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14th Annual SoCal Vintage BMW Meet 2021! “All couped up”

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3" vintage racing belts


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first thing is don't use 4pt belts. need the 5th/6th pt to hold the lap belt down in an accident. otherwise the shoulder harnesses pull the lap belt up into your gut when they load up. schroth makes a 4pt street belt that attempts to avoid this problem with shoulder harness straps that release a few inches in an impact to let the lap belt load up first.

yes, any harness is best attached to roll cage/bar. have seen some installs that anchor the shoulder belts to rear deck sheet metal. scary.

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There has been a bit of discussion on this topic in the past.

Race belts and roll bars are best left to the track.

That said, back in the day I did have a roll bar in my 02 and had the big 'ol race belts. We added a cross bar behind the drivers seat so the shoulder belts could attach. Distance from the seat back and also the angles are important. In the wrong conditions with the wrong belt angles, the drivers seat could collapse and the shoulder belts would do nothing.

The fun thing was to get all belted in and then try to turn on the headlights. How long are your fingers?

Factory BMW (and MINI) belts are nice because, once buckled, you can cinch them down and feel real secure. And, you can still reach the radio or headlight switch.

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You should not use used or vintage harness in non-track car. Racing or motor sport harnesses need to be certified by SFI or other sanctioning organizations. Webbing stretch dramatically and stitching thread may deteriorate over a short period of time in a track car. I have also seen racing harnesses that utilize retractors installed over the parcel shelf or other places in the car to allow some movement (e.g., to reach glove compartment). There are also hybrid designs that can be used along with the regular seat belts using special adapters but they are vehicle specific and very expensive. I know of one DOT approved design for a E39/M5. I thought about making my own harness using vintage Repa or Autoflug buckles and tongues and 3"webbing but liability is a major concern, couldn't sell to public, except perhaps it is for a show car.

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