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Author Topic: Racing seats  (Read 11675 times)
Jon Mello
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« on: April 04, 2011, 01:39:40 AM »

Chevrolet homologated a fiberglass racing seat for the Camaro under part # 3931548.
Below is an NOS example...





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Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 11:11:13 AM »

The original seat from Tom McIntyre's '68 Penske Camaro.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 03:01:23 PM »

Jon,
Are those Racemark seats?

Mike
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Sixteen Grand Sedan #56
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 03:45:20 PM »

Mike,

They were made by Berry Mini-T Corp. in Long Beach California. They refer to them as the "Le Mans" style seat.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 07:56:51 PM »

I'm assuming it was Berry Plastiglas, same as Berry Mini-T shown below.



This optional seat cover looks similar to the Berry seat below.
Maybe just another variation due to different calendar year?
The Berry ad mentions an aluminum seat frame but the frame
on the factory seat is steel.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 11:26:36 PM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 08:06:19 PM »

Yenko sold a seat that had higher side supports but which was not as tall.





Nickey/Bill Thomas sold either the same seat or one very similar.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 11:03:11 AM by Jon Mello » Logged

Jon Mello
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 11:03:54 PM »

Forum member "Sixteen Grand Sedan #56" was kind enough to turn me on to one of the original GM racing seats about 13 years ago.  My seat was never used and had the GM part number on a piece of masking tape between the cover and the shell padding.  Though my original GM racing seat looks very similar to the first item posted by Jon, the cover is slightly different.  My cover extends over the steel bracing on the upper backside of the seat.

-Chad

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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 11:09:25 PM »

About 8 years ago I sourced some replicas of these original GM racing seats, and took some pictures of one next to a Shelby R-model seat.  I took the pictures because several folks thought the GM piece was the same, or close, to a Shelby R-model seat.  I think these pictures illustrate just how different these seat shells really are.

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 11:17:56 PM »

Here's an interesting 1970 ad from Auto World showing a seat for Trans-Am cars.
Notice the upholstery is the same style as the NOS factory seat at the top of this thread.



Here's another ad from 1970 showing that Auto World was selling the Berry seat
and this ad uses the same Berry photo with the different upholstery pattern.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 12:09:37 AM »

Early on, some guys such as Craig Fisher just fabricated side bolsters to fit around the stock seat.
Of note, in '67 all Trans-Am cars needed to retain a passenger seat. For the '68 season (and after)
the passenger seat no longer needed to be installed.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 02:26:32 PM »

You know Chad, when I first looked at those seats I thought the same thing, they look just like a Shelby seat, but you are obviously correct, there are a lot of differences.  When I was checking on the seat used in Gurney's Cuda I found out it was custom made but it looked like a Shelby seat that was modified, they raised the back quite a bit and had the metal reinforcement structure glassed' into it, but not high enough for a headrest...those were attached to the roll cages individually like the Mustangs.  The Nickey seat looks like the one used in the BRE Datsun.

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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 11:04:31 PM »

When Rick Stevens and I purchased that ex Alfie Ruys de Perez 69 camaro T/A car in 72, it had one of those Donohue Racemark seats - quite unlike anything I had seen previously and bears no resemblance to any of the above seat photos.  It was like a fg container for your body - no padding. Jon probably has a photo of one?

Robert Barg
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2011, 03:32:01 PM »

I've got one of the Yenko or Nickey style seats that I got out of an IMSA RS Gremlin. If someone is looking for one of these seats, it pays to look around at various old race cars for sale on ebay or other sites as sometimes the seller will do a trade or sell the seat by itself. That's what happened with the seat I got. As for a Racemark "Donohue" seat, I don't have any photos of one handy. If somebody else does, please go ahead and post it. To me, they really look out of place in these cars but they were in fact used in a few old Trans-Am cars starting in 1970.
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2011, 03:47:06 PM »

Here is a link to a picture of a further drilled Racemark seat used in Donohue's 917/30 (And it also looks to be a Racemark steering wheel that someone has black wrinkle finished in this 917/30).

  http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/pic/422/Porsche-917-30_5.html

I've also attached a horribly old, low quality scan of a Racemark ad for these seats.  When I get the chance to find my old pamphlet of Racemark, Fypro and Mark Donohue Performance Products, I'll surely take some better scans.

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2011, 09:32:52 AM »

Thanks for posting that, Chad. Would you mind posting some photos of your aluminum replica GM seat that Steve Sunshine did for you and me a few years ago. I was pleased with how those turned out. They are a nice option for someone who can't located an original GM/Berry seat or who prefers the durabilty of the aluminum unit.
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2011, 02:33:56 PM »

Hello Jon,

The story behind the Steve Sunshine seat actually stems back to a Shelby style racing part.  I was visiting a friends shop, and they had a Cobra in to do some general race prep.  The Cobra owner had bought a Ken Miles edition Steve Sunshine aluminum racing seat.  What really caught my eye was the metal shaping, and all the care and attention that went into copying the contours of the original fiberglass seats.  So many of the other aluminum seats out there that are made to look like an old race seat are made up of many pieces of flat stock cut and welded in smaller sub-sections to build a radius.  They don't end up looking right to me.

