Other types of seats in your TD replica

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  pmossberg 6 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #234658

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    As I mentioned in another post, I’m considering replacing the crude, plywood and foam seats in mine, rather than re-upholster them.  Hopefully, this won’t seem like anathema to many of you, since many of the kits came with bench bottoms (i.e. not like the original TD) from day one…

    My seats are FUGLY 1970s large-grained maroon naugahyde, and I’ve thought of dying them, but I’d still be left with the huge ugly grain.  Plus, one rear corner of the drivers seat is ripped though repairable.  Plus, whoever built this thing must have been 6’4″ or very high-waisted with long legs.  At 5′ 10″ I can barely clutch it and can’t depress the clutch anwhere close to fully… There’s no adjuster on the seat back, either…

    The most practical solution to all this is to replace what I have with adjustable bucket seats, hopefully something with more side-bolster to help keep the butt firmly planted.  The challenges seem to be:
    1.  Finding something narrow enough to fit between the door/tub and the center frame tunnel – and mine must be buckets because my e-brake and heater controls have been relocated…
    2.  Finding ones with mounting bases/frames  that are:
    (a) narrow enough to go back into the rounded area where the center frame tunnel widens and the indentation in the bottom pan rounds inward.  
    (b) allow you to mount the bottom of the seat 5″ or so off the floorboard, to get them back to the original height.
    3. Finding ones that don’t have the headrest built in, which really would make them stand out as being “too new” for this classic roadster…
    I’ve looked at the more affordable aftermarket seats, and almost all of them seem too wide.  Race Trim makes a UTV line for Rangers, Rhinos, etc. that look like they might fit.  They have removable, rather than built-in headrests.  They also offer seat mounting frames with sliders.  They’re near the bottom of this page.

    I’m not crazy about the look of them, and don’t want it look like a dune buggy or something.  Has anyone else found other seats, aftermarket or used, that will readily fit these constrained spaces?
    TIA!



    KentT2013-05-01 14:56:20

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255652

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    My butt would never fit in those Empi seats! Censored

     

    I suspect  Mazda Miata seats might work. A quick look around  the web says they are about 19″ or 20″ wide. Not sure if any years had removeable headrests tho.

     

    MGB seats are 18″ wide.

     

    Triumph TR6?

     

    The Corbeau GTSII seats are about 20 inches wide, but expensive at almost $800:

     

     

    Speedster 356A cabriolet seats might work too. 

     

     

    PMOSSBERG2013-05-01 16:24:31

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #255653

    billnparts
    Participant

    @billnparts

    Finding an adjustable seat that narrow would be next to impossible. As the kit buckets are just foam cushions on plywood bases, simply build a seat to your specs and mount it in a position that is most comfortable for you. I, personally, took 3″ out of my seat base and moved the seat back rearward about 6″. Shu has a thread on building a truly comfortable seat base in the Forums somewhere. Steal upholstery from anything you like. My seat back upholstery comes from a Buick Roadmaster station wagon 3rd folding seat. Perfect width. It’s yours, so build what fits you.

    Bill Ascheman
    Fiberfab Ford
    Modified 5.0, 5sp., 4:11
    Autocross & Hillclimb
    "Drive Happy"

    #255654

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    billnparts wrote:

     It’s yours, so build what fits you.

    Yep, but if I let the Missus drive it, even if infrequently and for short distances, it makes it easier to avoid “hobby budget discussions” — and she’s under 5′ 6″…;) 
    I discovered that with my Yamaha Rhino — it was “just another toy” until I let her drive it.  She had a blast!  Haven’t heard any more comments about it since… :lol::lol:
    Those 356 seats look very nice — but I’d bet they’d be very pricey also.  
    PRP, a Race-Trim competitor, offers similar seats with more color choices.  I’ll keep researching this as I continue working on mechanicals.  Next comes wiring — which is easier with the interior removed…


    KentT2013-05-01 17:17:48

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255655

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Kent, join the Speedsterowners website and go to the classified ad section and ask nicely. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    No guarantee they’ll work though.

    #255656

    mark-k
    Participant

    @mark-k

    Kent I have been looking all over the place for new seats and came across one at AppleTreAuto.com They have a Slim Line Off Road seat that looks nice and is 19 inches wide. Don’t know if it would work maybe still to wide.

