I finally got around to installing three point front seat belts in my daily driven 1968 Mustang coupe. If you’ve been following along, a while back I updated the rear belts so my kids could ride safely in the car. I sourced front belts from Seat Belts Plus to match the rears.
Installation of three point belts in the front of a 1964-1973 Mustang is slightly more complicated than the rears due to the upper anchor position. There is no upper anchor in the early cars, and though the later cars could be optioned with three point front belts the anchor is generally hidden under the headliner and may or may not be threaded and easily accessible. Rather than risk damaging my headliner, and potentially the paint and sheet metal on the car’s roof, I opted to follow the procedure for anchoring three point belts in a convertible.
My seat belt kit came with decent instructions and all of the hardware required for installation, including extra hardware for alternate install options. I began by removing the stock lap belts and test fitting the new parts to ensure the belts were an acceptable length and there were no obvious incompatibilities. The front seats were removed for my installation, though that isn’t necessary.
Next, I bolted in the short belt on the console side and loosely threaded in the bolt securing the retractor on the rocker panel side in the factory lap belt anchors. The kit includes new bolts, but I opted to use the original hardware. Take care here to ensure the belt is not twisted and the steel end bracket at the opposite end of the belt is secured under the same retractor bolt.
Now it’s time to install the bolt plate that will become the upper anchor. This part is a little stressful because it requires drilling three holes in the body of the car. There’s not much room for error. I made a simple cardboard template to help accurately mark the position for the holes prior to drilling them. Once the holes are drilled, test fit the bolt plate prior to riveting it in place to ensure it does not interfere with anything, and that the door will close properly. In my case I had to round the corners and knock down the outside edge a bit with a grinder. Once you’re satisfied with the fit you can rivet the plate in and bolt the upper point of the belt in place with the supplied lock nut.
Now sit in the seat, adjust the position of the retractor and console side belt, if necessary, and tighten everything up. That’s it for a basic installation.
I took the safety aspect of this up another level with the installation of ProCar bucket seats with headrests. The original low back bucket seats look cool, but there’s a reason late model vehicle seats have headrests. Headrests keep your head from snapping back in the event of a collision, preventing neck and spinal injuries. I also added a pair of seat belt retainers out of a junkyard Pontiac Grand Am to hold the belts in place, and look more like a factory installation. The retainers required new holes to be drilled to match the post spacing on the ProCar headrests, but otherwise just slide on. Just a few hours of work resulted in a safer, more comfortable classic cruiser.
If this article was helpful to you, please let us know in the comments below. Happy (and safe) cruising!