I had long thought it would be nice to have a replica of the GM Racing seat in aluminum because of the additional bit of safety it might offer.  The original fiberglass shell is only bonded to the steel frame by a few pieces of fiberglass and resin.  With an aluminum seat, I feel you can more securely fasten it to any of your additional mounts or braces. 

So, I contacted Steve Stunshine and asked him if he'd be into making a copy of one of these old GM racing seats.  Steve was up to it, and even had a go with only measurements the first time around.  That first unit missed the mark a bit, and so I sent him a replica shell of the original GM racing seat to copy.  That second unit (and Jon's third) turned out very nice.  And though Steve's upholstered cover is intended to copy the design and layout of my original, his fits better and tighter than the covers on the original GM racing seat. 

Here is the last e-mail I have for contacting Steve Sunshine: KenMiles@comcast.net

I've also attached a picture of the Steve Sunshine replica GM racing seat in my car.

-Chad
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2011, 08:13:26 PM »

So which year car and make is Donohue sitting in?  Interesting roll cage design - no factory dash, but still has the door panels and the window winder.

Robert Barg
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2011, 08:49:25 PM »

So which year car and make is Donohue sitting in?  Interesting roll cage design - no factory dash, but still has the door panels and the window winder.

Robert Barg

Robert.........There is #6 on the dark hood, & the roof & aft the door opening are light ('sorry, it's a b&w photo).........Javelin ? 

Steve
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2011, 08:59:50 PM »

Hello Robert,

The Racemark seat ad is showing Mark Donohue's 1970 AMC Javelin.

-Chad
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2011, 10:22:58 PM »

The second miracle in 2000 years......I was right!

Steve
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2011, 12:28:03 PM »

Interior of the John Elliott '69 Camaro at Daytona, 1970. Lots of unusual stuff here. The seat is by Solar Plastics, a
Steve McQueen company, and these have mostly been seen in dune buggies and other off-road cars. To the best of my
knowledge, this is about when this seat first became available. Also note the very strange roll cage design and the stock
2-spoke factory steering wheel. I've seen some "unique" roll cages before but I'm thinking this one might take top prize.



Photos by Don Gwynne
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2011, 12:48:18 PM »

Since we were talking about the Racemark seat in Donohue's '70 Javelin, I thought I would post this
one too. It is from the Mid-Ohio Trans-Am, June 1970. Apparently he did not use the Racemark seat
for all the races that year. This one looks to be custom made for him out of aluminum. Not the norm
for back then, I think.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2011, 12:21:00 AM »

Hello Jon,

Great new additions to this thread.  

I wonder if the cage in the John Elliott '69 Camaro was meant for another application originally.  The downward slope of the bar that goes from the main hoop to the a-pillar area is more than demanded by a Camaro shell.  I don't want to sell the constructors short though.  Perhaps they were ahead of their time, and trying to get the cage as low in the chassis as possible for better weight distribution (as in a modern DTM... or well built SCCA World Challenge car).

I've also never seen that shot of the aluminum seat in Donohue's '70 Javelin.

Excellent stuff.

-Chad
 
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2011, 01:17:52 AM »

I was thinking the same when I first looked at the roll bar; that it may be out of something else. Perhaps it was already "used", that would account for how low it is Grin. Then again, I know it is hard to believe, but perhaps alcohol was involved during that part of the construction Sad
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Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2011, 11:19:41 AM »

I agree, more than likely that cage was out of something else prior to the Camaro.  Also the shot of the aluminum seat in the Javelin was later in the year as the original rollcage didn't have all the cross braces in it till mid season.
Mike Camicia
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2011, 03:14:45 PM »

Another to agree.  The angle of the pillar tubes reminds me of something used in open A & B production Corvettes.  The main hoop looks to be "leaning forward".  Overall, a bit spooky.

Steve
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2011, 11:00:26 AM »

here is a 1968 picture of the Motion 68 Camaro drag car when they built it in 1968 the article says they used the GM TA seats

I have an old fiberglass drag racing seat (has lower sides) that still has the decal on it and is the same PA company that yenko used for some of his fiberglass. Yenko used two PA companys for some fiberglass parts.
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« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2011, 08:11:10 PM »

The two attached scans are pages from Paul Van Valkenburgh's excellent book, Race Car Engineering & Mechanics.

Amongst Van Valkenburgh's suggestions on driver "Fitting and Comfort," these pages also contain a picture of the Racemark seat, and a note about it's designers (Van Valkenburgh and Donohue).

-Chad
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2011, 10:53:05 PM »

I don't know if the seat designed by Solar Plastics was called the "Total Environment Plus" seat
or not but comparing these two ads, it seems like it may have been. Anybody know for sure?