    I may just build one. Have a friend that is a very good auto upholster that said he would help me. If I do I’ll let you know.

    #255657

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    The slim line looks like a possibility Kent. And $200 is a good price!

     

     

    They have slider mounts too:

     

     

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #255658

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    Thanks, Paul.  Those appear to be the same EMPI Race-Trim seats as advertised in my initial link.  I’ve emailed a couple places with questions about the dimensions of the seat frames (with slider mounts).  By my measuring, I’m limited to 15″ wide at the floorpan, unless cutting/welding is involved to move the mount upon to a flange or something.

    Also requested bottom-line pricing, including shipping.
    PRP makes similar seats, for slightly more $$, with more color choices.  So, I think I’ll get quotes on them also.  


    KentT2013-05-02 14:53:27

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255659

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    I also requested mounting dimensions and a price quote on PRP’s comparable seats.  The color choices really dress them up, IMO, and could be worth a few extra $$.  These are the ones I requested a quote on, in their low-back series:

    This is the color combo I’m considering — in all vinyl for durability, though they wouldn’t be as comfortable as cloth.  Note that these are of a different seat — wider with higher sides, but you should be able to get the idea.


    KentT2013-05-02 17:07:33

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255660

    billnparts
    Participant

    @billnparts

    Man, they are going to require one tiny hiney. My ass hurts just looking at them.

    Bill Ascheman
    Fiberfab Ford
    Modified 5.0, 5sp., 4:11
    Autocross & Hillclimb
    "Drive Happy"

    #255661

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    Luckily, I have a “jut butt” instead of wide hips.  My Rhino’s stock seats are quite comfortable to me, though more padding for the tailbone would be nice on longer rides.  The width doesn’t really concern me — as long as they’d fit in there…

    Meanwhile, I found some pics of those RaceTrim UTV seats mounted in a Manx on Samba.  IMO, they don’t look that bad, or that uncomfortable.  Pull the headrests and they’d look more authentic to the period.  These remind me of later Midget seats…
     

    KentT2013-05-02 17:26:23

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255662

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    I think I may have gotten the price to beat, on the all-black Empi Race-Trim UTV seats.  Pair of seats, pair of the 6″ tall bases with sliders, and 1 meter of 54″ wide matching vinyl (for door panels) for about $525 shipped.  So far, the best price I’ve gotten on the PRP seats is over $100 more – NOT including shipping. 

    The PRP seats look better, and would likely fit better (their mounts for the narrow seats are 2″ narrower than their normal ones), but with shipping is added in the price could easily be 50% more…

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255663

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Not sure why you aren’t in the bone yard pulling seats out of old Honda Civics or Miatas. I think my local pick & pull gets $20 a seat. Maybe $25. Pretty sure you pull them with the track attached.

    Nothing you can buy in the aftermarket for $250 is going to match them in quality, and even with brand new mail-ordered seats you’re still in for some serious fit and fab work to get all the angles right.

    I order marine vinyl from a place called Beacon Fabric and Notions. They’re on the interwebs and ship out of Florida, I think. Nice lady. Something like $30 a yard for the stuff, as I recall.

    If it were me I’d measure my space about 50 times, mock something up with one-by sticks and/or cardboard to envision it (I don’t mean make the seats out of cardboard, just use tape and staples to make a 3-d template of the space), then head to the local auto recycling yard with a tape measure and all or part of the template and lay it on a bunch of seats and, if they measure out right, sit in them. Find something comfortable and light color. Take them home for well under $100 and probably under $60.

    Once they’re all in and work and fit right, pull ’em out and spray them with some Duplicolor vinyl “dye” or similar. Panels, seats, everything. Then it’ll all match.

    Don’t get me wrong: I love new stuff and buy it when I can afford it and it will save me time. But this project is looking like a big time commitment no matter where you source your parts.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck, and post photos! This is sounding like a potentially very fun job.

