Bench to bucket conversion - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 11th, 19, 7:20 PM Thread Starter
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Don
 
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Bench to bucket conversion

I've had my 65 El Camino for about a year and I really do not like the bench seat. It may be that it was just over-stuffed at some point but I really can't get a good seating position.

I occasionally see seats on Ebay. There is a pair on there now that came from a 65 GTO and priced at close to $800.

My questions are:

Do you think I will be happier with Buckets? My first new car was a 65 Malibu SS, and I don't remember having trouble getting a comfortable driving position. But that was 54 years ago.

Is $800 a reasonable price for a set that will need a lot of restoration? I'm assuming that I could spend another $500 or more to restore them.

What modification are need to the floor to convert from bench to bucket?

Thanks,

Don

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 11th, 19, 7:40 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

You will most likely spend more than $500 on the restoration. New seat covers, possibly new foam unless it is in great shape, new burlap, new paper coated listing wires, muslin, cotton batting, hog rings, blast seat frames, prime and paint seat frames and seat tracks.


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 11th, 19, 8:20 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Maybe find a car with similar buckets and try it on. Bucket seat cores are not inexpensive, so the price on eBay is pretty close. There are bucket seat brackets available from several suppliers. Some are better than others. The brackets weld to the floor.

Good: https://www.ss396.com/chevelle/IBX-6...elle&year=1965

Not so good: https://www.ss396.com/chevelle/ICC-0...elle&year=1965

You might want to check out the assembled, complete reproduction seat that are available. After buying used seat, shipping, reconstruction, etc. the reproductions could actually be less expensive.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 19, 8:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

I'm not opposed to a reproduction seat, but I would like it to be as close to original as possible. Are there any that are very similar to original? I've searched but not found anything that I think is close to original.

From what you guys say, $800 for the ebay set that needs complete restoration may be a little high. I think I will pass on them and keep looking.

I will do much or all of the restoration myself. Just depends on whether I can find good set of instruction on doing the covers.

Thanks,
Don

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 19, 10:27 AM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

What ever you do spend a little more and buy carefully or you will end up dropping a lot of additional $ to restore. Spend more today to keep the overall cost down. I see many in the $450 range. These look like a nice set. I also changed my 68 Chevelle to buckets but ended up replacing a lot of parts. Springs are cheap today and well done but! You are probably bothered more by the angle leaning back that the older seats provided not to mention we are all used to 10 position seats. Personally I like buckets and would make the change but the older seats are not bolstered much and do not offer the support or adjustability like today's. Seat brackets and sliders are also important so get the correct ones not just universal ones.

https://www.ebay.com/i/254173684923?...3D254173684923
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 19, 12:27 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

I have no idea on quality, but TMI offers an assembled sport seat that looks very similar and has more adjustability and extra bolstering. I was going to get them before I got the stock seats I have. A pair is around $800 when they are on sale.

No car yet; currently looking for 66-69 project/driver.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 19, 9:21 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

For my $0.02, I wasnít concerned about looking original. I put a set of Corbeau buckets in my Ď68 and am very happy with the extra side support and with real headrests. Low-back seats just scare me any more. Iíve already got a nice Ti plate and a dozen screws holding my head on. I donít want any more.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 19, 10:29 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

What I always thought would be perfect for an ElCamino was a Stratobench. Don't know if one will fit in a 65 though. If it will you could probably have a custom cover made in 65 pattern. If you don't know what a Stratobench is it is a bench seat with buckets built in and a foldable armrest in the middle. Guess one could be made to fit by cutting the frame down seeing as how custom cover would have to be made anyway. Saw one recently on CL for $250.00
Also there is a sticky in this forum for bench to bucket conversion.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 19, 2:41 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by blm View Post
What I always thought would be perfect for an ElCamino was a Stratobench. Don't know if one will fit in a 65 though. If it will you could probably have a custom cover made in 65 pattern. If you don't know what a Stratobench is it is a bench seat with buckets built in and a foldable armrest in the middle. Guess one could be made to fit by cutting the frame down seeing as how custom cover would have to be made anyway. Saw one recently on CL for $250.00
Also there is a sticky in this forum for bench to bucket conversion.
I also like the idea of a Strato-Bench... BUT...

