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  • Do you use seatbelts in your A?

    When I was younger I was an automobile accident investigator. Seeing with my own eyes the way the human body reacts to the sudden stop or the ejection was nothing short of shocking. When the automobile hits another object the front end drops violently, this throws the occupants forward and up instantly. The metal frame over the windshield kills most front seat occupants when their face hits it and their neck is broken. Lap belts prevents this but the head whipping into the dash is almost as deadly. I had four people in a 1970’s sedan who ran into the back of a stopped trailer. Both in the front seat were shoulder belted and lived. Both in the back seat had on lap belts. They whipped forward on impact and died when their heads hit the front seat frame. When lap belts were common in cars this happened all the time. I felt they made my job easier because I didn’t have to look for ejected bodies in the dark, they kept the scene more contained. Highway safety numbers from the 1960’s (just before shoulder belts became ubiquitous) show that lap belts do save life’s, but given what my eyes saw I have very little trust in them. It’s almost a question of whether one wants to die fast or slow. This is a terrible conversation but it’s the reality of physics.
    For this reason I cringe and remain silent whenever I hear the debate over whether or not we should wear seatbelts in Model A’s. Safer? Yes, the numbers don’t lie. But we’re driving with a gas tank in our laps in a vehicle that was built before anyone gave any thought to crash safety.
    I think more important than that seatbelt is our ability as drivers to always remember what we’re driving and keep our heads on a swivel watching for the drivers who are not as careful as us.
    So... back to the original question. Do you wear seatbelts in you Model A?
    Last edited by Curly; 01-08-2018, 12:21 AM.

  • #2
    Yes, lap belts. I haven't figured out how to put 3 point belts in a coupe. If someone has done that, I would love to see how it was done.

    Comment


    • CarlG
      CarlG commented
      Editing a comment
      Same here.

  • #3
    Lap belts for the front seats are one of my top priorities. I realize that they won't keep my head away from the dash and steering wheel, but they will keep me in the car. I've read a few threads about 3 point belts, but I wonder if the structure is strong enough.

    Comment


    • #4
      I will not justify not having seat belts, but I will tell you that while up until last year I have put over a million miles on multiple motorcycles without an accident involving another vehicle, I will say that I have learned to drive offensively and defensively at the same time, which I still do while driving the A. I believe this ability gives me an edge over the tunnel vision drivers we have here in So Cal.

      I have lost my primary fabricobbler to blindness and it really breaks my heart to loose such a worthwhile entity since he has helped me on so many projects. So, I am looking into mig welding myself and am beginning to collect weldable materials. I find that for most projects the simple bed frame can be used. I have a set of 3 point belts that I will eventually be using, but I am reluctant to tear into the original interior that my car has to do the structural upgrading that is necessary for the support needed to anchor the belts. I have the bottom anchor points settled as to how that will be done, IF it will work the way I want, but that "B" post just doesn't have enough strength to handle the upper mount, so I am thinking and working out the best way to rebuild the "B" post and roof to get the desired strength since it doesn't do much good if your anchor fails.

      I will be taking pictures and posting here as things progress, so for me, no belts yet, more to come.....
      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

      Comment


      • #5
        My Kubota tractor has a nice retractable seatbelt unit. I’ve always thought a couple of these would be easy to set up for clean use in the Model A.
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        • #6
          No belts in any of my cars unless they came that way from the factory. If you add belts, then you can be ticketed for not using them. I like to keep my cars as original as possible, and also don't like big brother micro-managing my life. Drive defensively and do your best to overcome other driver's shortcomings, like texting, speeding, tailgating, running stop signs, not yielding the right of way, and not knowing how to merge.

          Comment


          • 2manycars
            2manycars commented
            Editing a comment
            My thoughts exactly. And I avoid heavy traffic. These cars are very old, and I think it best to stick to back roads like they were designed for.

          • Mark Maron
            Mark Maron commented
            Editing a comment
            That is FALSE... You cannot be ticketed for NOT using seatbelt in an antique vehicle..

        • #7
          Always a matter of individual Model A owners' choices. Steel bodies, wood bodies, anchoring to the chassis?

          Just sharing one (1) Model A insurer's opinion on vintage car seat belt methods of seat belt installation, and why ....... from Hagerty, vintage car insurer.

          http://www.hagerty.com/articles-vide...-collector-car

          Comment


          • #8
            Here is a thread from the Chassis Tech area on seatbelt documentation including a 3 point set up in a Coupe.

            https://www.vintagefordforum.com/for...lt-information
            3 ~ Tudor's
            Henry Ford said
            "It's all nuts and bolts"


            Mitch's Auto Service ctr

            Comment


            • KenCoupe
              KenCoupe commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for that link. It is very informative and I will probably try to duplicate it for my coupe. It looks to be a great solution for the 3 point seat belt.

