Fitting Seat Belts

Although not generally a legal requirement in cars as old as the Magnette, seat belts are very much part of modern driving and can be fitted for the front seats of the car without too much work.

Inertia reel belts can be fitted neatly with the units mounted on the floor at the base of the B-post. The mounting also includes the return end of the belt so only one hole needs to be drilled. You will find on later cars that the jacking point is below the B post so some compromise is needed in positioning the inertia reel. For reasons of appearance as well as safe operation, the belt should run upwards from the reel as close to the vertical as possible.

It is the shoulder-height mounting that involves most work because the car has no threaded hole as standard. The inner trim needs to be removed from the post. A suitable threaded plate can be obtained from belt suppliers and is welded on the inside of the post. The position needs to allow the belt to pass upwards over the shoulder without catching against the neck. Obviously the weld has to be very secure so it is best left to a specialist. A corresponding hole needs to be cut in the trim and a spacer bush inserted so that the belt loop can be mounted without crushing the trim.

The most suitable type of belt has a stiff but flexible stalk to hold the fixed end of the safety catch. This mounts easily on to the gearbox tunnel. It has been found that to obtain the best, most accessible angle each stalk is mounted on the opposite side of the tunnel about 2” - 3” behind the seat. Be careful to fit it so that the seat can be fully adjusted backwards without fouling, but also forwards without leaving the catch inaccessible behind. All mounting points through the body need reinforcing plates to reduce the risk of pull-through in an accident. Underneath the floor, make sure any penetration of undersealing is made good and it is best to paint some in the hole too, so it does not become a corrosion weak-spot.

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