1976 Camaro Seat Belt Research

TeamDoty

Member
Aug 21, 2022
57
St. Louis, MO Area
Hey everyone,

I'm working on some seat belt stuff (amongst other things) for my 1976 Camaro LT/RS. My research has turned up some confusing info. I'm no expert... just presenting here what I've found and hoping others might chime in with help. This could help me and others for sure! Thanks!

I dug into this because when I bought my '76 a couple months ago the rear belt retractors were missing. The receivers, however, were there. My car, originally and now, has the custom white knit seats over Firethorn Red interior (the big 3... carpet, dash and console).

The front belts of my car work fine and seem to be correct. They are black and have the dual retractors. Both the front and the back receivers are the longer, rectangular type with the plastic covers. The retractor end (male component) is the wider tab with the trapezoid shaped hole in it.

Here's some pictures of the front belts in my car:
Mindy_Seatbelt_01.jpg
Mindy_Seatbelt_02.jpg
Mindy_Seatbelt_03.jpg
Mindy_Seatbelt_04.jpg


I've found an online seller that provides an informative image with their belt auctions to help people correctly identify which retractor/tab/male-component goes with which receiver. They don't ever state specifically which belt type is for which year model car but state, like a lot of parts, they are compatible. So not the best source to really determine what is correct:
GM_Seatbelt_Comparison.jpg


My front belts and the rear receivers look like the tan colored belts on the right in the image above.


I have found this information on the NastyZ28 site:
1664990553619.png

"Above center: A depiction of the seatbelt recepticals, 1973/74 style (left), 1975 - 77 style (center), 1980 (right)."

This would indicate that for a 1976 Camaro the center receiver in the above image would be correct and the type I have (on the right) would be incorrect.

However, something else from NastyZ28 on the same site page has me confused. This pertains to the retractor mounted on the floor in the front of the car.
1664990867371.png

"Above right: A depiction of the seatbelt retractors (front outboard)... 1974 on the left, 1975 - 77 on the right. Looking at the metal tab on the retractor, you can see the difference between 73/4 & 75+ is more than just cosmetic."

My retractors look just like that on the left above (note the smooth region w/ rivets and the textured region on the rest of the cover vs. the all textured version on the right). This might indicate my belts are from a 1974 Camaro... but the male component/tab on my belts doesn't look like that. I have the wider tab with the trapezoidal hole.

So, to me none of this adds up. What I'm seeing is that I have 1980+ metal tabs and receivers mounted in 1974 retractor covers. I guess that's possible if someone really went to the trouble of building out a set like that :)

I was in a rush to get retractors in the back of my car (mine were missing) so I (hastily?) purchased a full set of rear belts that I thought were right, and they were red, and I thought that would be cool to eventually have all red belts. Here's the rear seat belts in my car now:
Mindy_Seatbelt_06.jpg
Mindy_Seatbelt_05.jpg


Now it's true that GM used different seat belt manufacturers/suppliers for a given model year so it's very possible that... well... anything is possible. But my seat belt foo is about all worn out!

Any seat belt gurus out there?

Thanks!
 

Plater Tom

Veteran Member
Feb 2, 2003
1,545
Mt Pleasant, Pa. USA
Just to throw a wrench into the mix, , Camaros used 6 different seat belt models. I have a 1976 GM counter book in front of me and they show illustrations of them. It may help or it may add to the confusion. I can take the page out and make a copy to send it to you. I dont think that I can get a good enough picture of it with my camera. Tom
 

TeamDoty

Member
Aug 21, 2022
57
St. Louis, MO Area
Just to throw a wrench into the mix, , Camaros used 6 different seat belt models. I have a 1976 GM counter book in front of me and they show illustrations of them. It may help or it may add to the confusion. I can take the page out and make a copy to send it to you. I dont think that I can get a good enough picture of it with my camera. Tom
That would be awesome!!! Yeah, I found some information somewhere (maybe on NastyZ28) that showed a couple different manufacturers so I guess with 2 different plants putting cars together it's very likely there's great variability in the belts for any given year model. If the fabric patch is still sewn onto the belt its supposed to have a date code stamped on to it but if those are worn off/missing then I'm not sure how to date the belts.
 

TeamDoty

Member
Aug 21, 2022
57
St. Louis, MO Area
The original belts in my 76 were the same style as the right side belts (tan color) in your first photo.
Hmmm, well that's good news then. It's very likely the belts I have are at least the correct style for my car. Thank you! My hope then is to find some red belts for the front but for now at least I have functioning belts that all seem to be the correct style.
 

TeamDoty

Member
Aug 21, 2022
57
St. Louis, MO Area
Plater Tom may have solved the mystery!

He sent me a copy of a page out of his 1976 GM Counter Book that shows illustrations of the seat belt variances.
GM_Seatbelt_Comparison_02.jpg



So if I read that page correctly, the belts that are currently in my car (and those that were in there when I bought it a few months ago) were the "Type 2" belt.

But, if I interpret that paragraph correctly this really just shows what was in 1976 model GM cars, not necessarily what was provided in Camaros (or Novas, or Firebirds, etc.)

The page says "Not all types are available on each model therefore they are only identified where applicable on the following charts."

I may have to hit up Plater Tom for images of the next pages or to see if he will so kindly look at those charts to cross reference what "types" came in Camaros in 1976.

I'm going to look in my assembly manual to see if there's any notation of belt types too.

Plater Tom?
 

TeamDoty

Member
Aug 21, 2022
57
St. Louis, MO Area
Just to throw a wrench into the mix, , Camaros used 6 different seat belt models. I have a 1976 GM counter book in front of me and they show illustrations of them. It may help or it may add to the confusion. I can take the page out and make a copy to send it to you. I dont think that I can get a good enough picture of it with my camera. Tom
Thanks Plater Tom!!!
 




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