C R G CRG Reports Exterior Engine 1967 Model ID
Numbers Decode General Info Interior Transmission 1968 Model ID
Drivetrain Decode Options Underhood Chassis 1969 Model ID

CRG Research Report

First Generation Camaro Headrests

© 2008-2010, Camaro Research Group

Author -
Reviewed by the CRG
Last Edit: 16-May-2010
Previous Edits: 19-Mar-2008
Original Release: 19-Mar-2008

Index

Introduction

Headrests, or "Head Restraints" as General Motors officially called them, were first offered as a Regular Production Option (RPO) for the 1966 model year on all Chevrolet models. Consumer groups had been calling for increased passenger protection from rear end collisions; seat belts, padded dashes, and headrests were all effective means of accomplishing this. As with most safety features in the mid 1960's, headrests were not required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, headrests didn't become mandatory until January 1st, 1969. Instead, front seat headrests were an optional safety feature offered by the factory on Camaros in 1967 and 1968. Going by the numbers, it's apparent most consumers decided against them. Out of a total of 456,053 1967 and 1968 Camaros produced, only 4,576 cars were so equipped. This comes to just over one percent of production!

1967, 1968, 1969
Camaro Headrests
Headrests
 
Typical Headrest Components
Headrest components
All 1967-1969 Camaro headrests were vacuum molded from polyurethane foam, covered with the same vinyl material as the seat covers and were attached to a single chromed steel bar that was inserted into the seat. The 1967-1969 Camaro headrest designs were shared with the same-year Pontiac Firebird and Corvair Monza models. It was a different design from the headrests used in other Chevrolet models.


 

1967

In 1967, headrests were offered as RPO AS2 on all front seat styles for an additional cost of $52.70. Only 2,342 consumers decided to purchase the headrest option, making it one of the rarer options for 1967.

The 1967 headrest pad included a chromed steel bar with two holes for positioning the headrest, and an indented corner for retention. Height adjustment was made by pulling up or pushing down on the pad until the desired level was acheived and the "detent spring" (circled in the drawing below) engaged one of the two holes to lock the headrest into place. Removal of the pad was accomplished by pulling the headrest up as far as it would go, tilting the pad to the right side of the car to disengage the indented corner of the bar, and lifting the assembly from the seat. Note that the foam headrest pad itself was a one-year only design and was much taller than the 1968 and 1969 headrests.

Locking "Detent Spring"
detent spring
1967 "Single Slot" Headrest Escutcheon
escutcheon
1967 "Dual Slot" Headrest Escutcheon
escutcheon

There were two versions of the chrome metal escutcheon (shown above) that covered the mounting hole in the upper seat back where the support bar entered: a "single slot" design and a "dual slot" design. It's unknown why there were two versions and when the change occurred. Some headrests have been observed with either a two-digit number or a two-digit number and a letter stamped on the headrest bar. The meaning of these stamped numbers/letters is still being researched. Numbers higher than 52 have been observed, suggesting that it is not a week date code 1.

1967 Deluxe
Bucket Seats
w/ Headrests
Extremely rare
1967 Standard
Bench Seat
w/ Headrests
1967 Firebird
Standard Interior
Bucket Seats
w/ Headrests
1967 Headrest
Seat Frame
1967 Headrest
Seat Frame
"Detent Spring"
Seats with headrests Seats with headrests Seats with headrests headrest seat frame headrest detent spring

1967 Headrest
(front view)
1967 Headrest
(rear view)
1967 Headrest
(side view)
1967 Headrest Bar
"43" stamping
1967 Headrest Bar
"46Y" stamping
(Note the indented corner)
Headrest Headrest Headrest Headrest bar Headrest bar

1967 -vs- 1968
Headrest Comparison
(front view)
1967 -vs- 1968
Headrest Comparison
(rear view)
1967 -vs- 1968
Headrest Comparison
(side view)
Headrest comparison Headrest comparison Headrest comparison


 

1968

1968 Typical Headrest Release
Headrest release
For 1968, headrests were again offered as RPO AS2 on all front seat styles for the same cost of $52.70. With only 2,234 cars so equipped, this is again considered a very rare option.

The 1968 headrest design was a bit different than the previous year. Because of visibility issues with the tall pad used in 1967, the height of the 1968 pad was significantly reduced. In addition, the chromed metal bar now included three holes for positioning the headrest and a "notch" for retention. Height adjustment was accomplished by pulling up or pushing down on the pad until the desired level was acheived and the "detent spring" engaged one of the three holes to lock the headrest into place. The escutcheon was changed from chromed metal to chromed plastic and now included a locking wire in a second slot. Removal of the pad was accomplished by pulling the assembly all the way up, then using a key or small screwdriver, pushing the locking wire away from the "notch" in the bar and lifting the assembly out of the track.

Although very similar in appearance to the 1969 headrest, the 1968 assembly was actually a one-year only application. It is believed that very early 68 cars used the 1967 headrest assembly. We have very little data on early 68 headrest cars and it is unknown when the change to the 68 style took place 1.

