August 2015

1966 F100 Seat and 3-point Belts

The original seat and belt were in a sorry state

The original seat and belt were in a sorry state

When I first purchased the 1966 F100, David called it the “Meatrocket” owing to the fact that it had a set of 50 year old nonfunctional lap belts, and in a frontal collision the driver would rocket through the windshield like a piece of meat. A 3-point seatbelt retrofit would be just the ticket to increase the safety margin with the stock 4-wheel drum brakes. Due to the sad state of the original bench seat, I also decided a seat upgrade was in order. As an added bonus, choosing a seat with head rests improves the occupant safety in case the truck is rear-ended.

Research on Google indicated that by swapping the seat tracks, I could use any seat up to the 1996 F150. I tracked down a color matched vinyl bench with integrated head rests out of the 1992-1996 generation F150, a $75 Craiglist score.

The seat belts were another matter. I located a site that builds custom seat belts and supplies the necessary retrofit hardware, and purchased a set of retracting 3-point belts with period appearing latch buckles.

Installing the seat was a relatively straightforward process, involving plenty of liquid wrench and colorful language to remove the old seat. Next, the seat tracks are unbolted from both seats, and since the track width is the same, the original track bolts right up to the later model seat. Finally, the new seat on original track bolts straight back into the truck.

The finished seat and belt upgrade.

The finished seat and belt upgrade.

The seat belt retrofit required a bit more work. The bottom mount points are already in the truck, but the shoulder mount doesn’t exist. Luckily the inner cab corners are ribbed for extra strength, and serve as a great location to attach the shoulder mount using these retrofit brackets. Each inner cab corner is drilled out, being careful not to dent the outer sheet metal when the drill breaks through, and the brackets can be riveted in place before the shoulder mounts are bolted up. In order to avoid drilling extra holes in my truck, I chose to skip the rivets and simply hold the brackets in place from behind while bolting the seat belt in place.

Mounting the latches in the existing inner bolt locations and the retractors in the outer mount locations completes the seat belt installation, and the finished product is satisfactory indeed.

These two upgrades improve the looks inside the cab, as well as the safety. Now, with luck, my head won’t be going through either window in the event of a crash.

A recent 1966 Ford F100 find

When browsing craiglist for cars recently, a favorite pastime, I came across a truck I knew a friend of mine would love.

A 1966 Ford F100 that claims to be in amazing shape and with an almost unbelievable 60,000 original miles. The truck looks intriguing from the photos and after a quick followup with the owner, Rob and I are heading off to checkout the truck this evening. With any luck the truck will be what it claims and we may have some more content to share around the new truck.

Update: Seeing value in the solid body and bulletproof inline six, Rob purchased the truck with plans for incremental upgrades in the future.

Interested in learning more about the Ford F100s? Check out the F100 Super Nationals:
nteresting buyers guide from

2016 Mazda Miata MX-5

Introducing the 2016 Mazda Miata MX-5.

From the Mazda Press Release:

“Lighter, smaller, quicker and more nimble than its predecessor, MX-5 has adopted Mazda’s full suite of SKYACTIV Technology and KODO—Soul of Motion design. In the process, MX-5 has shed approximately 150 pounds from its predecessor, with a curb weight of 2,332 lbs. when equipped with SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission (2,381 lbs. with the six-speed automatic transmission).

After 26 years and more than 950,000 Mazda MX-5 Miatas sold globally, the 2016 MX-5 has circled back to what made the world fall in love with it in the first place. When the first-generation MX-5 Miata made its world debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, it ushered in a new era of the roadster: fun and affordable, yet with the added benefit of Japanese reliability. And, predictably, its popularity skyrocketed. MX-5s have become daily drivers, weekend toys and championship-winning race cars, alike. Lightweight, nimble and fun to drive, the fourth-generation MX-5 draws inspiration from MX-5s that came before it, pairing the driver as one with the car – in Japanese, it’s loosely translated as “Jinba Ittai.” But it also carves a path that is thoroughly modern and uncharted for Mazda’s flagship roadster. While the purity philosophy behind MX-5 has remained through the years, the 2016 MX-5 has had to adapt, gaining SKYACTIV Technology to make it faster and more efficient and KODO—Soul of Motion design for its striking looks. It is no wonder, then, that MX-5 continues to exist as a class of one, as competitors have come and gone through the years, and it sets the pace for the entire Mazda brand as spirited dynamics and innovation abound throughout the lineup. There has never been a more convincing lineup of cars and SUVs at Mazda than is available today, and every one of them displays a little piece of MX-5 in their value, dynamics and passion.”