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Shoulder / Seat Belts in Studebakers

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  • Shoulder / Seat Belts in Studebakers

    I know this will scrape on the nerves of the purists, but how many out there have, or have thought about, adding shoulder belts to their studebaker (not counting you race car guys)? I'm torn between keeping the car original (in this case, a 66 commander....not exactly the most desirable or valuable car out there) and an upgrade that could save my family from potential injury when some kid on a cell phone pulls out in front of us.

    My thought would be to modify the B pillar by cutting a hole in order to insert a long plate with a nut welded to it, then close the B pillar back up. Drill a hole into the trim panel & then attach the seat belt anchor the hidden nut. The bottom recoil unit would be mounted thru the floor with an extra bolster plate underneath. To return the car to "stock" appearance, just remove the seat belt, replace the B pillar trim, plug thehole in the floor, & your done.

    Any ideas or suggestions?
    Mike Sal

  • #2
    Mike,
    What kind of belt are You planning on using?
    sigpic
    1961 Hawk ...4-Speed;4bc;Twin Traction


    Ken Byrd
    Lewisville,NC

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    • #3
      I like the idea, I've thought of something similer for awhile. I don't think I'm going to do it, but it would be cool to see someone do it.
      Dylan Wills
      Everett, Wa.


      1961 Lark 4 door wagon
      1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
      1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
      1914 Ford Model T

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      • #4
        Ebay sells universal replacement shoulder belt sets for around a hundred bucks. I think they are the most logical choice, as finding older sets in the junkyard in good condition is getting harder to do. The universal sets have a nice cover over the recoil mechanism so you don't have to fab anything. The biggest draw back is the buckle, which looks too "modern" for cars of our age bracket.
        Mike Sal

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        • #5
          Many threads already on this subject. Juliano's is a good supplier.
          KURTRUK
          (read it backwards)




          Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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          • #6
            I have posted about this subject in the past. It is my opinion that anything done to these cars for the sake of safety should never be considered a negative. From belts to brakes, etc. My main concern regarding belts is that they be done in a way that achieves the desired result without unknowingly increasing the potential for injury or giving a false sense of security. Judges should be encouraged to overlook modifications made for the sake of safety.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              Actually, I believe there already are several members of this forum whom have done this. Perhaps one or two will check in. Being a purist myself, this is one modification I would be able to live with (just not in my cars). I don't think the show judges should be able to dock you for it either (though I think they currently would).
              Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
              K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
              Ron Smith
              Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

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              • #8
                I just did some looking thru the archives & read the good post about Juliano's shoulder & seat belt sets. It is the same idea that I had in mind, but their kits are twice as expensive as the generic ones. As I have my own machine shop, I can fab the brackets. I've got a couple of K cars that I'm getting ready to send to the crusher....I think I'll go steal the shoulder bolts out of them before they get sent to china.

                As I never have my cars judged at the meets, the modification won't cause me to loose any sleep. I can remember setting out in the parking lots at the national meets, having a cool beverage with friends & taking bets on who's car had the most bugs on it......while others were out in the parking lot with those feather dusters trying to get every last spec off their trailer queens.
                Mike Sal

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                • #9
                  Mike

                  JMO - But if the belts are worth the effort to install under the opinion (Which I agree with 100%) that it will make my family safer. Then it is worth the extra cost to install quality new belts. Initially, belt material does not improve with age as indicated by racing bodies requiring replacing them on a regular basis and, Secondly, there is now way to know if the K-car belts were exposed to other chemicals that may have degraded the belts further.

                  I have new belts in my 54K and my 83 Avanti both shoulder type. No way I'd ever be able to live with myself if my wife or grandkids got hurt because I CASO's the belts. There are an awful lot of hard things to hit in the older vehicles.

                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    I bought 3-point belts from SeatBeltPros.com for my '70 Avanti. They have a pretty wide selection of belt and buckle styles and colors. The only negative is that the retractable belts are universal, not for a specific car, and the retractor can get in the way of access to the back seat in a 2-door car. They're excellent quality and I can recommend them.

                    Here's what mine look like...I installed seat belt retractors on the rear belts for a neater appearance.
                    Attached Files
                    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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                    • #11
                      Our mates Down Under have had to do this to all their cars by law for years and every one I've seen looks factory or better.

                      I would check with contact person for any of the Aussie state SDC chapters in the roster and/or Michael Pink - "studemick" on this forum - for recommendations and references.

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                      • #12
                        Bob
                        Do you have pictures ofyour belts in your 54 coupe?
                        Brian
                        Brian Woods
                        woodysrods@shaw.ca
                        1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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                        • #13
                          Brian

                          I do have pictures of my shoulder belt install, but first, two points. Mine is a hardtop and I installed a roll bar type framework to hold the shoulder restraint portion. Let me know if you still want pictures and I'll post a couple.

                          Bob

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                          • #14
                            To clarify, I wasn't going to retain the belt material from the K cars, just the hardware, like those shoulder bolts that the upper anchor attaches with. Ya never know what odd part you'll need. I might even cut out the nut that's in the k car B pillar. Now, where'd I put those darn torks sockets.....
                            Mike Sal

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                            • #15
                              One issue that cropped up was to install the three point system properly you would need to weld the upper pivot point to the roof. Not anything to worry about if car is in raw stage. However, if car is painted there is a problem. As I have said before, the biggest issue is finding a method of securing the seat backs. In the event of a crash the seat backs will move forward under a large amount of force and if the belts tighten up as designed to, you could find your self with massive internal injuries.

                              I think it was Bob Johnstone's site that shows a 3 point setup that attaches to the "lip" that runs around the inside of the car body. I could be wrong.

                              BG

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