1965 Ford Mustang Fastback GT Inertia Reel Seat Belts
3 Point Inertia reel seat belts
I prefer 3 point seat belts and inertia reel rather than static and had been looking for some time to see if it was possible to fit 3 point inertia reel belts for the front seats. After much searching on the internet it seemed that this was possible with a couple of companies offering belts and I found a couple of documents describing ways of doing this.
I have used National Parts Depot (NPD) in the USA for parts on a number of occasions and recently they had a special offer on seat belt kits, in a range of colours. Their website included what appeared to be a comprehensive set of fittings instructions. Our 1965 Mustang is finished in Rangoon red with a red and white Pony interior so their red inertia reel seat belts looked just the job and I ordered a set.
They arrived complete with the set of instructions and a fitting kit of assorted brackets and nuts and bolts. The instructions mainly covered the coupe and convertible. The section on the Fastback only covered 1968-1973. This didnt help as our Mustang was made in 1965. Mustangs from 1964 to 1967 have nuts welded in place for the lap belts only and do not have a nut welded in at a higher level for the shoulder mounting of a 3 point seat belt. This nut was welded into the bodywork from 1968 onwards and the instructions showed the belts being installed using this captive nut. Our Ford Mustang does not have this.
A further search of the internet came across a much more detailed description of how to resolve the problem on a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback from http://www.midnightdsigns.com/james/3PointBelt.html. This involves peeling back part of the headlining above the door which reveals a slot in the panel. It is possible to insert a plate complete with captive nut here, bolt it in place, and then the shoulder mounting bolts through the headlining into the plate. As I wasnt sure if this plate needed bolting or welding in place, I passed the seat belt kit on to my garage with both sets of instructions for them to install.
The fitting kit provided was not quite complete, the one thing that was missing was a pair of plates with captive nuts that would fit into the slot behind the head lining. The garage made up a pair of plates and welded the nuts to them. These they bolted in place and were sure this would be strong enough and didn't actually need welding into the roof.
The rest of the installation worked as per the instruction sheet, although with a few minor amendments:
1) Top mounting installed as described above, plate with captive nut bolted into the roof behind the headlining.
2) The inertia reel was bolted to an L shaped bracket onto the floor at the base of the B post.
3) The NPD instructions show the other end of the seat belt, which is fitted with a long slotted metal tab, fitted to the L bracket with the inertia reel. But my lap belts were bolted into the inner sill, so this end of the seat belt was bolted to the inner sill instead. The long tab means it can swivel forward when in use, but can be swivelled back out of the way when someone wants to get into the back seats. To allow it to swivel it needs to have one of the stepped washer fitted so that it doesn't get stuck in the carpet.
4) The final part of the seat belt is the buckle end, which is fitted to a piece of webbing. Interestingly this webbing is then fitted into a strong, flat plastic sleeve keeping it semi rigid. The instructions show this bolted with an L shaped bracket to the floor, but again the lap belts on my Mustang were bolted into an existing captive nut, in the side of the transmission tunnel. Having no more stepped washers to hand this was packed out with a couple of ordinary washers to make sure it wasn't stuck in the carpet and allow a small amount of movement.
When all fitted, including the relevant washers and spacers, the seat belts are an excellent fit, comfortable in use and the inertia reels do their job when pulled sharply or under hard braking.
Overall an excellent kit from NPD although the instructions could do with a bit of updating.