Techno geeks like babbling about poor weight distribution, wacky camber curves, and negative steering axis angles for proof that muscle cars were never designed for hard cornering. Tough guy talk like that might impress your online girlfriend, but come on boys, it's really not that complicated. Just look at the seats in these cars, for cryin' out loud. That's all the proof you need right there. Even factory bucket seats of the day offered up less lateral support than the captain's chairs in a modern minivan, and grandma's bench seats were even worse. And just in case drivers ever contemplated opening up the windows during a thunderstorm and converting their bench seats into an impromptu water park slide, the OEs made sure to cover a bunch of them up in mass expanses of slippery vinyl. With the suspension and tire technology infused into the typical Pro Touring machine, the problem gets exponentially worse, as we experienced firsthand with Project Olds.
We're still not sure how he did it-maybe he strapped himself down with a boatload of gaffer's tape-but Photo Editor Robert McGaffin somehow managed to prop himself upright during his '65 Cutlass' numerous autocross and road course excursions. Nonetheless, he admits that sliding around the cabin made staring in the face of high-speed tracks like Road America even more intimidating. With Project Olds now mopping up on the autocross, and even more outings on the horizon, the stock bench seats and lap belts had to go. In addition to their lack of lateral support, the bench seats had to be lifted up slightly in the front to clear the transmission tunnel, which was raised during the Tremec five-speed swap. This resulted in an increase in stress on the lower back, making long road trips very unpleasant. Moreover, the shifter came awfully close to touching the seat in Second gear. To fix these maladies, and prevent our man Bobby Mack from getting tossed like Lindsay Lohan the day after rehab, we bolted up a new set of Procar Elite seats and a five-point Crow racing harness.
Helping us out once again with the install was Randy Johnson of D&Z Customs. Johnson's made a living out of building and racing g-Machines, and we put his expertise to good use. Swapping out a bench seat for a set of buckets is rather straightforward, and only takes an afternoon of work. Since Project Olds doesn't have a rollbar, however, it requires coming up with a creative solution to mounting the shoulder harnesses. There are several ways to do this, but Randy came up with a clever and inconspicuous solution. So if your g-Machine is generating more g's than its seats can handle, here's quick look at what it takes to get buckled down.