While many aspects of cars have transformed over the last few decades, the addition of bucket seats is something that many of us often take for granted.
In the simplest of terms, bucket seats are a form of car seat specifically contoured to hold one person. It’s thought to have directly evolved from its predecessor the flat bench seat, which was designed to fit multiple people in a car or automobile. In contrast, bucket seats are sculpted to be rounder with higher or curved sides that partially enclose and support the body of one person.
For most Australians, take a look at your own car parked in the garage, as there’s a high chance that your make and model has a bucket seat in some way, shape or form – but where did the concept come from, and how long have bucket seats been around for?
The Origins Of The Bucket Seat
Originally designed for sports cars and other two-seater automobiles, the bucket seat is commonly used in various types of cars from many classes and brands in the present day. While these can range anywhere from a Ford Fiesta to a Porsche 911, if you can name it – chances are that there’s a bucket seat that can fit in it.
Bucket seats first started to circulate after World War II, and made their debut in small European car models that featured a floor mounted shifter and parking brake lever. Due to their sheer size, something had to go in order to fit all the mechanical technicalities in. That something was the bench seat that previous models had favoured, and bucket seats were introduced as a happy compromise between the needs of the car, and the needs of the driver and passengers.
American automakers soon found themselves scrambling to meet demand for smaller sportier cars with bucket seats that could compete with the European cars American soldiers had seen during and after World War II. The first of these American legends produced as a means to meet this demand are commonly thought to be the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang, which of course are now icons in the American automotive landscape.
Colin Folwell later went on to manufacture the first commercially available bucket seats in Europe, before establishing Corbeau Seats as a business in the United Kingdom in 1963. Today, Corbeau Seats are now one of the leading bucket seat manufacturers in the world.
Corbeau Seats and other bucket seat manufacturers are typically standard in the front of fast cars, as a means to keep drivers and other passengers in place when turning at speed. However, rear mounted ‘bucket seats’ are typically hybrids of bench and true bucket seats, being contoured generally like the latter but fixed in place, even when divided by a centre console, and thus lacking a free-standing bucket seat’s front-rear and backrest angle adjustability.
A push toward safer vehicles in the 1970’s also enhanced the case for the bucket seat, as manufacturers wanted to be able to install automatic seatbelts and airbags in cars, and had a hard time making them for the centre seat on the bench. Even now, the centre console region has only gotten more crowded with the inclusion of anything and everything from cup holders, GPS systems and audio players. However, classic car enthusiasts of the 1950’s and 1960’s are likely to retain a love for the bench seat over the bucket seat, as these vintage models marked a simpler time when this era had no need or desire for such technology.
Meet Brisbane’s Biggest Classic Car Enthusiast
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Wayne’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Wayne’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.