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Optional seat belts for 1956 Packard
#1
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Peter Packard
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Hello all, I recently saw a sale listing for a catalogue of 1956 Packard options that included seat belts. Has anyone any details on this option? Has anyone actually seen these? I am very curious.

Posted on: 12/14 5:47
I like people, Packards and old motorbikes
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Re: Optional seat belts for 1956 Packard
#2
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humanpotatohybrid
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I think I have 1 original one in a box. I've heard for the hardtops the retractable would actually bolt onto the door.

Posted on: 12/14 6:27
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Optional seat belts for 1956 Packard
#3
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HH56
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There was a seller on ebay a few years ago that posted some photos of a NOS kit. Here are a couple of them but too bad more of the instructions were not covered. No idea how popular the option was but don't recall ever seeing any factory belts installed in cars at shows I attended. They could be one of the items ahead of its time.

I don't believe Packard ever highly promoted belts as a safety item but in a couple of brochures Packard mentioned them as preventing passengers from being thrown around and in another, a claim the way Packard designed them a fastened belt would help to help keep doors closed in an accident. I do recall reading about another car company that did promote a safety first campaign in that same time frame which did not go over well. They were making a big deal in offering the same items Packard did but customers wondered why they were pushing safety items -- belts, door locks, and padded dashes in particular were being called out. They then jumped to a conclusion that there was something wrong with the cars the company was selling as to why they needed the safety items and sales fell. Needless to say that safety campaign ended quickly.

I don't recall anything about the belts being retractible but one anchor did bolt to the door. To me they seem somewhat awkward because unlike cars with both belts mounted to the floor, if you forgot to clip the business end of the door mounted belt to the door clip it would be yanked out of the car or if it fell out of the clip unnoticed as the door was closed the car could be going down the road much more likely to have a belt dangling.

Attach file:



jpg  seat belt.jpg (254.08 KB)
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jpg  belt kit1.jpg (80.71 KB)
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jpg  belt kit2.jpg (111.33 KB)
209_657b1b7c6c571.jpg 1000X750 px

jpg  instructions.jpg (95.28 KB)
209_657b1b926b17d.jpg 1000X750 px

Posted on: 12/14 10:16
Howard
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Re: Optional seat belts for 1956 Packard
#4
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humanpotatohybrid
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Thanks for the info Howard. Clearly the one I have is not one of these since it's retractable and has a airplane-style latch.

Posted on: 12/21 4:48
'55 400. Needs aesthetic parts put back on, and electrical system sorted.
'55 Clipper Deluxe. Engine is stuck-ish.
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Re: Optional seat belts for 1956 Packard
#5
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TxGoat
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Ford attempted to "sell safety" in the 1956 models, but takers were few. Seat belts, dash padding, and a shorter steering column with a deeply "dished", semi-collapsible steering wheel were among items offered.
The steering wheel remained in use as late as 1968 in pickups. Ralph Nader attacked the Ford steering wheel in is 1963 fantasy book, "Unsafe At Any Speed", in which he also noted that pedestrians and bicyclists were being impaled on Cadillac tail fins.

Posted on: 12/21 9:41
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