The Best Automobile Driver's Seat
September 3, 2009 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Which driver's seat. To my surprise, replacement automobile driver's seat -baby -infant didn't google up anything useful. Surely there's a widely-held opinion as to which junkyard car seats are the best!

If it matters, it would be for a custom desk, not for a car. Seems to me a car seat designed for long drives would make a good reclined seat for a geekdesk.
posted by five fresh fish to Shopping (19 answers total)
Response by poster: Which, granted, may be a batshitinsane idea, in which case I'm open to better ideas. My office chair is killing me and the yoga ball is far from relaxing.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 PM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: I do note that brand-new seats are also cheap. JCW carries a bunch. I have no idea if they're any good compared to the seat out of a [fill in the blank].

I'm under the impression from back in my younger days back in 19[mumble]X, feeling sporty and shopping for a new car, that some of the higher-end cars had seats that were well-respected and renown for their quality and comfort. Brand-name seats, maybe? Or a particular auto manufacturer with great seat design?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: Recaro! That's the name I was trying to remember. Complete list of OEM cars past and present here, and ebay prices. $Pricey$

Anyone know of good reclining office chairs?

Is this a terrible idea wrt one's back health?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 PM on September 3, 2009

Is this a terrible idea wrt one's back health?

It's your back, but my guess is 'yes'.

That said, I'd just turn up to a wrecker and start sitting in seats.
posted by pompomtom at 9:33 PM on September 3, 2009

(Also, cool idea, I'm already thinking about the wreckers on the way home...)
posted by pompomtom at 9:34 PM on September 3, 2009

I would think that it's hard to ever sit forward in a car seat comfortably. It's too recline-y, especially a sports car one. But I like to sit up straight and work. If this is for metafiltering and gaming, great idea. I can't imagine it for working.

(Disclaimer: I am typing this leaning back with my feet on the coffee table, have terrible carpal tunnel syndrome and haven't had an actual job in 10 years. Also, when I sew, I am too lazy to go to my desk, so I put the machine on the coffee table and lean over. But, I would say, sit in a car and do some work, then judge.)
posted by artychoke at 9:38 PM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: My other idea involves a treadmill…
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: I used the drivers seat from an old Mazda RX-7 as my desk chair for a few years without screwing up my back. Car seats seem to fit everyone differently, I've been really comfortable in cars that people constantly complain about and have been miserable driving more than a few miles in other cars that are supposed to be comfortable. I think the only way to figure out what seat you want is to spend some time at a junk yard sitting in seats.
posted by foodgeek at 10:50 PM on September 3, 2009

I'd find a seat from a luxo-barge like a Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, or Lexus LS.

Even better if you wired up the fancy stuff like the automatic controls, memory, inflatable bolsters, extendable legrest and heating/cooling
posted by wongcorgi at 12:27 AM on September 4, 2009

Best answer: There was this guy from way back who took an early-model BMW 7 chair and made an office chair out of it. Wired up the electronics and all, as wongcorgi suggested.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 1:54 AM on September 4, 2009

When my beloved 1988 Toyota Camry died, I unbolted the passenger's seat and used it as an easy chair. It is great for watching movies! It uses a knob to adjust the angle instead of a lever, which is probably an advantage when the seat is not bolted down. I find 80s Toyota seats very comfortable. Be aware; if you place the unbolted seat directly on your floor, the metal tabs will scratch the floor badly.
posted by scose at 2:24 AM on September 4, 2009

The seats in my dad's Saab 9000 Aero were so comfortable we still lament their loss. I don't know exactly what year the car was, but it had to be early-to-mid 90s.
posted by katie at 3:49 AM on September 4, 2009

I have a Pontiac Grand Prix (1997) and it is the first car where I don't get fatigued after long drives. Those are probably plentiful, and worth giving a shot. It's hard to visualize it as a desk chair, but it seems to me that I can adjust it to a quite upright position.
posted by gjc at 6:06 AM on September 4, 2009

Volvos also (used to) have great seats, but I don't know if that's still true. I used to prowl junkyards as a youth and the joke was that you'ld never find a Volvo with either front seat.
posted by bonehead at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2009

Most European car seats are firmer than most American car seats. The american seats feel nice when you first sit in them bu often the foam compresses too much and becomes unconfortable after a few hours.

I have a 1994 Saab 9000 Aero, and the seats are truly a dream. Some say they were made by Recaro but I have my doubts. The Aero was made from 1993-98.

Recaro used to sell a rolling floor pedestal for their seats. In the late '70s it was what the 'sporty' execs dreamed about.

Some cars came with Recaros. Look at a few different styles of their seats before you go junkyarding, to be able to recognize them more easily.
posted by KenManiac at 8:02 AM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: It just struck me that they'd probably make awesome deck chairs. Heavy enough to stay put. With a padded leg rest, they'd be great recliners. Hmmm.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2009

Testing the seats by sitting in them will be the best way.

Something in me just finds the idea of sitting in seats at the wrecking yard a little disgusting though, not to mention logistically difficult. Some cars are at the junkyard because they have collision damage that would ...ah.. interfere with sitting in the front seat (and was probably pretty unpleasant for the seat's last occupant as well). Some cars are stacked on top of others, so trying out those seats might be unsafe. Plus, many yards won't let you just wander around out there.

How about a used car dealership? I'd start with some of the higher end cars that came with seats with lower back adjustments, sides that tip in and out for different leg/shoulder widths, and built in heating. Electric desk chair! Then look into ordering a "replacement" seat from a junkyard, these days the part you want might be somewhere else, but easy to order.

If you want a more plush and recliner like style, check into van seats. Many of the rear "captain's chair" style are made to be easily removable.

Unless you really want some feature that came only on the driver's side you might try searching for car passenger seats.

Most car seating can be adjusted to be fairly straight, people just don't tend to think of them that way. Also, many car seats place the knee edge higher than the part where you sit your seat down, if you make the sitting surface level when you make your chair the range of reclining angles will edge more toward the vertical.
posted by yohko at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2009

My other idea involves a treadmill…

I vote that you do this. So that you can send me pictures so that I can copy it.
posted by artychoke at 11:31 AM on September 5, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 PM on September 6, 2009

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