    #255664

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    Ed,

    I’ve measured and measured until my brain is cramped.  I’ve been looking even at “Pick N Pull” the lowest priced “junk yard” around.  Small, low-back bucket seats in good shape are like looking for hen’s teeth… I’ve found them from mid/full-size cars but they’re far, far too big.  Everything now is high back, some have side air bags, etc. Removable headrests aren’t that common any more. 
    Combine that with TD’s cockpit size, steering wheel being so close, and you have to take full advantage of the remaining floor pan space there is.  That means the rear of the seat mounts must be about 15″ wide, with the curvature of the transmission hump intruding in the rear.  The seating height above the floor is about 10″, including the cushion.    My kit’s seat box is about 6″ tall and the original seats are a bit over 17″ wide.  I can’t find anything at the local junk yards that small… period.  Most of the mounting tracks/sliders are 22″ – 24″ or even wider.  Those tracks won’t even fit between the frame tunnel and the doors, much less the seats themselves.  These small 19″ wide seats, with curved sides to help clear the frame tunnel would be a very snug fit, and may rub the door panels.
    I’m also trying for something that looks like 1950s/1960s in good condition, without having to pay an upholsterer to totally rebuild a pair of 1950s-60s sports car seats for me.  Even the 356 seats are too big, based upon the measurements I’ve seen… as are MGB seats.  MGB seats are too wide at the back to go between the transmission hump and side of the tub, as far as I can tell.  The ideal seats would be wider in front, narrower in back, with the sides of the seat base angled to use some of the space over the center tunnel. 
     I haven’t found used  MGA or Midget seats to measure yet — they might work, but I’d have to totally fabricate a frame that would fit these cramped quarters, if it will.  The Italian sports car seats (Fiat, and such) recline back way to far to look anything like they might be original.  (Italians must have long arms and short legs, based upon their preferred driving positions :-)).
    Before I went the route, of having to totally fabricate mounting frames, or modify OEM seats  to make them narrow enough at the rear to fit, and reupholster them I’d just pay an upholsterer to totally rebuild mine, with molded foam for lateral support on seats and back, and do the suspension/webbing mod.  

    Then, I’d be looking at about the same $$, most likely and not have adjustable seats…
    ADDED:  Look closely at the 19″ seats mounted to the VW pan for the Manx above.  Those are mounted about 3″ above the floor, not 6″ like a TD would be, but they’re also mounted farther forward.  They’re not back where the removable plate is on the transmission tunnel.  Yet, they’re using almost all the available space, side to side. I think that these seats, mounted 6″ off the floor would provide enough clearance on the tunnel that they could be moved back farther toward the tranny…


    KentT2013-05-02 23:00:22

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255665

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    AH, as usual, I don’t know the half of it!

    Hope your plan works. Had no idea how hard it would be to find bucket seats that would work but I guess it makes sense, given the way American dimensions have expanded over the past 60 years.

    Hey! Have you tried Moss Motors? The TF seat might be just the ticket. And only $4 million.

    On a more serious note, one guy on the MG forum was recently sen fitting boat seats into his MGA. So that might be an option of the ones you’re looking at don’t pan out.

    #255666

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    This pic from a Manx-type buggy build shows the challenge.  The TD’s seat back is mounted directly over the flange on the rear of the pan, above the access hole, against that “firewall.”  Look below it  and you can see the constraints at the rear of the pan where the back of a bucket seat must mount.  The seat needs to rounded to fit back in there, and the sliders/frame must be narrow.  They truly need to be “narrow bucket seats” with rounded backs.  That rules out a lot of the compact car seats, which are as wide at the back as they are at the front.

    This also illustrates my point made above that typical buggy seats are mounted farther forward where the original VW mounts were, and where there’s more room…


    KentT2013-05-03 08:21:03

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255667

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    Not too long ago, I was faced with the same seat problem.  The only low backed buckiet seats I could find which fit into my Jensen Healey nicely were (as Ed mentions) boat seats.  You might want to take a good look at some.  They are, of course, available new.  But you will find many more options if there is a marine graveyard close by.  There are so many types, designs and color combinations that it became numbing trying to decide which ones to go with.  Surprisingly comfortable.  

    #255668

    Anonymous

     In past have seen possibly on this forum were they used a rear seat from a pony car . Can’t remember if it was a Ford or a Gm . It had to be shortened  to fit.  Sliders would have to be fabricated or use small compact car sliders obn base of seat.

      On my car used sliders from a ford tempo and mounted slider to original base allows about 5 inches of travel. sliders mounted to plywood and mount for sliders modified for MG.

       Hot rod industry can provide almost anything you might want. Bare seat frames can be had and upholstery shop can fit to car.

