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By Paul Latour

This little tale relates to the 1974 that I purchased in April of 2008 but of course it has relevance to all early C3s. The 1974 came to me via TN after spending most of its life in Palm Springs, CA. Being inland from the sea for that time it has no frame damage aside from some dirt. Nice solid frame. And that is what one looks for in a C3.

0001

But the seats were a funky/disco cloth of some year (?) and badly faded. That was OK initially in 2008. There is an acclimatization period when you buy an old Corvette.

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My first priority was to get some shoulder belts installed in the interests of safety. Of 5,474 convertibles produced in 1974 only 618 had the RPO A85 option. So I ordered a pair from Andover in MD.

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I refurbished the lap belts as well.

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So in mid-2008 I had this look. It was not proper and uncomfortable. The belt must go through the seat back.

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OK, the next step is simple: just remove the seat backs and thread the belts through the seat backs. Here is the hardware.

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Well no. There are no pass-throughs on the back seat frames!! What year are these seats? (The pic is from the job when completed, the old frames.)

0008

OK, I contacted an old friend in Missouri (Gary Gruhala) who has a Corvette salvage yard. He had a nice set for me. Backs are shown.

http://www.angelfire.com/mo2/GruhalaEnterprises

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Next step was to rebuild a set of seats building on those solid frames. The bottoms are notorious for cracking from ... little weight...so I purchased reinforcement plates from Corvette America just to add some support. You can see the flaws - (two pictures above this one).

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These were welded on by Johnson Welding on Beech Street, Ottawa. I did the rattle can painting.

 http://www.johnsonweldingworks.com/ 

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Next step was to get new covers, foams, and associated hardware. Wilcox Corvette had a sale on in late August so that was my route. I opted for leather-like vinyl.

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At that point I faced a decision as to whether I would do the job myself or have a professional do it. I wimped out and gave the job to this local company.

 http://www.gotitcovered.ca/index.htm 

 They did a very fine job. I was impressed!

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So that was last fall. All is well since. I am very happy with the outcome. New covers, seat belts, foams, and hardware.

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