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Safety Equipment
Seats
Production Mustang seats have several requirements to fulfill. They need to be stylish, durable,
adjust to suit a wide range of drivers, and be cost effective to manufacture. This is all well and
good, but what exactly does a seat do for the driver? The seat needs to allow the driver to work the
pedals, steering wheel, and shifter, while traveling at speed, without sliding all over the place,
and/or having to brace his/her self against the door/transmission tunnel/dash with parts of the body
in order to stay upright. The stock seats in most Mustangs do not do a good job of locating the
driver and providing support while the car is being driven in a sporting manner. The ’94-’98
Mustang seats also seem to suffer from early job burnout, the springs in the seat cushion all going
catawampus after only three or four years service. The Cobra seats from 1999 onward are actually
pretty decent seats, and the foam is more rigid than the ’94-’98 seats ever were. Those on a
budget might do well to look at some late-model Cobra seats as a worthwhile upgrade to an earlier
Mustang.
Racetech dual purpose race / open track seat for Ford Mustang
The ’99-2004 Cobra
seats, with their suede
inserts and bolsters,
provide the best support
of any of the SN95 seats.
The later Cobra seats also have suede centers, which provides more grip against your clothing,
causing you to slide around far less than on a pure leather seat. Of course, the best production
seats in the ’94-2004 Mustangs were the Recaro seats found in the Cobra R models, but the
chances of scoring a good used Recaro from an R model are about the same as winning the
lottery. Aftermarket seats come in all manner of sizes, styles, and price ranges. The trick is to
choose a seat that suits your needs, your body, and your pocketbook. First, let’s analyze the
requirement of the seat, relative to the type of use it’s going to see. If we want an all-round kind of
seat, something we can use in our daily driver but that also provides us with more support for open-
track events, occasional drag racing, and long-distance driving, then a Cobra seat or an entry-level
Recaro might be appropriate.

If, on the other hand, you have a street/strip warrior, something you drag race every weekend and
seldom drive on the street, then an aluminum Kirkey or plastic Jaz seat might be the ticket. Either of
these lightweight seats shaves some pounds off and gets the job done on those short quarter-mile
blasts.
Racetech dual purpose race / open track seat for a Ford Mustang
Here’s another version of a Racetech
seat that’s more suitable for a dual-
purpose street/open track Mustang. Its
bolstering is less extreme, but still
much better than a stock seat. (Photo
courtesy Racetech).
A serious open-track or road-race enthusiast is going to want a seat with maximum lateral support
to really hold him/her in tight while cornering at over one g. In this case, an OMP, Sparco, or
Racetech seat is the order of the day. Each type and where it’s best suited are examined here.

OEM seats are most often made of steel stampings or tubular fabrications covered with foam and
an outer covering of leather or cloth. Aftermarket seats are made of several different materials.
Many of the Sparco, Recaro, and Cobra seats are made of tubular steel covered with varying
densities of foam and a breathable fabric covering. The different densities of foam are used in
different areas of the seat according to pressure.
Some areas of a seat have pressure points, like the bottom where your bum sits, the front edge of
the seat where your thigh rests on the edge, and the top 1/3 of the seatback, where your shoulders
contact. These areas can benefit from increased support underneath while maintaining a
comfortable contact with the body. Using pliable outer foam with denser foam underneath is one
method of achieving this. In fact, there may be several densities of foam in some seats. Things that
I like to look for in an aftermarket touring type seat like are: good support under my thighs at the
edge of the seat, a snug fit at my hips so I’m not going to slide around, and support in the middle of
my back.

Since many seats offer extra padding in the shoulder area, sometimes the small of the back is left
unsupported, which quickly causes fatigue on a long drive. I also want a fabric that breathes well,
because I hate being sticky when it’s warm out there. I also want a street seat that has seatback
angle adjustment, not a fixed rake, and a latch to allow the seatback to flip forward, allowing access
to the rear seat area. Drivers who are taller or shorter, skinnier or larger than average are always
going to be more challenged to find the ideal seat. One of the reasons I like driving Mustangs is
that the car really fits smaller drivers like me, although drivers much over 6 feet tall have difficulty.
Kenny Brown makes a dandy seat bracket extender that allows the stock seat tracks to move an
additional four inches rearward. This is ideal for a tall driver to get the legs and arms in the correct
relationship with the pedals and steering wheel. Don’t be afraid to customize an aftermarket seat to
suit your needs. Adding some additional foam in a spot here or there can be done at home or by a
local trim shop. I view the purchase of a good seat as a purchase that can be amortized over a long
period of time, moving from car to car. Just remember to keep the original seat in a clean, dry
storage spot, so it’s useable when the day comes to trade up to a newer Mustang.
Drag-Race Seats
Drag-race Mustangs can really benefit from a lightweight seat like a Kirkey aluminum seat. These
seats are fabricated from tig-welded 6061-T6 aluminum. The sides are even CNC’d for lighter
weight and maximum rigidity. Kirkey seats can be ordered in various widths, and feature snap in
covers of fabric or leatherette over a thin layer of foam. These seats are not designed for driving
across the country, but they are pretty good for drag racing and even occasional street driving.
They come standard with slots for competition 5-point belts, which makes them easier to install as
well. Average seat weight on a Kirkey is about 15 lbs, which means a pair of these save you 80 lbs
off the weight of the standard Mustang seats. The side of the seats are drilled and tapped,
providing an easy place to attach brackets and mount the seat.
Kirkey aluminum seat for a Ford Mustang
This Kirkey aluminum seat is TIG
welded together from many pieces.
The seats can be ordered in several
widths according to requirements. Note
that the seat has been lightened with
CNC machining on the side of the seat.
Previous | Next


This has been a sample page from

High Performance Mustang Builders Guide High-Performance Mustang Builder's Guide
1994-2004
by Sean Hyland
High-performance ‘94-‘04 Mustangs represent the high-water
mark for late- model Mustang enthusiasts. From the ’94-’95s with
the 5.0L, through the ‘96-‘04 models with the 2- and 4-valve 4.6
Ls, to the Bullitt, Mach 1, and factory supercharged ’03-‘04
Cobras – never before has such a range of highly modifiable
performance cars been available. These Mustangs were amazing
performers straight from the factory, but they can be even better
with the right combination of performance parts.
Regardless of which ’94-’04 Mustang you start with, the availability
of high- performance parts is unparalleled. You can build your
Mustang for drag racing, road racing, or improved street
performance – and High- Performance Mustang Builder’s Guide
1994-2004 will show you how! Author Sean Hyland uses over 300
photos to explain how to upgrade your Mustang’s engine,
suspension, chassis, transmission, rear end, brakes, and body.
There’s even a special chapter on getting active in various forms
of organized racing.

Sean Hyland is the proprietor of Sean Hyland Motorsport, which
builds and supports internationally competitive Mustangs for road
racing, drag racing, and everything in between. Sean recently did
a complete Mustang build-up for Speed Channel’s Sports Car
Revolution and is also the author of the bestselling title How to
Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter Ford Engines.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Chassis
Chap. 2 -
Wheels and Tires
Chap. 3 -
Suspension
Chap. 4 -
Brakes
Chap. 5 -
3.8 Engines
Chap. 6 -
4.6 Modular Engines
Chap. 7 -
Transmissions
Chap. 8 -
Rear Axles
Chap. 9 -
Aerodynamics
Chap. 10 -
Safety Equipment
Chap. 11 -
Get Involved!
Chap. 12 -
Project Cars
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
144 pgs.
300+ B/W photos
Item: SA106P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book
that any Mustang
enthusiast will enjoy!


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How to Build Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines
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How to Build Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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