The "Strato" style seats first appeared in 1966 model year. They will not look correct in a 64/65, Of course, they still could look reasonable.

Not sure, but all the Strato Bench seats I have seen were 1969 and later (based on the release button.).

IIRC, these will fit in a Chevelle/El Camino, or maybe thats just the Pontiac Grand Prix versions... I think the Olds Toronado (front wheel drive) version may not clear the trans tunnel.


As for "correct" seats, if you want to use correct seat upholstery, do some research. GTO/Lemans, etc should work, but beware, I think Corvair are similar looking, but the covers are a different size (meaning repro Chevelle covers won't fit)...


Buckets have gone up in price, and there are regional differences, but IMO $800 for a set that needs full resto AND shipping is WAY too high... Usually 66-72 seats are a little higher priced compared to 64/65, and even those aren't worth that $800 eBay price...

Once you go RAT, you never go back...
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 19, 2:57 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I've had my 65 El Camino for about a year and I really do not like the bench seat. It may be that it was just over-stuffed at some point but I really can't get a good seating position.

My questions are:

Do you think I will be happier with Buckets? My first new car was a 65 Malibu SS, and I don't remember having trouble getting a comfortable driving position. But that was 54 years ago.

Is $800 a reasonable price for a set that will need a lot of restoration? I'm assuming that I could spend another $500 or more to restore them.

What modification are need to the floor to convert from bench to bucket?

Thanks,

Don
Although its for the 66-72 Strato Buckets, this is a great thread about restoring seats...

https://www.chevelles.com/forums/26-...t-rebuild.html

As for the conversion, again there is lots of info on 66+. Most resto suppliers offer bracket kits to add the inner mounts to the floor. I know 66+ also uses a additional mount at the outer-front location, but I do no psecifically know if thats required for 64/65 seats. The floor pans are basically the same 64-72...

The usual recommendation is to buy the 4-piece kit, rather than the two piece kit (that lacks that front-outer bracket/mount)...

Search the forum here, and you will find several threads on bench-to-bucket conversions, perhaps even a 64/65...

Once you go RAT, you never go back...
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 19, 3:59 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

I would keep looking for a set that is a little cheaper to restore. A set will come along. Any other seats that you could put in there would just look out of place. Do it right the first time.


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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 19, 4:10 PM
 
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

When I bought my '64 2 dr wagon it had a bench from who knows what with built in headrests. Since I wanted buckets in it I took the bench and put it in the '77 Elcamino I had at the time using the seat tracks that were already on it. The bolt locations in the floor lined up perfectly in both cars for that bench.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 6:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Thanks everyone.

Iím going to the Chevy Nationals in Carlisle PA this weekend, and my quest is to fine a set of A body bucket seats.

Don
post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 8:36 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Search for the dimensions and maybe some screen shots of Chevelle/Lemans and Corvair, etc... To make sure the one's you buy are correct for a Chevelle (so Chevelle repro covers will fit...)

Once you go RAT, you never go back...
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 19, 9:59 PM
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Re: Bench to bucket conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Thanks everyone.

Iím going to the Chevy Nationals in Carlisle PA this weekend, and my quest is to fine a set of A body bucket seats.
When looking at A body buckets do not be too concerned about the condition of the covers and foam. Those will most likely need replaced. The enemy is rust/rot of the springs and frames. They almost always have a light coat of surface rust as they are untreated. But many times they are stored in damp areas and they can get quite rusty. The less the better. Also look for missing parts. No reason why bucket seat cores should not be complete. Familiarize yourself with difference between A body and B body seat tracks.
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