Early MGB Seatbelts

Author: A. Henderson w/contributions from J. Prewer

Important:  If you own original seatbelts, they are probably unsafe to use and should be professionally rewebbed before usage.   Seat belts are required to meet specific safety standards.  There are several companies qualified to professionally reweb vintage belts using original hardware.  Please use one of them.

 

As seat belts were never factory fitted until 1968, there are some discrepancies in the information available as to what was actually fitted.  MGBs did have factory mounting for lap belts with a captive nut in the rear of the inner sill, and a pressed opening in the rear of the transmission tunnel to suit either bolts, or ring bolts as used by Britax in the belts I show.  The dual bolt rear mounting point may have been designed to take a shoulder strap, but may also have been designed to allow the fitment of 2 rear seatbelts, using a central mounting point. for the 2 centre strap pieces.  The BGT actually has this rear centre mounting point designed into it below the wood trunk floor, and a rear seat cushion was optional in the roadster from the beginning.

 

From personal experience, lap belts were what was commonly fitted, at least to North American Bs, and in fact no North American cars of any brand had shoulder harnesses as standard fitted until 1969.  Perhaps a viewer of this article will comment relative to what was fitted in the UK.

 

Clausager states that Britax belts were fitted to early cars, with a change to Kangol.  This bears out my personal observations.   I have not seen a Britax 3 point belt fitted into an early B, only the lap belts.   It is important to stress that if 2 point belts are fitted they must use the 2 low side mounting points and not the rear point with 2 bolts, as that mount would place the belts far too high on the body of the wearer for safe usage.

 

I have several sets of “BMC” branded, and British Leyland branded lap belts that were made in the USA, and likely sold through dealers as well.

 

The Kangol belts used were available as a 2 point lap belt, and later a 3 point belt/shoulder belt using a rear pick up point, which may have been the double 1/4″ studs low on the rear wheel wells. The Kangol belts all relied on a magnetic hook portion, and that is the part that goes into the seat belt keeper just behind the door opening.   The photo attached clearly shows the hooked portion of a Kangol belt hanging from the retainer.  (This photo is from Clausager of an early GT)  That little retainer was supplied with the Kangol belt kit, or factory installed from 1968-71 when the Kangol belts were factory installed.    The double stud mount was deleted from MGBs in 1966/67, changing to a captive nut plate welded into the rear wheel well.  This made it easier to use a more conventional single hole mounting.

 

The following are numerous photos of my NOS Britax 2 point belts which were sold and packaged as “for MGB”.  These came from very old dealer stock out of the US and I acquired them a few years ago.  When time permits I will dig out some of the other early lap belt sets I have and take photos, and as well the early 3 point Kangol set, although as far as I can tell this didn’t become optional until at least late in 66.

 

Dependent on your state/province country Department of Motor Vehicles you may find that it is legal to drive your early MGB with no seat belts fitted.  Generally 1968 was the first year that seat belts were required to be fitted to new cars, and actually being required to wear them varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction for many years after that time.  Today the rule of thumb is that if belts are fitted to the vehicle they must be worn.

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