Roll Bars and Seat Belts

For your car safety, you need working seat belts and throw in a roll bar if you've chopped the top as the old cars just weren't made for putting the rubber side up! In all seriousness, old rides are not safe in an accident. Anything that you can do to increase your chance of surviving an accident is a good thing!

2009 Chevrolet Malibu versus 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air Crash Test

For my ride, I added shoulder belts for the front seats and lap belts for the rear seats. I used a set of seat belts from an extended cab Chevrolet pickup. The roofs on the old cars and the B pillar are not strong enough to support a shoulder belt mounting point. I installed a 4 point roll bar specifically to anchor the shoulder belt.

The seat belts are bolted to the floor with grade 8 bolts and the largest 2" dia washers that I could find. I want the load to be spread over the floor. No bolts are going to be pulled through the floor.

The roll bar is 2" dia heavy wall tubing. It is welded to a plate that is bolted to the floor. The 4 bolts have large washers to spread the load. A real roll bar would be bolted or welded to the frame.

I used 1" dia heavy wall tubing that is bolted to the rear wheel well to support the roll bar. You can see the rear retractable lap belts.

This is a close-up of the driver's side mounting of the rear seat belt and the roll bar support to the wheel well.

This roll cage is not certifiable in any sense of the imagination for racing. The roll bar is just to anchor the shoulder belt and for show. The roll bar is wrapped in a soft foam to protect the passengers and me from hurting our heads when we enter and exit. Since these pictures were taken, the roll bar was painted black and I've wrapped it with a dark blue duct tape.

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Copyright February 2012 Eugene Blanchard