Pontiac Seat Belt Tags - Pontiac Enthusiast June 2010

This is an archival article written by John Kryta and is unchanged from 2010.

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Pontiac Enthusiast - June 2010

Seat Belts are one of those items that we assume are all the same but they are very car year specific and manufacture specific. Beginning in January of 1964, seat belts were required by federal law for the driver and front passengers. So the auto manufactures now began to offer vehicles with front seat belts standard and the rears could be added as an option. Starting in 1966 all production cars got front and rear belts. The standard seat belts usually had a black plastic buckle and the optional Custom or Deluxe seat belts had the chrome buckle and a better retractor system. Just about every year the belts changed with the model changes. The buckles style, button logo and the even the fabric belt webbing was different year after year. To add more confusion the belts were made by several manufactures; Irving, Robbins, General Safety, DAAL, Bay Trim and a few others. Some of these manufactures only made the deluxe belts others made the standard and some made both. Some manufactures produced belts for specific assembly plants. Each of the manufactures had many assembly lines under one roof so identification of the products was a must. This was done by the tag on the belt. This tag tells the part number, manufacture, model number and gives the date the belt was manufactured and the tag is specific to the year make, model and style of the belt. Each manufacture also stamped the web bracket that holds the belt to the floor with a 2 letter code and the buckles and chrome inserts are slightly different from each manufacture.

What all this means is that there is a lot to look at before you mix and match a set of seat belts to make them into a matching set. The material may not match and it is pretty hard to put together different date codes and have a matched set. The belt had a date code but so did the chrome buckle and the top cover. While many of the parts spanned more than one year the date code was specific. In this restoration we are putting tags on a complete set of 72 GTO seat belts to make them a matched set. In 72 there are fewer belts than the previous year since the front lap belt and shoulder belt hooked into the same buckle to eliminate one lap belt per side of the car. It is confusing some pictures and captions will go a long way.

These are tags off several different belts manufactures and dates. They are slightly different shapes and some are stitched at the top and bottom and others on the sides. The tags are also different colors and fabric types, the yellow tags are not faded or dirty with age like so many assume, they were always this mustard yellow. There are also grey tags and light blue along with the common white. Some manufactures used a fabric material and others had a tyvak material.

Over the years you can see the tags can become dirty, torn and stained. The black belt will clean up good with some soap and water but the tag will never come clean. The tags are very belt specific. Next to the GM is the part number of the belt, below this is the manufacture Hamill and below this is the model number of the belt and the big letters is the date code. This is the 11th month of 1972 or November of 1972 the C is the assembly line the belt was manufactured on. Some belts also have this additional tag that cross references the belt to other cars.

Our new tags cost $39.00 from Inline Tube and were made custom for this application with a specific date code and manufacture. It comes as a set and we specified the date code of May 1972. They have templates for many cars and all the different manufactures. If they have not made yours in the past just photo copy or email a picture of one of the old tags and it can be made custom.

The set also has instructions so you know which tag goes on what belt. From the factory the belts came as a matched pair that was latched together. So the lap belt was latched with the shoulder belt and the retractor belt was latched with the other lap belt, and all have the same model number. The tags also have the adhesive on the back so you can stick them then sew them on.

The new tag is placed in position using the old tag as a reference. We have two sets of belts we are working from. We are using the old belts as reference to the new belts. It is a good idea to take pictures of the belts before you take the tags off them. It is easy to mix up the tags and belts.

We lay all the belts out and stick each tag in place before we sew. It can be confusing where the tag goes and on which side and how far from the end of the belt. We again are using a second set of belts as a reference.

With the label stuck in place we are ready to go to the sewing machine. The adhesive on the back was there to hold the tag in place so it did not move around before it was permanently fastened to the belt.

Pay attention to the old tag so you know which direction to sew it on. Some tags were sewn vertically and others horizontally depending on the manufacture. There are a few extra tags in the set so you can practice before you work on the final piece.

This project can be done with any home sewing machine. We are using a jeans nettle and black button thread. This may be a great time to get your wife, that know how to sew, involved. There are not many projects that can bring you and your wife closer while working on your car.

Slip the belt through the machine then flip it and repeat. You can adjust the stitch length to match the factory original. I like to start the machine and feed at a constant speed so there is a consistent lead in and run past the tag a few inches so it is straight and even.

The thread is now cut at the edge of the belts and you can move on to the next belt.

Your finished belt should look like this. For more information on the different year belts and what the tags should look like Eric at White House Graphics has all the graphics and descriptions for 64-74 GTO’s in his GTO Illustrated Identification Guide.