Needed Lincoln Seat Belt 1957-60 / Thread includes history!

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Needed Lincoln Seat Belt 1957-60 / Thread includes history!

Post by a58pacer » Tue 15. Nov 2011, 12:02

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Some information on factory style seat belt buckles used in 1957-60 Lincoln (some 1956 models might also have them).
These are not the metal-to-fabric aircraft-style pull-throughs used by Ford through 1963, or by Lincoln and Mercury in most pre-1957 installations. They are metal-to-metal contact, sometimes refered to as "quick-release." They open by lifting a small chromed lever at the *front* of the buckle, not by raising the buckle cover at the rear of the buckle. These are most commonly found in 1957 and 1958 Lincolns and Continentals, although they could have been used in 1959 and 1960 models as well . . . I haven't really been able to ascertain a final date for these specific belts.

!!.jpg
1957 Mercury seat belts, photo courtesy of Sidesho_Bob1961. The Lincoln belts are identical, but have plain buckles instead (no stripes or "M" logo). Revisions applied 2/29/12 as a result of newly discovered information.
The state of Virginia has compiled and maintained a list over the years of approved seat-belt safety devices, and a July 1, 2007 revision has been published on-line in pdf form. One small section, on the fourth of thirteen pages, lists the following seat belts in a grouping all by themselves:

Ford Motor Company

FoMoCo
FoMoCo JL-56-A
FoMoCo JM-56-A

These are the first three types of belts released by FoMoCo for use in their cars back around the start of the 1956 model year as part of the Lifeguard Design program. The "FoMoCo" identifies the pull-through metal-to-fabric contact aircraft style patented in 1947, and used on Fords up through the 1962 model year. They were also used on early Lincoln and Mercury installations. The only identifying numbers on these buckles are the engineering number BN-7061208-A, the patent number and a casting code digit.

But the Lincoln, Mercury (and possibly Continental) Divisions each opted for an upscale belt, and shortly thereafter the Jervis Corporation was contracted to supply two series of quick-release seat belts for these cars, hence the JL-56-A and the JM-56-A FoMoCo belts. The "JL-56-A" code (sometimes mistaken as indicating July 1956) actually indicates the manufacturer, the make application, the initial year of application, and the revision level, hence the corresponding Mercury-styled belt was designated "JM-56-A." While it is commonly believed that the quick-release belts weren't available at all in the 1956 model year, the Jervis Lincoln seat belt was assigned a 1956 engineering number (prefix "BY") and the Jervis Mercury's was as well (prefix "BU"). In contrast, the earlier pull-through types bore 1955-assigned engineering number prefixes "BT" and "BV" respectively. So it does appear these belts were released for production mid-year 1956.

Sales never materialized to the degree that FoMoCo was hoping for, and Ford bowed to industry pressure and discontinued the advertising campaign mid-year 1956. By 1957, Ford's "Lifeguard Design" campaign had dwindled away to nothing but a decal on the edge of the driver's door but, nevertheless, the quick-release seat belts were still offered on MEL products in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960. However, 1961 and 1962 Lincoln Continentals were fitted with the old pull-through style (if belts were ordered as factory-installed equipment), and this original Ford-style belt can be seen in the Lincoln accessories brochures from those years. We can reasonably presume the Mercury models produced those two same model years conformed with Ford and Lincoln cars as far as seat belt availability.

Make-specific styled belts at FoMoCo didn't re-appear until the Lincoln-Mercury Division contracted with the re-formed Allan-Jervis Company to issue a newly-constructed series of quick-release seat belts with essentially the same design as in 1956, but with buckles of formed stainless or chromed mild sheet steel, presumably as a cost-cutting measure, although the newer Jervis-designed belts are also quite a bit more attractive than the original cast-aluminum ones. These belts have been found in four variants as installed on 1963 and early 1964 L-M products: the Ford oval logo, the "MERCURY" block letter logo, the "Continental" script logo, and the plain-buckled Rotunda type.

All previous FoMoCo-released seat belts were replaced starting January 1, 1964 by a quick-release belt from a new supplier (as yet unidentified), and this type of belt is what is commonly found on all Ford products for the calendar year 1964 and through the 1965 model year. While they all appear outwardly of the same basic design, there are three major styling variations. Some of these buckles have a distinctive stamped "rows-of-diamonds" pattern with an aluminum finish, and are nicknamed "gatorbacks." Others have a pebble-texture, and still others a smooth textured buckle surface. The latter two types were painted to match the color of the webbing. Floor-mounted seat belt retractors were included as standard equipment on Lincoln (and possibly Thunderbird) along with the new color-coordinated seat belts at that time. These belts also release by lifting at the front end of the buckle, but the releasing tab is larger, occupying most of the top surface of the belt buckle, as opposed to the Jervis design which used only a very narrow tab occupying only about 7/16" of length, but extending across nearly the entire width of the buckle at the end where the tongue is inserted.

In 1966, FoMoCo once again changed suppliers, and a newly-designed seat belt with a crushed leather textured buckle surface from the Jim Robbins Company was used for FoMoCo installations into the late 1960's until the three-point shoulder belts were introduced. These buckles appear to have color-coordinated plastic trim covering the buckle top surface, but I'll have to get a set in my hands to be able to tell for sure.

In the meantime, Allan-Jervis dissolved their relationship (or the Jervis interest was bought out) and the newly-merged Jeffrey-Allan Industries, Inc. began re-thinking the concept of quick-release seat belts starting around 1961. New patents applied for in 1963 led to the production of the JAI-100 seat belts (listed on page 6 of the state of Virginia approved seat belt list) which proved popular as low-cost replacement and after-market belts.

There, you still awake?? :D

gauss
Last edited by a58pacer on Wed 29. Feb 2012, 22:12, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Lincoln seat belt 1957-60

Post by Shelby#18 » Wed 16. Nov 2011, 13:15

I read it! Very good information. Thanks

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Re: Lincoln seat belt 1957-60

Post by a58pacer » Wed 16. Nov 2011, 14:19

Went and found a few more examples to look at, and edited the text regarding the Jan. 1, 1964 and later FoMoCo belt descriptions, if you're interested.

gauss

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Re: Lincoln seat belt 1957-60

Post by a58pacer » Thu 17. Nov 2011, 11:43

Still like to remind everybody about the main reason for the thread, and that is I need one, just one, OEM seat belt buckle and tongue (or even just the buckle) from a 1957 through 1960 Lincoln. It looks just like the Mercury one pictured above, but has no design stamped or cast into the surface of the buckle . .. it's just smooth. :!:

FordMELengine @ edsel.us (leave out the blanks)

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