I am in the process of building seats for my speedster, and I searched on the Forum for information. What I found mostly was useless and consisted of: "Here's a picture of what I did." No details or plans included.
I have pair of Rootlieb seats that I have started on. Here are a couple of pictures:
The trouble with these seats is that they are a pretty flimsy seat for a hell of a lot of work!
They have been criticized on here before, and it was mentioned that they require bracing for support. They are NOT adjustable in any way.
I was just not happy with the way this was going, and I vowed to look for a better solution.
A little thought will lead you to the conclusion that there must be THOUSANDS of commercially made bucket seats out there. Why not look for what is available??
I did that and here is the solution that I came up with. Websites like JEGS and SUMMITRACING.COM and others have a huge selection of bucket seats most of which are already upholstered in a variety of colors. They are adjustable and come with sliders for forward and backward adjustment and upright back rest angle.
This being the case, why in the world should I continue with the Rootlieb seat project? I think the answer is obvious: I should get a commercially made seat and get on with my life!
Would anyone like my partially finished Rootlieb seats (Free!)?
Here is the seat that I came up with after a good bit of searching:
I chose the yellow ones because they match my car (see pictures above). But you can get a variety of colors.
You can spend a lot more or a lot less, there is a large selection out there.
The cost of Rootlieb seats is: Seat Riser $155 +Seat Skins w/ wood base $260 = $415 NOT including shipping and upholstering and painting and your time.
The total cost of the seats from Summit Racing above is $419.38. That includes shipping and of course they are already upholstered and are adjustable.
Anyway, to each his own! I just thought this topic could use some common sense input.
Just my opinion for what it is worth.
I hope this is helpful to some of you!
Jon - Interesting thread! To me, the $$$ aspect of the thing sure makes sense, but the seat pictured on the website link you provided just looks much too modern for a "T" speedster. Seems like I've seen some pretty nice looking "period" speedster seats in old photos that were made out of steel oil drums. A bit more period "speedster-ish". There must be a sensible solution, or, as you say, "common sense" solution but I sure don't know what it is. Only thing I can think of is adaptation of some sort of "period" touring car seats,....not necessarily Ford. But then that probably wouldn't be individual bucket type seats either. (???)
I would be more than happy to take those seats off your hands for the cost of shipping of course. You can go on ebay and look up 'Stitch Bitch'. She makes some nice seats at a decent price. Or go find a store that sells bar stools and just use the seat portion.
Speedway Motors in Lincoln Nebraska might also be a good place to look
Jon, I think with your skills you could trace out a pattern for a wood support that would start on the outside of one seat and wrap around both and finish on the other side. Make a lower one and an upper one and maybe a panel with a door in it to brace everything and give you some storage also. Lots of ways to make a support with the Rootlieb seats and they would look much better. Scott
I made these seats from 18 gauge steel,made a template out of card board to mock up compete body including seats. Put a one inch 90 degree edge at bottom of seat. You now have a flat piece of steel with a one inch lip. Starting in the center of the seat use your sheet metal Shrinker and working outwards from center keep shrinking until you get the desired curve you want. As you can see in the picture I used plywood for the base of the seat and at the front used one inch by an eighth metal to support the front sides also welded to the top edge of this three eighths round stock so when you are sitting in the seats you can put both hands on the front edge to lift yourself up to reposition your butt to a more comfortable position. The black plastic on the upper seat edge is door edge protector ,this protects the leather seat skin from getting cut.lastly seat will not move back or front but the rake of the seat is built into your wood platform, I see yours is horizontal, should be lower at the rear mine is about three inches. Hope this helps. Peter
Trying to size pictures
Harold - Yes, there are so many bucket seats available out there that you don't have to go with a modern-looking seat. There are some very plain (bare metal) racing bucket seats available (mostly aluminum) that could be upholstered to look good.
Those seats at Summit Racing in my post do look too "modern", but they will be adjustable, have seat belts and be easy to install. My speedster isn't very correct anyway, with rear disc hydraulic brakes and an all brass gas tank (see picture above)!
Perhaps you have seen these. There are some nice seats and some good information.
What Mr. Allen did NOT tell you was that he called me and asked me how to assemble the seats. I spent the better part of an hour with him on the steps to build a bullet proof seat. And talk on the phone, he loves to do. He completed the first step. A 10-15 min. job per seat at best and that was to much work for him. The simple fact is they are beyond his skill range and he should have realized that to begin with. But to waste my time and then trash talk us is an insult to me and my company.
Even before I got to the bottom of this thread, I was planning to make a couple comments.
Number one. For me? I am an antique car guy, and what I want is something that if not original, at least looks original. No intention of offending anyone. To each, his own. Many people are building speedsters in the context of what they have been for well over a hundred years now (I often call it the longest continuously running automotive hobby). They do their own thing with the perfect DIY platform, a model T.
Number two. Rootlieb's seats are very good copies of one of the original seats offered by one of the larger after-market speedster parts and kits suppliers. I have seen hundreds of Rootlieb's copies, and several of the original ones. They look very good, and work very well (if properly installed).
From my point of view, Rootlieb's seats are fine.
But, please, let us not start a bashing contest over this!
Jon Allen should do his car, his way, and enjoy it. It won't be the first T speedster I have seen with such seats.
I even remember a speedster that had a steel framed '50s kitchen chair clamped over the gasoline tank. That fellow had great fun with that car for years! And eventually he built a few nice speedsters also.
Personally I have yet to find a seat on the market that has a shape that I "like" most all are too high in the back and too low on the sides. Just my opinion regarding Tom's seats (my Mom still speaks highly of touring with your family in the past) are that the Model A speedster seats would make the T speedster kit look even better. On my speedster when I actually get to work on it again (delayed due to extensive hurricane damage) I am building my own skins.
Tom I got your seat skins, reinforced them with wood along the edge. The work great and look the same. I think they are the best for period style I was looking for. Sam
Antique motor sports Bill Bohen i know i miss spelled his name make great seat
When I was making speedster bodies years ago I made them with wood frames. What a pain it was!
My speedster was constructed in the early 80's using one of your kits. As you can see, the seats have held up very well, due in large part to the construction using a wooden framework.
Those are (and that car is) gorgeous!
Thanks for sharing!