The bench seat was a symbol of the classic American automobile era. Then they disappeared for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are critical and some are just matters of preference. Let’s say you want them back. So, can you put a bench seat in any car?
Well, the bench seat was inspired by the horse-drawn carriage seats. They were pretty comfortable and provided extra space for another passenger. And then they disappeared because of European sports car influence and safety reasons.
If you want to put a bench seat in your car, then you will have to consider the design of the car. Bench seat means the center console cannot be there just like that and some safety measurements have to say goodbye. Is it possible? Let’s discuss.
Is It Possible To Put A Bench Seat In Any Car?
The answer is not as clear-cut as you would like. And it mostly depends on your enthusiasm level. How much do you want a bench seat in your car and how far are you willing to go for this? To get an idea on this matter we will have to go deep into the discussion on why bench seats disappeared.
Post-war American soldiers were heavily influenced by the bucket seats on the European cars. They gave a sports car feeling and were symbols of speed. And then came the issue of passive safety measures. To fit the airbags and other instruments for safety, bucket seats were better than bench seats.
And another issue was the gear control shifted from under the steering wheel to the center of the front portion. And bench seats were not a good choice anymore. Again, for the middle part of the bench designers couldn’t manage to put any good safety measures like airbags or anything else.
So, everything boils down to these factors,
The Design Of The Car
If you have a car that was designed to be a front bench seat car or resembles the design then it’s easy to achieve your goal. Just get rid of the older ones and put new bench seats of your choice. And for that, a great option is used cars with front bench seats.
Or if you have a very advanced car that has completely got rid of the center panel for switch control, it’s good to go. As you have no hindrance in the middle you can change the bucket seats for the bench seat you want.
It is the most important factor here. If your car doesn’t have the features a front bench seat car should have then it’s a tough call. You will have to make some big changes to the front side of your car. You will have to get rid of the safety systems installed with the bucket seats and take care of the center panel.
How To Put A Bench Seat In Your Car?
Let’s see how you can put a bench seat in the car.
Take Care Of The Center Panel
- You can try to cover the whole thing up with a modified panel that will allow you to install your bench seat.
- And also, you can go for split bench seats that will make it easier to adjust the center panel.
Get Rid Of The Bucket Seats.
- Then obviously you have to let the bucket seats go.
- Unbolt them from every side and detach them from the car.
Install The Bench Seat
- You can design it particularly for your car from an upholstery shop.
- Make a steel frame with the necessary holes to attach the seat.
- Not drill holes on the car where the seat will be exactly aligned with the holes in the frame.
- Use nuts and bolts to join the seat with the car using the frame. It’s done.
Here are some commonly asked questions.
Do any cars still have bench seats?
Yes, they do. Mainly some trucks and SUVs still have the bench seat installed in them. Some models are Ford F 150, GMC Sierra, GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban to name a few.
Can you add seats to a car?
No problem with that. You can add new seats to a car, get rid of the older ones and install seatbelts on them. Organizations like NHTSA have done their testing and said it’s safe.
When did they stop making bench seats in cars?
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, almost all the car manufacturers one by one decided to get rid of the bench seats in their cars. Chrysler stopped that in 2004 followed by Ford in 2011. They said the public no more wanted this.
Why Front Bench Seats Went Away?
Among the reasons, the most important ones are European influence and safety issues. Post-war America wanted sporty cars like the Europeans. And then safety measures like airbags made the existence of the bench seats quite hard until they completely disappeared.
So, can you put a bench seat in any car? The answer is yes if you are willing to go all the way making all the modifications needed. But in general, it is not practical to put bench seats in a car that is not designed to be a front bench seat car.
With all the advancements of car technologies, more and more cars are getting rid of the center panel. So, it is becoming much easier to bring back the bench seats. But the issue of safety still remains a problem. And you must consider this before you install a bench seat in your car.