The older the car you’re working on, the harder it can be to find usable parts you need. This becomes increasingly difficult when you get into cars that were short production or year runs. The iconic 1932 Ford is the most coveted car to build a hot rod out of. Being that they are a one year only body style, parts get expensive quick (especially original parts!). The seat slider mechanisms for an original ’32 Ford seat are as rare as hens teeth and command a pretty penny when you do come across one complete! Recently my friend Ace asked me to help with the task of getting his reupholstered original seat to bolt into the car AND slide easily. I decided to take some photos along the way and show our low-budget (and fairly low tech) fix.
The most important things with this project were making sure the seat was securely mounted, installed easily, and as much of the new parts hidden as possible to keep the car looking “old”. This meant that we had to avoid any obvious billet or cheesy aftermarket parts being visible. We landed on a universal seat slider kit from Speedway Motors. This kit resembles a seat slider from a modern truck bench seat and was very simple (which we wanted). Luckily the studs on the top of the sliders were spaced perfectly and lined up with bolt holes on each side of the seat so we decided to use those as our mounting points.
We started by buying a piece of 2″X 7/8″ X 1/8″ thick steel U channel that would be a base for the sliders to sit on. This put the seat at a good height for most drivers (most importantly Ace). The channel was set between the sub rails in the floor of the car and I marked off two pieces that would fit tightly on either side of the car.
With our channel cut we laid it on the bases of the seat sliders to check fitment. The first two obvious issues were that the spring loaded adjustment arms and pivot points hit the channel when the seat was latched in place. We remedied that by notching the channel to clear the two spots on each rail.
Next we transferred the holes on either side of the slider bases to the channel so we could bolt the two of them together. Since the channel would be welded into the floor of the car we needed a way to bolt the sliders to the channel in the car in case there was ever a need to service the sliders. we grabbed some grade eight bolts and nuts and welded the nuts to the bottom of the channel. This allows Ace to thread the bolts through the slider base and into the channel securely.
With the sliders and U channel bolted together we test fitment into the floor of the car. I found I had to notch the corners of the U-channel to fit around a raised portion of the floor, but otherwise everything fit snug into its new home. I then marked the edges of the channel to keep track of where they sat so we could remove the sliders and channel to sand off the paint and seam sealer where we needed to weld. I then laid self etching primer on the backside of the channel that would be hidden once welded in place.
Since Ace’s car had been built and painted already we couldn’t put off a bunch of sparks welding and he wanted as little of the paint on the floor damaged as possible. I decided to drag my Eastwood TIG 200 over to weld the channel in place. Luckily the welder works on 220V or 110V as Ace didn’t have a 220V outlet in the garage. I set the welder to about 85 amps max and welded in the channel, making sure all sides of the channel were welded to the structural sub rails in the floor. This assures the channel is tied structurally into the body and will hold the seat in place securely.
Finally we bolted the seat frame to the sliders and dropped the newly upholstered seat cushions into the seat frame. Ace sat in the seat and moved the seat forward and back easily with the adjustment knob. We only found we had to bend the adjustment arm up a few degrees to make it easier to use. Otherwise the seat puts Ace in a comfortable driving position and he can move the seat front and back for fraction of the cost (around $50) of original Deuce seat slider parts!