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56 Bel Air 2dr Hardtop. Tunnel Rammed 327/M22, 9"rear w/4.57 Detroit Locker
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You have a better chance of surviving a severe crash in a new era automobile without a seatbelt than you do in one of our car's with a seatbelt. Our car's were not designed with saftey feature's like crumple zone and air bag's. The structural reinforcement in the body alone is atleast 10 time's better than what the factory had back then. Seat belt's in our car's don't really do a damned thing except make you feel better about yourself for having added them. JMO
 

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You have a better chance of surviving a severe crash in a new era automobile without a seatbelt than you do in one of our car's with a seatbelt. Our car's were not designed with saftey feature's like crumple zone and air bag's. The structural reinforcement in the body alone is atleast 10 time's better than what the factory had back then. Seat belt's in our car's don't really do a damned thing except make you feel better about yourself for having added them. JMO
only reason I'm adding mine is because of maybe a rollover crash. .otherwise they're useless as you say
 

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You folks that choose not to run a belt......I pray you never roll your car.

Been there, my buddy went out the back window and I bounced around the interior. I woke up in time to watch the firemen load my friend into the ambulance. They made me wait for the next one. He died the next morning.

I have belts, I use them.
 

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In the event of an accident, unfastened human beings become nothing less than pinballs and projectiles. I'm willing to wager those of us here who have been in an accident are generally opting for seatbelts. They may not look cool, but they are effective.

I installed 3-point lap and shoulder restraints for all 4 seating positions in my 55, and while I hope I never get into an accident, I'm not going to bet my life on it.
I know first-hand. I punched out the passenger side of the windshield of my '56 with my head because I was not wearing a seatbelt. Funny thing is that I did have lap belts installed, but I had them removed because I was doing floor work. I attempted to install lap belts in my '58 Impala, but the seatbelts would have attached to the floor in the little foot space of the rear seat occupants, so I'm holding-off installing.
 

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My '57 2 door hardtop came from the previous owner with a seat belt for the driver only.
I will be installing front seat belts that match the original aircraft style buckles & latches, similar to what I also had in my first '57.
It will be something like this one, from 1955-1957 Chevy Tri-Five, Front, Bench Seat Belt (seatbeltplanet.com) & others:
Font Rectangle Strap Data transfer cable Usb cable

Seems to be a bridge too far to get three point belts in the front of a hardtop.
But I want to install three point seat belts in the rear, in hopes of our grandkids eventually being allowed to ride in the back.
The original steering column (a.k.a. chest spear) will stay.

I was told a story about my dad grabbing the suspenders of my oldest brother to keep him from falling out of the car when going around a corner and the door flew open.
That must have been around 1950.
 

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Pin wheel door locks = doors pop open in a crash & you get spit out a lap belt should keep you in the car. Also, a lap belt keeps you behind the steering wheel the driver may be able to attempt control while doing zig zags avoiding traffic issues OR you can watch the world go by when you slide over on your bench seat & hang out the right side window while the invisible man crashes your junk into something,
 

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My gasser I chose to add lap belts, I think I wept a bit drilling the holes if I can remember right. Poor car had 48k miles , but I knew the family would be enjoying it with me …..until our first ride when two complained everyone was looking at us because it was to loud. I freaked and explained they were why I put the belts in the back !
Now there’s no way I’m drilling the 65 impala rear belts. Lap belts were one option at its birth and that’s fine by me.
I’m cool with simple lap belts and some defensive maneuverability ……
 

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Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
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Seat belts also position you and HOLD you behind the steering wheel and controls, and that in itself is valuable. When in HS, coming home from a HS basketball game one Friday night, I was turning left onto a secondary road (from a more major highway), and about halfway thru the turn I was hit by a car attempting to pass me and several other cars. My car was probably traveling at 30-35 mph when I was hit. The collision knocked me into the back seat floorboard (Yes, over the seat back)! My car (a '57 model) was still moving down the road without a driver! Fortunately a friend was riding with me and was able to reach over and at least steer the car down the road until we stopped without going into the ditch! I also remember losing control of that same car going around a 90 deg turn on wet pavement and going into a series of the rear going way out of control, (I was holding onto the steering wheel but my butt was trying to slide across the seat each time I'd steer into the skid and it would go the opposite way!).. So seatbelts DO HELP and could save your life by keeping you in the right position behind the controls.
PS. I believe the 1956 Chevrolet models were the FIRST year that seat belts were even OPTIONAL in a Chevrolet (although Cadillacs may have offered them a bit earlier), and I think the most common type of aftermarket seat belts 'mimic' the look/function of that first 1956 seat belt!
 

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The first time I drove my 55 without belts made me think about when I gave my 4-year-old grandson a ride in my 1950 Chevy 4100 fire truck. He was sitting right next to me when I took a left turn at a pretty good pace, and he slammed into the door just like that. Unthinkable of what could have easily happened. Now they both have belts!!!
 

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I know first-hand. I punched out the passenger side of the windshield of my '56 with my head because I was not wearing a seatbelt. Funny thing is that I did have lap belts installed, but I had them removed because I was doing floor work. I attempted to install lap belts in my '58 Impala, but the seatbelts would have attached to the floor in the little foot space of the rear seat occupants, so I'm holding-off installing.
Yow! I hope you did not suffer any long term issues from the head trauma.
 

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🐔County, TN. 55 Bel Air Sport Coupe
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Talking about sliding across the bench seat, in a non trifive of my Fathers, my brother was with me and I had to show off and do a burnout while making a left turn. Next thing I knew I was in the passenger side pressing my brother against the door. Somehow I managed to hang onto the steering wheel and kept it going straight until I could slide back over to the drivers side. Found out the hard way that my brother Armor All'd the seat! It was a slip and slide.
 
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