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Jon Mello
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2011, 03:44:39 PM »

B&B Motors also offered a fiberglass racing seat very similar to the Yenko and Bill Thomas seats but having a "tubular frame" around it.





Here is an original one of these B&B seats, with and without the cover.



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Jon Mello
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« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2011, 09:33:41 PM »

Warren Fairbanks' '67 Z-28 used a seat from a Shelby Cobra since Warren had raced a Cobra previously and liked the seat.
Warren's car is currently owned by Ron Tribble, who races it in West Coast Historic Trans-Am events.



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Jon Mello
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« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2011, 11:57:25 PM »

1971 ad

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« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2012, 12:30:11 AM »

Another 1971 ad, this one for a Yenko seat. The mention of a Yenko Stinger refers this time to the new Chevrolet Vega, which Yenko also modified.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2012, 02:08:37 PM »

Ebay auction #280898795890 has an old Bug Eye Sprite race car for sale which appears to have an old Yenko/Bill Thomas style seat in it (minus a cover or seat frame).
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2012, 01:55:04 AM »

Yet another ad for a low-back fiberglass seat but a different manufacturer than others seen previously.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2012, 09:45:44 AM »

1969 ad for the "Solar" seat.

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« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2013, 12:08:25 AM »

These pictures were sent to me by Warren Malkin, Jr. The seats below were found by Frank Profeta in the January/February 1986 issue of Camaro Corral magazine. They were in the classsifieds on page 67.
 
As the story goes the guy Bill bought them new for his Corvette, which is believed to be a '69. The reason he bought the seats is he was very tall and had no headroom in the car. He thought by ordering the seats and installing them it would give him more headroom, which it did. The seats were not in his Corvette long as he had a hard time getting in and out of it due to the high sides on the fiberglass seats. The seats were in storage until he put them up for sale in the Camaro Corral.
 
The seat 3931548 was discontinued on 2/75. Dealer cost before it was discontinued was $46.00.



































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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2013, 12:00:58 AM »

Fiberglass seat from the 1969 Shelby High Performance Parts catalog. (Jon Mello Collection)
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2014, 09:29:12 AM »

I don't know if the seat designed by Solar Plastics was called the "Total Environment Plus" seat
or not but comparing these two ads, it seems like it may have been. Anybody know for sure?





The seat as found in the former State's A/S Camaro appears to be the Leslie "Total Environment" model. No track time on it yet, but I can say it is very comfortable sitting in the shop! Seems to be a very well built unit.
Robert

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« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2014, 08:37:46 AM »

Thanks for posting. Nice to see one "in the flesh". Can you show us what the backside and seat mount looks like, when you get a chance?
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« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2014, 08:37:46 PM »

The rear of the Leslie "Total Environment" racing seat has their manufacturer's label attached:



The seat back is smooth with a nice finished feel to it. The back itself is reinforced and anchored to the roll cage.



The base of the seat is molded to fit snugly around and bolted to round tubing, or in this case solid round stock.



The steel base frame bolts to the original factory seat attachment points. The frame has two adjustment positions. The back support also has two corresponding positions.



When assembled, the seat is sandwiched between the solid round bar of the base frame and metal reinforcements. The quilted Naugahyde covers and cushions all of the hardware.
Robert
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2014, 09:28:58 AM »

Nice shots and an interesting seat mount. I like it. Thanks, Robert.

I've found a "Total Comfort" seat and am working on getting pictures of it. Will hopefully post those soon.
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« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2014, 07:40:28 PM »

Jon, That's great that you found one of the "Total Comfort" seats. They are tough to find in good condition.
Did you find it with the cover, or are you going to have to have one made?
Robert
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« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2014, 09:10:32 AM »

Robert, this is not my seat. It is the original seat out of the John Putnam '68 Trans-Am Camaro, currently owned by Dave Doyal.
John Putnam was in the San Francisco Region of the SCCA at the time he was running this car. Many thanks to Dave for sharing
these seat photos with us.








Photos: David Doyal Collection
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« Reply #44 on: July 29, 2014, 09:36:46 PM »

It's nice to see another seat variety. Considering all the different manufacturers back in the day, there just are not many left.

Is the Putnam Trans-Am Camaro currently track worthy, or under restoration? Either way I hope Dave Doyle is able to utilize the seat.
Many thanks for sharing.
Robert
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« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2014, 08:28:41 AM »

The car is undergoing restoration. Much of the bodywork is done but it is not yet painted. Dave says the fiberglass seat
is very narrow and does not fit him well so he is putting it on the shelf and is picking out another style of low-back seat.
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« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2014, 05:16:51 PM »

   A friend just bought a Corvair race car which has been dormant for years. It has a Solar ( steve McQueen ) fiberglass high back seat which he will sell. $200 & shipping or make offer.It is in my garage here in Indy.
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