          • #9
            FWIW:

            One (1) unique Model A seat belt option is a Federally approved (4) point seat belt system from Wesco Performance Belts, all mounted to Model A floor. .

            This system provides lap belts around a passenger's waist, and also shoulder belts over one's shoulders, all mounted down below to a Model A floor in lieu of trying to rig shoulder belts to a Model A roof or trying to rig shoulder belts mounted up high to a side of a Model A body.

            Again, just individual Model A owners' choices and something to think about .

            Comment


            • #10
              One (1) option for floor mounted shoulder seat belts ....... (4) point belts from Wesco Performance.



              Comment


              • #11
                I think that Tom has it figured out. Defensive driving skills are the answer to most car crashes. Here in Newfoundland Canada basic driving skills are all but non-existent . vehicles that weren't fitted with seat belts from factory are exempt. I was recently rear ended while towing a enclosed trailer with a jeep, at 60 kilometres per hour young missy rear ends and totals my trailer... at 60 k .. she had dropped her phone while texting and admitted to police. if she had of rear ended my old 29 there would have been nothing but tooth picks and 600wt oil on highway.

                Comment


                • #12
                  I was a Unit Defensive Driving Instructor in the Army (extra duty they called it) and the best pupil I ever had was....me. I've driven with 100% attention on the road and other drivers ever since. It's the best defense and it comes in handy when you own a car that didn't come with seatbelts and are not required to have them although I did have a set put in, they are not used and are under the seat. If a passenger feels more secure with one, I pull it up through the seat and strap 'her' in.
                  "Bullshit and Brilliance Comes with Age and Experience"

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    All the seatbelts in the world wont save you from the inherent danger of driving a model a..I can think of worse ways to die,if my last conscious act was driving the car I loved it wouldn't be a bad thing.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      I'm in the camp that seat belts won't do squat for you in these glorified motorcycles. The steering wheel and tank are basically already right up on the torso & knees.
                      The seats are so springy and wishy washy and that does not help to get buckled securely.
                      3 ~ Tudor's
                      Henry Ford said
                      "It's all nuts and bolts"


                      Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        After I bought my 1929 CCPU the first order of business was to totally rebuild brakes. I got it back together just in time to drive to an outdoor wedding I had been invited to. On the way to the wedding, the first trip with new brakes, one block from home, a modern pickup pulled out from a stop sign at a side street and broadsided me. I ricocheted like a pool ball onto the sidewalk, somehow without hitting anything else. Both doors flew open, but fortunately my girlfriend and I both stayed inside.

                        Seat belts had been on my list of things to get done, but were not installed yet at the time of this crash. They are now and I use them religiously because I have first hand experience that they are the only thing I can rely on to keep us inside the vehicle with even the slightest impact.

                        Defensive driving? Yes, I taught it for emergency vehicle operators for many years too. I could see this crash coming and left skid marks well before impact, but we are limited by the amount of tire contact on the road surface.

                        I agree there are a lot of safety shortcomings in an A compared to modern standards, but I feel the one major safety improvement I can make without affecting the overall enjoyment of the original design is to install and use seat belts.

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                        • Jim Baskin III
                          Jim Baskin III commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Holy crap Denny, My heart would have sunk to my feet.Glad it wasn't more serious and was repairable.

                      • #16
                        I have seat belts in my roadster and CCPU. Mine are attached to the frame using a channel iron cross member. Quite frankly, defensive driving is no longer the answer to some gal in an SUV texting. The addition of LED stop lights helps.

                        Comment


                        • Apple Green Wheels Rule
                          Apple Green Wheels Rule commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Anytime a see a babe looking at her knees while driving, I let her have the road.

                      • #17
                        Years ago on another Model A Forum, someone reported his rather "medium-to-mild" accident where he got hit more on one side, (as opposed to front or rear end collision), where his Model A passenger, (wife's), side door flew open upon impact.

                        His wife fell out of his Model A and upon hitting the ground below broke her back and was paralyzed for life.

                        He reported that many others concluded that if he had installed only lap belts, she would have stayed in the ModelA and only suffered bruises.