1968 Standard
Interior with
Headrests
1968 Deluxe
Interior with
Headrests
1968 Deluxe
Houndstooth
Interior with
Headrests
1968 Headrest
(close-up)
Seats with headrests Seats with headrests Seats with headrests Headrests close-up

1968 Plastic
Headrest Escutcheon
(note the locking wire)
1968 Headrest Bar
and Finishing Panel
1968 Headrest Bar
close-up
(rear view)
1968 -vs- 1969
Headrest Comparison
(front view)
escutcheon Headrest bar Headrest bar Headrest comparison


 

1969

For 1969, headrests became a NHTSA requirement. Although the regulation didn't actually take effect until January 1, 1969, Chevrolet built all 1969 Camaros with headrests unless a special RPO was used to delete the headrests. From introduction in August, 1968 through December 31, 1968, RPO A82 was a factory default option that added an additional $16.90 to the window sticker. After January 1, 1969, the base price of the Camaro was adjusted to include the option.

For cars assembled before January 1, 1969, customers could order the "Headrest Delete" option (RPO AR1). The front seats would be assembled with the headrest mounting hardware on the seatframe, but the headrest itself was not installed. In its place, a cover was installed over the escutcheon to plug the hole. Only 335 customers opted for RPO AR1, making it extremely rare 1. An example is shown on the window sticker below. 2.

1969 Escutcheon Cover Part No.'s for RPO AR1
Headrest delete cover
 
1969 Mailbu Window Sticker with AR1
69 window sticker

1969 Camaro Headrest Release Button
Release button
1969 Camaro Headrest Plastic Guide
Plastic guide
The 1969 chromed bar now had a single hole and the "notch" for retention was located on the opposite side than in 1968. Instead of a "detent spring" as used in 1967 and 1968, the 1969 assembly utilized a plastic "T" shaped guide tube and adjustment was made by pulling up or pushing down on the pad until the desired height was acheived. Since the chrome bar was now a tight fit inside the guide tube, an almost infinite number of pad positions was possible. Because of the difficulty in releasing the 1968 headrest from the seat, the chromed plastic escutcheon now included a release button. Removal was accomplished by pulling up on the pad, engaging the release button to push the locking wire out of the way of the "notch", and pulling the assembly free from the track. Once again, the 1969 headrest assembly was a one-year only application.

For the first several months of production, the headrest bar was straight like the 1967 and 1968 assemblies. However, due to the rake of the front seats, this placed the pad too far back and was found to be less effective in protecting the occupants against whiplash. Starting in late November, 1968 3, the bar was bent forward thirty degrees so the pad would be closer to the occupant. Other than the bend, the early straight bar and later bent bar headrests are exactly the same and are interchangable. Note that a date code, in month-day-year format 4, was now stamped into the bars. 1967 and 1968 headrests lack this date stamp.

1969 Standard
Interior with
"Straight Bar"
Headrests
1969 Standard
Interior with
"Bent Bar"
Headrests
1969 Deluxe
Interior with
"Straight Bar"
Headrests
1969 Deluxe
Interior with
"Bent Bar"
Headrests
Seats with headrests Seats with headrests Seats with headrests Seats with headrests

1969
"Straight
 Bar"
1969
"Bent
   Bar"
1969
"Straight Bar"
-vs-
"Bent Bar"
1969 Headrest Bar
Date Code (9-13-68)
Headrest bar Headrest bar Headrest bars Headrest bar

1969 Plastic
Headrest Escutcheon
1969 Headrest
Seat Frame
1969 Headrest
Seat Frame
"T" Guide"
escutcheon Headrest seat frame Headrest seat frame


 

Footnotes

1 Because of the lack of hard data regarding first generation Camaro headrests, the CRG is actively researching the following topics:
a. 1967 - Escutcheon styles and number/letter stampings on the steel bar.
b. 1968 - When did the factory change from the 1967 style to the 1968 style.
c. 1969 - Factory or dealer installed AR1 option.
If you own a Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, or Corvair Monza, and can help with this research, please the author.

"Filler"
P/N 8783128
Filler
Service Bulletin
TB69-T-1
Service Bulletin TB69-T-1

2 Customers purchasing a car off a dealership lot before December 31st, 1968 could also request the headrests be deleted. Service Bulletin 69-T-1 described the service procedure for removing the headrests and adding a "filler" (shown far right) to the escutcheons. Curiously, the service bulletin only covers bench seats and is hence not directly applicable to the Camaro, even though the headrest delete was available as a Camaro RPO. Since this was a dealer change, it wouldn't be listed on the window sticker but would instead appear on the dealer invoice. Either way would add a credit of $16.90 towards the final cost of the car.

3 Although the bent bar headrest was placed into production starting in late November, 1968, there was an overlap period where the straight bar headrest continued to be used until supplies were exhausted. This is particularly prevalent on the less popular interior colors. In these cases, original cars have been observed with straight headrests as late as mid December, 1968.

4 Bars manufactured on the second and third shifts will have an additional shift number stamped into them. These will be in a month-day-year-shift format. I.E. a stamping of 12-22-68-2 would be a headrest assembled on December 22nd, 1968 during the second shift. There have been observed headrests with a dash 1 added after the date, indicating a headrest assembled during the first shift.
Note that not all headrests were date stamped. Although very unusual, original headrests have been observed without date codes.

 



 CRG Home  Previous/Back
CSS Validated XHTML 1.0 Validated!