I mounted one of the seat belts in the car yesterday to see how everything lined up. I’ve done a lot of thinking and planning for this set up, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t minor issues. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the set up, but here are a few thoughts:
If you want to mount three point harnesses (shoulder belts found in modern cars) to a vintage Ferrari, you’ll find a third mounting point below the rear window. This mounting point is a little low, and is not ideal for mounting a shoulder belt, but the alternative would have been to weld a mount on the “B” pillar which I felt was too destructive to the interior of the car.
Once I decided to go with the lower mounting point, I realized I would be happier with a belt retractor. Some owners have chosen to use fixed belts mounted to all three points that adjust to one size, but I find the belts constantly slipping off your shoulder when riding in the car, and the belts allow no movement of the passenger when secured. The retractor will keep tension on the belt at all times, keeping it snug against the passenger’s shoulder. There are inertial weights inside the retractor that locks the belt in case of a sudden stop.
One thing I would have changed would have been the mounting point for the retractor. If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice the belt just touches the nose of the rear seat. This is even after mounting the retractor to the front most mount.
Going back to when I had the mount plates made, I made a guess where I should mount the bolts inside the car, but I didn’t expect a clearance issue with the seat cushion! My concerns were more about not blocking the door to the rear seating area. Moving the retractor forward, and sharing the front mount hole with the other anchor point alleviated most of the rubbing issues, but the belt still touches the seat. With the belts constantly drawn, and retracted, I’m concerned with the wear marks that will appear on the rear seat cushion, but that’s life!
Frank gave me the seat belt pivots from a box of seat belt parts he had laying around his shop. They worked a lot better than the ones I got from the seat belt supplier. The obtuse angle of the belt needs as much room through the pivot it can get to move smoothly.
The inside mount used existing mounts, but I will get nicer looking bolt when I get finish the seat belt installation.
Taking a look at the first picture again, you can see the buckle end of the seat belt comes from the center of the car, and has a little bit of adjustment. Other than the rear seat clearance issue, the belts seem to line up pretty well with someone sitting in the seat. The retractor allows the passenger to lean forward when belted in, and locks well when suddenly pulled. Now that I’m happy with this set up, I’ll order the right parts to complete the other side.
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