Whilst at the Winton Historics classic car race and display weekend the 700 was selected to be part of the parade laps at lunchtime, which was nice. Naturally my wife wanted to join in, so the passenger seat was used for the first time in my ownership.
And this revealed a significant issue. The seat belt was a lot too short.
The car would have required to have seat belts fitted when it was first registered in Victoria in 1968. Static belts were common then and the 700 has two different designs of belts. The driver’s side has a flexible stalk and is a reasonable length. The passenger’s side has the buckle attached to webbing (not a stalk) and is barely long enough to reach around the seat in its most rearward latched position, yet alone around a person.
Fortunately, static seat belts can still be purchased (the car is not designed for retractor belts) and a local Repco has them in stock. So I have purchased a nice new belt, still with webbing for the buckle (I could not find a stalk version).
Fitting was straightforward, although the trim alongside the rear seat did have to come off (easy enough) which meant removing the rear seat squab (also easy) and getting it out of the car (which proved tricky until it pretty well fell out – as these things do!).
Even though the seating position is well forward in these cars, this new belt is plenty long enough to reach around a passenger.
It is just as well this issue was discovered now, as the next outing where a passenger will be in the car is the Bay to Birdwood rally on public roads. Finding out the belt does not fit on a Sunday morning would not have been good!