Re-purposing seats Part 2

I want to sit as low as possible in the car because it looks better and the aluminium seats had a design flaw – the seat base was completely flat and with the car being so narrow, the seats had to be raised up around 100mm to clear the central transmission tunnel, add in the seat cushion and the seat was now around 150mm off the floor. That is fine by itself but it meant the passengers ‘looked’ like they were sat on the car rather than ‘in the car’.

The original Falcon seat base was slightly bowl shaped – so I theorised that with the seats now cut in half, I could enhance that bowl shape and push the seat base down towards the floor even further, knowing full well that this being a bowl temporarily held in shape by pressure alone would make the welding even harder. It did take a while but the seat base accepted its new shape is around 3mm off the floor – I then patiently welded it all back together. This was an overlap weld and as envisaged, it was impossible to produce a weld of any length because the thin metal could not take the heat and melted through producing holes. So I had to revert to what I call blob-welding – creating a small blob of weld then let the metal cool – repeat. Time consuming and my Mig Welder didn’t like doing that. I will admit it was not as pretty as a normal weld *but* it did weld back together and is perfectly strong enough for the purpose. I then ground the welds back more for vanity reasons than any other purpose and gave the who seat a coat of anti rust primer.

Below you can see the first seat loosely in place because I still had to work out how to solidly bolt the passenger seat to the floor and to have seat runners for the driver. You will notice how much the seat overlaps the transmission tunnel.

Basically I had to create a seat support that would bolt to the floor and be cantilevered up and over the transmission tunnel to bolt onto the actual seat frame. My chosen solution was to cut a series of strips of 15mm thick marine plywood, then shape each one to fit the contours of the seat bowl until the seat gained sufficient clearance. There is an awful lot of wood dust in my garage now. Each of the strips of plywood were clamped and glued together to create a single ‘block’ of wood. It was then bolted to the seat and the seat runner fitted. With my theory proven, I mirrored the solution on the passenger seat but instead of having adjustable runners, I fabricated some steal mounts into the wooden support and bolted the seat directly to the floor.

That will do nicely – once trimmed they will certainly look the part

I am custodian of a set of seat covers from a 1930’s Riley saloon car and like the original seats they are much too big for the modified frame being at least 100mm too wide but the seat base cushion roughly fits the seat and with the vertical covers in place, I can at least still drive the car. Yes, the leather covers are way too big, they are filthy, the leather is dried out and looks rather scruffy – but as an interim solution they are certainly ‘old car’ seats.
When I can afford it, once trimmed the seats will look similar to this but very much tidier

As a foot note: Rather interestingly – the original Riley seats didn’t have foam inside them – they had a rubber air-bladder which you could inflate to make the seat as soft or hard as you wanted. One of my seats still had that bladder but sadly the rubber hasn’t aged well and it is falling apart. . I very much doubt it is of any use to anyone but I will reach out to other Riley owners.
Here is a picture for posterity

As hoped, I definitley sit much lower in the car now – my eye line is below the tiny aero screens so I now look through the glass rather than over it which may possibly means it is a little less windy to drive.

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