                        In his case, his opinion was that any type of body retention in a Model A can be helpful to keep drivers and passengers inside the Model A.

                        Not long ago we experienced the introduction of cellphones and driver texting supposedly adding to an increased lack of driver awareness ........ now we may have more drivers considering another driver awareness factor with taking advantage of smoking 2018 Legal Pot.

                        Defensive driving is no doubt the No. 1 Model A safe driving factor.

                        However, if we add today's 2018 Ilegal-Texting-Legal-Pot-Smoker-Factors, appears this could statistically mean not a bad idea to be looking both ways, at least "twice", prior to going through a green light, and doubling up on our No.1 defensive safe driving factor.
                        Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 01-08-2018, 02:48 PM. Reason: Not proof reading.

                        Comment


                        • #18
                          That's it,I'm buying a Prius

                          Comment


                          • BNCHIEF
                            BNCHIEF commented
                            Editing a comment
                            How will you protect yourself from a lithium battery explosion

                          • CM2
                            CM2 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            That's it,I'm buying a bicycle

                          • BNCHIEF
                            BNCHIEF commented
                            Editing a comment
                            There is only one way to know if your helmet is good kinda like seatbelts and then your out of luck.

                        • #19
                          I use them in all my cars. who knows if they will save us but I feel better wearing them.

                          Comment


                          • #20
                            One of our guys rolled a loaded tanker went down in a ditch rolled a complete 360 the whole seat came out of the floorboard and he and it went thru the windshield unbuckled his self and stood up bruised and sore why he was not dead is way beyond me.

                            Comment


                            • #21
                              NEVER have not had them in a model a, What they will do is keep you the vehicle when you get in accident and the doors fly open. I think the point should read "Who does NOT use safety belts". If you have and use your model a as a daily driver like I do then there is no reason at all not to have them and NO as i said before you won't get a ticket for not using them. They are NOT required in an antique vehicle therefore no ticket..

                              Comment


                              • BNCHIEF
                                BNCHIEF commented
                                Editing a comment
                                IMO they are better than nothing, kinda like a motorcycle helmet nothing can guarantee you you will not be killed in a crash in any vehicle, like Dale Earnhardt at daytona that did not look like a bad crash at the time but I am with mark on keeping you in the car I know only too well about road rash.

                            • #22
                              Originally posted by Mark Maron View Post
                              That is FALSE... You cannot be ticketed for NOT using seatbelt in an antique vehicle..
                              Better check on that because in my state and I'd guess, most others, if you installed seat belts or more lights, then they must be operational and used. Someone installed clearance and extra taillights on my 1949 Chevy 1 1/2 ton truck. I was pulled over and given a fix it ticket because all the clearance lights weren't lit up, so I removed all the lights except the original single taillight.

                              Comment


                              • Denis4x4
                                Denis4x4 commented
                                Editing a comment
                                One of my A’s has a bonded title in Colorado and the only equipment requirements were lights, horn and parking brake. In other words, if it isn’t required, not using it would not be illegal. Therefore as it has Colorado plates and MN has no say!

                            • #23
                              Originally posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post

                              Better check on that because in my state and I'd guess, most others, if you installed seat belts or more lights, then they must be operational and used. Someone installed clearance and extra taillights on my 1949 Chevy 1 1/2 ton truck. I was pulled over and given a fix it ticket because all the clearance lights weren't lit up, so I removed all the lights except the original single taillight.
                              Here in PA for State Inspection all lights that are on the vehicle need to be operational. Factory or Owner Installed.
                              They must also meet the proper requirements
                              3 ~ Tudor's
                              Henry Ford said
                              "It's all nuts and bolts"


                              Mitch's Auto Service ctr

                              Comment


                              • CM2
                                CM2 commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Cant tell you the number of vehicles I see on the road everyday in CA that wouldn't pass a state inspection,from broken windows to bald tires.IMO that should be a federal inspection,all cars should be subject to it.

                            • #24
                              Originally posted by Denis4x4 View Post
                              One of my A’s has a bonded title in Colorado and the only equipment requirements were lights, horn and parking brake. In other words, if it isn’t required, not using it would not be illegal. Therefore as it has Colorado plates and MN has no say!
                              I guess it's a bit like motorcycle helmets. Minnesota doesn't require them, but some other states do, so you better have one on if you run cross country.

                              Comment


                              • #25
                                Gotta be a screaming liability factor in welding your own seat belt mounts in a customers car...as your online interweb lawyer I advise against it,even with written instructions signed by the customer..

                                Comment

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