By Tim Palmer, Green Country Corvair Group
In the beginning there were just lap belts. Retractors were funny little spring loaded things which still required you to manually adjust the lap belt length to the person. Nothing like retractors of today. Until factory mounts appeared, seat belts were strictly a dealer installed item. When shoulder belts did appear, they were a completely separate belt with no retractors. Apparently GM didn’t want people to use them, since they made them so difficult to use.
If you want to put seat belts in your Corvair, you can see from my chart what you are up against.
FRONT: If you don’t have factory mounts, look at the accessory diagrams for mounting locations. If you have a 1960, the mounts are different from the others, of course. If you have need, I can supply you with a diagram. If you have one of the models that has factory mounts, all you have to do is pry out the rubber plug and screw in the bolts. The diagram can give you a clue where to look for the factory dimple (where they would like to mount the seat belt anchor). The exact location varied almost every year.
REAR: Most Corvairs do not have factory mounts for rear seats. From the diagram you can see where to drill holes for the mounting bolts. Be very careful. Some of the locations come very close to brake lines and other vital life lines of your Corvair. I suggest drilling a small hole first so you can check the location for any problem.
SHOULDER: Very few Corvairs have the factory mounts and even fewer have the actual belts. Shoulder belts were available only for models that had factory mounts. If you want shoulder belts in a model that doesn’t have factory mounts, you will have to engineer it yourself. For those of you with late models, it would pay to look at and take pictures of how the factory mounts were done on models that had them.
INSPECTION: 1. Check for rust on both sides around the factory mount or where you plan to put a mount. Rusty floors are not uncommon. Seat belts do no good if you don’t have a strong mount. 2. If you have existing seat belts, check the webbing ( the fabric part of the seat belt ). Is it in good condition? Is it dirty? Is faded? Is it 30 years old? If you have any doubt, replace the seat belt. You can replace the whole belt with a new one ( maybe with real retracts..) or you can have the old belt’s webbing replaced. The webbing replacement would have to be done by an upholstery shop because a heavy duty sewing machine is required. Another option would be to use your old seat belt buckle with new retractors.
|YEAR||FRONT LAP BELT||REAR LAP BELT||FRONT SHOULDER||REAR SHOULDER|
* 1962 outer mounts are located on the floor.
** 1963 outer mounts were moved to the side.
*** Not available on convertibles.