        If you raise mount to gain travel and clearance for seat. you loose clearance for legs with steering wheel.
    #255669

    mark-k
    Participant

    @mark-k

    Well guys have decide to make a seat for my TD. Can’t find what I need and don’t want to pay out a lot of $$$ for a seat and find it will not fit.

    I am going to be working with a friend who does auto restoration work and upholstery work who offered to help me build them. So hopefully I should have the frame made by next week and will send pic’s. Once we have the frame built we should be able to design the upholstery it etc. If all goes well I should have the proto type done in about 3 weeks.

    #255670

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    George Fisher wrote:
     In past have seen possibly on this forum were they used a rear seat from a pony car . Can’t remember if it was a Ford or a Gm . It had to be shortened  to fit.  Sliders would have to be fabricated or use small compact car sliders obn base of seat.

      On my car used sliders from a ford tempo and mounted slider to original base allows about 5 inches of travel. sliders mounted to plywood and mount for sliders modified for MG.

       Hot rod industry can provide almost anything you might want. Bare seat frames can be had and upholstery shop can fit to car.

        If you raise mount to gain travel and clearance for seat. you loose clearance for legs with steering wheel.

    George,
    Does your car have a bench seat?  Mine doesn’t, and I don’t see how you could readily add sliders without some major modification that would move both seat bottoms and the seat back at the same time.  A bench seat would at least simplify this somewhat.
    I’m trying to keep the height of bottom seats, at the top of the seat cushion, about where it is today.  It could come up slightly in front, but not much, to get a comfortable angled seating position and thigh support.  Overall, I’d like the seating height to stay about where it is.  My current seats are so flat that you feel almost like you’re sliding forward out of the seat due to the angled seat back.  The passenger’s side is not as bad because the feet are braced on the angled footrest.  
    Having looked closely at aftermarket mounting bases/sliders I’m leaning toward the ones made for dune buggies that are about 3″ tall.  Then, I could pretty readily shim them up to the end height, while experimenting, to get the final desired height and slope (for seat back angle).  If I get the 6″ taller ones, it would likely require cutting/re-welding — which certainly limits the experimentation.
    I’ve looked as some hot-rod seats online, but none are within my budget…


    KentT2013-05-03 10:44:27

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255671

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    Mark K wrote:
    Well guys have decide to make a seat for my TD. Can’t find what I need and don’t want to pay out a lot of $$$ for a seat and find it will not fit.

    I am going to be working with a friend who does auto restoration work and upholstery work who offered to help me build them. So hopefully I should have the frame made by next week and will send pic’s. Once we have the frame built we should be able to design the upholstery it etc. If all goes well I should have the proto type done in about 3 weeks.

    Mark, that would be great!  The frame is the key thing and pics would be very helpful.  Everything above that could be readily customized… 

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255672

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    Meanwhile, It obviously can be done, as this photo I found on the web shows…. this is not a bad look, even with adjustable headrests.  I like that color combination, too.    Have no clue what kind of seats, nor how to contact the owner – in English, any way.

    Here’s a pic of a Daytona kit with bucket seats in it. The headrests are too high, IMO, and detract from the “authenitc” look.  Looks like the whole seat may have been raised, in order to get the top of the backrests that high.  I saw this one a couple months ago, and that’s what started me thinking about bucket seats.  Lose the headrests, and it would look better.  Lower the seat to where the top of the seat is close to the top of the tub, and it would look even better.  Then, you might even be able to use the headrests, as the pic above shows.
     
    So, it can be done.  The questions are how, how well, and how much $$…


    KentT2013-05-03 11:19:05

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255673

    jebarry
    Participant

    @jebarry

    they look like “Pimp My Ride “and   “Overhauled” rolled into  one  !!LOL

    #255674

    kentt
    Participant

    @kentt

    jebarry wrote:
    they look like “Pimp My Ride “and   “Overhauled” rolled into  one  !!LOL

    :lol::lol:
    Yes, the top two-tone ones without the headrest would look pretty “slick” IMO and fairly appropriate to the period.  The seats in the bottom pic are just too tall – reminds of those pics of people putting “captains chairs” in smaller vehicles…

    Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
    Slowly coming back from the ashes...

    #255675

    mark-k
    Participant

    @mark-k

    Kent I’ll post some pic’s as we go along with the seat design etc. hopefully with in a week or so.

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