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Car seats in Studebaker

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  • #16
    We just had a terrible accident happen in neighboring Attleborough, Mass. A woman was struck and killed by a drunk driver in a head on crash. She was wearing her seat belt and the air bags deployed. She was driving a Saturn and the drunk was in a Jeep Commander. You never know when you go out if you will be coming home no matter what you are driving. She leaves a son.


    • #17
      To go back to the original question--any Studebaker can be fitted with lap belts as long as it has a solid floor.
      Just remember to drill from under the car into the passenger compartment (after checking what is in the area you plan to add the anchor bolts) so you don't accidentally drill through a brake hose or something important under the car.

      This won't make your car work with modern car seats though because those are constructed for a 3 point seat belt, not a lap belt. If your state requires a modern car seat for babies, adapting them to work with lap only probably won't pass state muster.
      If it isn't really a state requirement, just something you want for safety, then you can tinker away at adapting the lap belt to work.
      To put a 3 point system into a Studebaker requires far more modification than just a hole and anchor bolt (though it CAN be done).

      As for us not having child seats--of course we had them.
      My parents had a 1952 Commander from when I was born until I was 8. They bought a (no seat belt) 1960 Edsel when I was 5 (which I still have).
      I can not remember in any way what kind of child seat I rode in, but since my brother was born when I was 7, I can remember everything about how he rode.

      When he was an infant we had a wooden seat (sort of a V shape for the child to lay in, facing up) that was placed in the floor space of the passenger side.
      In other words, the baby seat was between my mother's legs if my father was driving and I was looking at this set up from the back seat.
      It was held in place only by gravity though it had a strap to hold him into it in case he squirmed.
      Even as an adult, I actually think it was pretty safe. Short of the car getting rammed in that exact spot, or the car rolling over, there really was no place he could be pushed to in an accident.

      At a later age (the Studebaker was gone by then) he had a vinyl covered cardboard seat that affixed to the car with large hooks that fit over the seat back of the front seat and held him in the air.
      In no way was that safe (particularly since it was a 2 door and the seat went over the split of the seat back so my mother had to reach out and stop him from flying forward at every stop sign and light). Had there been a stop that caught her off guard, his head would have gone flying into the padded dash as that whole contraption spilled.

      As for me, I stood in the back seat of the Studebaker as my father drove along. I don't know exactly how old I was but I do remember that the light switches on the side of that 4 door sedan were at my eye level and I thought they were tremendous fun to play with, turning the dome light off, and on, and off, and on.
      When not playing with the side switches, I usually stood holding onto the front seat's back for balance with my chin on the front seat's back (when I got tall enough to do that).
      I also sat on my knees facing backward with my chest against the top of the back seat, watching out of the rear window.

      The one thing I did not do, as a Studebaker baby and toddler, was ride sitting like an adult in either the front or back seat.
      The reason was simple: the windows were above my head when sitting, so it was too boring.
      Adults who tried to make me sit that way (specifically a beloved childless next door neighbor who sometimes took me with her on errands) were in for a fight.
      I would not sit that way. If my parents ever tried to make me, they gave up on that long before I can remember childhood drives.


      • #18
        Guess I'll weigh in since I'm neck deep in the baby seat department.

        Lap belts CAN work with modern seats IF
        1. The child seat is rear facing front AND the lap belts can latch more to the side. It's hard to buckle a belt in the center of the seat (most lap belts latch at crotch area.) can't latch a crotch belt through a baby seats belt tunnel.

        This all being done with solid floors etc

        2. 3 point harness belts are routed the same way as a lap belt through the seats. No special provision for the shoulder strap, other than a place to attach /hook it to get out of the way.
        3. Forward facing seats can be anchored with the seat anchors or a belt but in studes obviously there's no small U ring attaching posts or a seat back top anchor in the package shelf. HOWEVER there is a different path for a 3 point belt to travel in a forward facing seat. It's higher up the back (center) I would think that a lap belt IF long enough could be used in this path. But would want an an anchor for the seat top.

        I'll get pictures in a few days (I plan on seat anchors being in ChopStu)
        Last edited by 4961Studebaker; 09-23-2012, 07:26 AM.
        61 Lark



        • #19
          Hey thanks for all the replies, guys. I've been looking around at vehicles and the Stude idea just won't go away. I've heard lots of stories from "You're gonna DIE!" to "Go for it, you lived this long already", etc. so I would think modern (boring) vehicle for every day but not worry about "fun time" use in a Stude! I mean, my parents had a string of VW Beetles when I grew up, and I even lived thru an accident in one of them. I do work in an ER so I see the results of not wearing a belt so whatever I end up in will get them.
          So from what I've read here, Lark-types will have the same interior room as the earlier "full size" 4-doors, right? How about a 54 Land Cruiser? Would that be similar sized as these? I saw one of those at a show this summer and really liked it.
          Oh and I got no problem driving a mini van, it just reminds me of the "Shaggin' Wagon" my buddy had when we were stupid teenagers (70's van with mattress in the back... and yeah, I know that's a story for a different forum...)
          Proud new owner of a 56 Power Hawk!


          • #20

            if i was in your "situation" again , wanted a Studebaker with what you need, and within 260 miles of where i lived, i'd be checking out "skinny's" '62 Lark, with all the work he's done to her!

            another stude i saw near you is a '55 sedan:

            i know nothing about these cars or the owners other than "skinny's" thread (and his other posts), on the forum showing all the work he's put into this one...

            Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

            '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

            '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.


            • #21
              Originally posted by BobGlasscock View Post
              All this talk of NOT being safe in Studebakers and other old cars, and yet, we of a certain age survived all of those cars without seatbelts and those cocoons for miniature humans. I laid in the rear window shelf, and sometimes rolled off into the seat. I stood in the back seat and met the backside of the front seat a few times. I even stuck my head out the rear door window sometimes.

              And yet, I live and post on the SDC Forum.

              Be sensible, be careful, be safe.
              I agree, and furthermore, the chance of being maimed or killed on your way to a cruise night or just to fill the car with gas is about the same as it would be driving the car daily. In other words you can't control when a drunk driver may run in to you. Best to just not own an old car at all if your opinion is that they are generally unsafe, because there will be no time when they will be.


              • #22
                I think the nicest option for your situation would be a 56 President long wheelbase or a 4 door wagon of a later vintage. In addition to the 5 people ridding, if you have 3 car seats, you need a car that will seat 6 adults comfortably and you need cargo space, because you will not have a whole lot of room in the passenger area for anything extra you might want to carry. Unfortunately (for your situation) Studebakers are a little on the narrow side when compared to other makes of the same years. That's not to say it can't be done, but I would look for the largest one you can get.


                • #23
                  Originally posted by qsanford View Post
                  We always had good service from our 1990 Chrysler Town & Country. It was one of the first built so we got the 3 liter engine. We named her Vanna White!
                  My daily driver is a 1994 Dodge Caravan short wheelbase with the 3.3L V6. I don't care about looking like 'dork/dweeb'..........especially when I smoke a fart pipe equipped Honda Civic or similar off the line.

                  Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

                  Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

                  "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"


                  • #24
                    Man I was watching "Skinny's" thread last year, I didn't know he was selling his car. I totally would have bought that... if I had any $. 3 kids + only about .6 of a job kind of cuts down on buying a "fun car".
                    Proud new owner of a 56 Power Hawk!