next step put the seat in the car and hold with vice grips so you can get the final angle and height you want. Then take it apart and weld the 2 pieces of stock together. I suppose you could drill and bolt if you do not have a welder. I know Monte Carlo seats are the same up to 86 and after that not sure. A lot is common to GM products on the era. Have fun at the wrecking yard.
                          Bob
                          Bob
                          Welland Ontario
                          60 Lark Convertible
                          64 Daytona
                          sigpic
                          "They were meant to be driven ... so keep on cruizin"

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                          • #14
                            We own two GMC Yukon Denalis and find their front seats to be superbly comfortable on long trips. They are equipped with fitted belts, adjustable high neck supports, air adjustable support bladders for your back and side bolsters as well as seat heaters. Of course they are covered in very nice two tone leather as well.
                            Bill

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bensherb View Post
                              Wow Roland, there is no way I'd ever put Transit seats in anything. I've been looking for something to replace them with in the Transit (2018) since they're so uncomfortable (way too narrow and squeeze my ribs) . There again, I'm a bit bigger than you. I guess the key here is to find a seat that is confortable for you, then make it fit.

                              Probably the most comfortable seats I had were from a 1969 Mustang. I used them (the actuall same seats) in four different cars over 22 years. Unfortunetly, they went away when I sold the last one in '97, an '82 Tolyota.
                              Looks like some Transit seats will be available to me when you find something else.

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