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Vorshlag Seat Mounting Brackets

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  • Vorshlag Seat Mounting Brackets

    We have talked about the positive benefits as well as mounting challenges for installing fixed back racing seats in this forum post. I won't re-hash that again here, just know that installing a racing seat into a street or race car is can be a LOT of work, and we see more of these installed wrong than we do right.

    Installing Sparco racing seats into this Audi R8 - without cutting into the carbon fiber tub - was tricky!

    One of the ugly secrets of the automotive aftermarket is how much work installing a seat can be. When we do a custom seat install it can gobble up at least 3 hours per side, and often up to 8 hours, to do it right. There can be challenges with the shape of the floor, material of the floor, narrow confines of certain cabins, and extreme height constraints.

    Add in the challenges of putting "wide winged" racing seats into a car that still has interior door panels, door glass, and a headliner and it becomes damned near impossible to "buy something" pre-made to help a DIY racer get their new racing seat mounted safely into the car, and placed where his or her body fits properly.

    We have used every major seat bracket supplier over the years and had results that ranged from "fairly poor" to "unbelievably dangerous". Normally we just ask a customer to not bring us this off the shelf garbage and make something from scratch.

    We tried to modify these bracket kits, among others. It is usually easier to start over from scratch

    Now not everyone can bring their car to us or another qualified fab shop for a seat install - although that is always preferred. Shops like our's that have installed 100s of racing seats and that compete in various racing groups know not only the technical standards required, but the engineering reasons and fabrication methods that work in the field. There are other shops that are as meticulous and experienced as we are, of course, but we've seen some "shop installs" of seats that would curl your hair.

    When you absolutely have to do a seat install yourself, the options out there can be pretty sketchy. We show in some videos in this forum thread how much slop that can exist with off the shelf brackets. Of course a slider will always allow some movement, but a fixed mounted seat should not have ANY flex. You should be able to grab the top of the fixed back racing seat, shake it, and move the CAR on the suspension. Any movement relative to the chassis is BAD. That will translate to a "sloppy" driver-to-car interface, ruining the main driver benefit of a racing seat + harnesses.

    I always said I would never "get into the seat bracket business" because the price points can be pretty low for some offerings. But after seeing SO MANY of these clunky mounts, we threw our hat into the ring and made our first foray into this market in 2014. This was our S197 Mustang (2004-2014) bolt-in seat bracket, which allowed the user to use ONE seat and ONE set of side brackets and ONE slider. It was made with 1x2" rectangular tubing, some plate, a number of threaded inserts, and a LOT of TIG welding. It was rigid and it worked.

    Well, not only was that too design (above) restrictive on what seat/side brackets/sliders would work with it in that S197 chassis, it took us over 3 hours to fabricate this bracket assembly. These tubular parts had to be manually cut, rehaped, and welded. Once all of the shaping, cutting and drilling were done it had to be TIG welded together using production welding fixtures. We sold this bracket for less than half of what our fabrication shop rate at the time, not even including materials or powder coating. We priced it that low "to be competitive" with other low end bracket kits. I would have been better off putting $200 in a box and sending that to people instead of selling these complicated brackets at that price. The numbers just didn't work with this fabricated part's labor intensive method of construction.

    In 2018 we bought a CNC plasma table, to join our CNC Mill and CNC Lathe purchased in 2014. This plasma table is a computer controlled cutting machine that slices flat plate and sheet metal with high precision, and we have been designing new parts using this tool where it makes sense. A proper seat bracket is one such place.

    In 2016 we made this seat bracket for an Audi R8, which included Sparco seats, OMP side brackets, and Cobra sliders on both sides. This design was made in-house and cut on a CNC plasma machine owned by one of my then employees.

    This design turned out SO beautifully that I decided then and there I needed a CNC plasma machine in-house. We literally moved to another building to be able to have the room for this and some other new production equipment.

    Well the Audi R8 racing seat bracket market is pretty darned small, and while we might make this design for production again someday, the reality is we are moving into a more typical car market for our customers: the S197 and S550 Mustangs.

    We own the 2018 Mustang GT above and we use it for prototype work on S550 products, including the seat bracket. This bracket bolts into the chassis at the factory reinforced seat mounting holes, and gives a rigid platform to bolt your racing seat to - either with side brackets directly (fixed) or with sliders (for fore-aft adjustment). Our brackets include mounting holes for racing lap belts as well as 2-3 sets of locations for 2 anti-submarine belts.

    Recently a customer/tester of ours lent us his 2007 Mustang GT to develop the S197 seat bracket design with, shown above. I will show both of these prototype installations and production images below, with each post dedicated to the car model we are covering.

    Thanks for reading,
    Last edited by Fair!; 03-02-2019, 05:48 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev