I know what you're thinking: "Oh, wow...a seatbelt story...yay," which is just about as exciting as watching peat moss dry.
Several years ago when I was still a newlywed, I built up a '59 Buick leadsled, and deliberately didn't put seatbelts in the car. You might wonder why. Rest assured, I did so for a selfish reason-I didn't want my wife to drive my beloved car, and I knew she wouldn't drive it without belts installed. My silly way of rationalizing went something like "Well it's not a race car, it's a cruiser. It does not need seatbelts." I confess, once we had kids, my entire outlook on seatbelts, safety, and bringing the family to car shows has changed, which brings us to this project.
So here we are looking into a worn-out '68 Bel Air wagon. Back in the pre-SUV days, wagons ruled the road; this one will soon see the blacktop once again, too. After a check-up on its mechanical reliability, it was established that the wagon could run around town and get the groceries with no problems. It was time, however, to take care of that nagging seatbelt situation.
How many of you have been seated in a vehicle with a three-point belt system and had the shoulder belt come across your neck or ear? I know I have, and in the back of my mind I've thought "If we have an emergency stop, will I get strangled or have my head cut off?" Needless to say, those thoughts were quickly dismissed, and away we'd go. To put my overactive mind at ease, we turned to Morris Classic Concepts. The folks at Morris have a great three-point retractable belt system that, in our opinion, is a step above the rest. Morris Classic Concepts makes direct bolt-in retractable three-point belts for Camaros, Novas, Chevelles, and Firebirds from '67-'73.
We called MCC and told them that our plan was to fit these belts into a '68 Bel Air wagon, and that we thought the belts from a Chevelle of the same year would most likely fit with no problem. Truthfully, I had my fingers crossed hoping that GM made all their bench seats the same length. It turned out that the Chevelle belts did fit perfectly. Even better, it took about half an hour to bolt in all of them.
The folks at MCC also told us that if we wanted, we could just call up National Parts Depot and order the very same belts. So that's just what we did. If you've got an Impala, Bel Air, or Biscayne wagon, give National Parts Depot a call; check their Web site for a location near you: www.npdlink.com.