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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I've got a problem maybe you can help me with: I'm 15, just got my license and the car I really want is a chevelle (of course). Well, my dad doesn't think this is auch a great idea because it is such a powerful car with few safety features. I'm looking at a 1971 Chevelle to buy now, and I think the parents might be a little more optimistic if I could get shoulder harnesses put in (it currently only has the lap belts). Is this something I could do myself or do you know of any places that do this? Also, if you know of anything else on the subject of safety in these cars, please let me know. Thanks. -Kenyon
 

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Well, it sure doesn't have air bags! However, it does have a thick, heavy steel frame under it, unlike these newer cars with all sorts of safety crap in them. Also, the body panels are twice as thick (slight exaggeration) as anything built from 1980 on up. Crash tests do show that larger cars usually = safer cars.
Personally, I'd get it just for the simple fact that it was one of the best cars this country has ever produced. I'm a bit biased on that subject, though!


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Jeremy J. Bennett
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A 71 should already have shoulder harnesses! If it doesn't, at least the mounting points will be there.
 

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Kenyon, I bought a '71 big block for my 15 year old son. Actually he was 14 when I bought it. The price was right, but it needed some work, mostly minor - just a fair amount of it. The '71's have separate lap belts and shoulder belts, so they do have shoulder belt anchors even if they've been taken out. I went to the yard and found a set of 3 point inertia reel belts from a Dodge Ramcharger. They're the right length. I've just got to figure how to get a 90 degree bend in the floor anchor on the reel side. I'm not likely to bend the bracket on it, but rather weld on an L bracket. I figure he'll have to have a shoulder strap this way as I know the stock one would stay in it's clip.
I understand your parents' misgivings, but the Chevelle is so cool and we've worked out an understanding - complete with consequences. Good Luck. E-mail me if you would like to discuss it or like me to discuss with your parents.
 

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Your '71 will take the belts from a '71 or '72 GM car. I prefer the '72 type as it uses only one latch to hold both the lap and shoulder belts. As for other safety features on a Chevelle you get beams in the doors, a crush steering column, headrests, padded instrument panel and a roof that meets government specs for crush resistance. These are all pretty good safety features to have. Add in the disk brakes, modern tires and shocks and you have a good car.
 

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RT: The '72 system has a fixed length lap belt with buckle near the center of the seat and the other lap belt has a retractor near the sill plate. This belt has a "keyhole" in it's blade to accept the shoulder belt. The shoulder belt has a manually adjustable length feature that you set to your preference. So, the shoulder belt end is attached to the outer lap belt and moves with it as you attempt to insert the blade into the buckle. People accustomed to newer cars find it a little quirky, but I like it more than having 2 sets of everything.
 

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Your parents will feel much more at ease if you put an 8 point roll cage in it with dual shoulder harness & submarine belt. THEN you go after a blown big block


Seriously though, Skurkey is right. A 1971 Chevelle should have the brackets already there, you just need to find the belts. Feel around the roof line for the mount. There may even be a hole in the headliner where abelt was.

My 69 Elcamino had TWO belts & buckels that were completely seperate from each other. The shoulder belt had a male end (clip) behind the door where you could buckle the shoulder belt whenever you didn't want to use the shoulder belt. Some have a metal clip on the roof rail for exsess???

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A clarification - the single latch type system, while available in '72, doesn't imply that all '72s have it. My '72 SS with buckets did not. It had the typical "pile 'o belts" up front, i.e., 4 males/4 females (2 each per side)

I only mention this so that if you're searching around for these belts, that it isn't sufficient just to ask for '72 seatbelts and assume you're getting the single attach point. You'll need to be more specific. TK
 

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Thanks gearhead for posting that link...that is exactly what I have been looking for my 70'.

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1970 Malibu - 383 'Fog Fed' Stroker. Houston, Texas...Gold Member #39
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Keep America Beautiful - Drive A Brute Force Chevelle!


[This message has been edited by Wes Colby (edited 02-09-2000).]
 

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I think most everything has been covered on the belts, so I won't add anything there.

If I had your parents, I would mention that in a right-of-way contest (read crash) between a Chevelle and a Geo or Honda, their child would probably be better protected inside the bigger car (especially if you get the correct belts AND WEAR THEM RELIGIOUSLY).

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the advice, guys. I'll let you know what happens after we go back to look at it again this weekend.
 
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