Ditch The Bench, Make With The Wrench: Installing Procar Rally Seats

When we picked up this clapped-out ’72 Monte Carlo, the clean interior was one of the only real selling points. It was in great shape for its age, and served its purpose. But, as horsepower increased, so did the need for better seats. Read on and see how we changed things for the better using a set of reclining buckets from Procar.

Rough around the edges…Just like us.

The Monte originally had a small-block 350, and the bench-seat did fine for the most part – cruising isn’t really that demanding. But, with a 383 stroker swapped in, we started running into some problems. 

While the original interior wasn’t going to win any awards for cleanliness, it was in surprisingly good shape for it’s age.

The first-generation Monte Carlo was touted as the “businessman’s muscle car”. As such, it was a well-optioned and comfortable car for its day. However, these big A-bodies were never known for great handling characteristics, so the floating feeling you get when moving around a corner is drastically increased when you’re sliding across a vinyl bench seat.

We knew we needed to upgrade to some buckets, but we didn’t want to lose the look of our factory interior. Bucket seats were a factory option on the first-generation Monte Carlos, but lacked the bolstering we need for any kind of performance driving. 

Enter Procar. Procar is a subsidiary of SCAT Enterprises. You know – the ones responsible for all the crankshafts, connecting rods, and rotating assemblies you love. Well, they also offer high-quality seats at an affordable price. 

We gave them a call, and filled them in on our project. The folks at Procar assured us, this is not a new issue. They receive calls like this all the time, and they have just the thing. We broke down our needs, and discussed a few options. Ultimately, we landed on a set of its Rally seats. 

According to Procar’s website “The Rally features stylish, vertical stitching for a vintage look and comes with substantial side bolstering for added support and comfort. The Rally series comes with a smooth back or complete vertical stitching, with or without a headrest, and is also offered in UV-protected and waterproof canvas material for off-roaders.”

The Rally seats are great for us because they meet all of our criteria. We knew from the get-go, our Monte was going to be a budget street/strip car. Pulling double-duty requires seats that can handle both long hauls, and quick bursts down the track. 

The Rally seats do exactly that. With aggressive bolstering on the upper and lower portions, they have no trouble holding you in place during lateral G’s, or when you’re just cruising. Ask us how we know…Donuts anyone? 

Some added benefits are the fact they are extremely comfortable for the amount of bolstering they have. We’ve sat in many “racing” seats that cause fatigue after an hour or so in the cockpit. The fatigue typically comes from not being able to recline, or just the hard materials they are made out of, in general. 

The Rally seats are part of Procar’s Recliner line, which includes 22 other models ranging in style from “period correct” to more “racey” offerings – several of them feature provisions for harnesses. The Rally’s we selected fall somewhere in between the two. 

In our opinion, the reasons the Rally seat is Procar’s most popular model are three-fold. First, they look the part. Take our Monte Carlo for example – while the pleat pattern on the Rally differs slightly, it does pay a certain homage to GM’s factory styling from back in the day. 

Second, they offer performance in a comfortable package. Take it from us, we logged some serious miles in these seats right after we installed them. We prepped the car to make the trek from So Cal up to Nor Cal, and on to Las Vegas for SEMA 2018. The whole way we took bumpy, backroads, went around mountains, across desert, and through city traffic  – the seats were comfortable, and held us in place the whole way. 

Lastly, they come in at an astounding price-point! This one was a big deal for us. As we previously mentioned, the Monte build has been budget-oriented from the start, and the Rally seats start at $397.00 a piece! That is in their vinyl form, but Procar also offers them in leather, canvas, velour, and houndstooth to meet the many needs of its customers. 

We elected to go with the leather option which did increase the price, but we felt the durability, longevity, and mounting options more than justified the cost. The universal nature of the Rally seats affords us the ability to put these in another car sometime in the future – all we will need is the vehicle-specific mounting brackets – which Procar offers. 

While the Monte isn’t fast enough to require dedicated racing seats in its current form, you never know what the future holds…hint,hint. When…er…if that happens, these seats can find another life in one of our other project cars. That’s the beauty of these seats, they look right at home in a variety of classics, and they feel even better!

Follow along below as we show you how our install went. It was very straight forward, and Procar provides simple instructions. 

The first step of the install was to remove the factory bench seat. This required the removal of four mounting bolts (two on either side). The bench was out within a matter of minutes.

With the old seat out, you can see how much room there is inside of a first-gen Monte Carlo. We took some time to clean up our workspace – not too bad for almost 50-year-old carpet.

Next, we got our seat sliders ready to go on our seats.

This was probably the most difficult part of the install. Moving the sliders back and forth to get to the mounting holes proved quite the task with the seats out of the car. We found the use of a rubber mallet to “massage” the rails back and forth worked pretty well to get them mounted on the seats.

After we mounted the rails to the seats, we had to mount the seat brackets to the car. Since each seat requires four anchor points, we had to drill some holes through the floor. Using the stock holes left by the bench seat as a template, we placed our bracket over top of them and marked where the new holes needed to be. We trimmed the carpet with a razor and drilled through.

Next, we connected the wire which allows the seat sliders to be adjusted and mounted the slider bracket to the sliders – the seat was ready to go in. The seat brackets also feature three different mounting holes to adjust for height. Our Monte has pretty good headroom, so we chose to mount them in the highest position.

Since we used the brackets as a template, the seats dropped right in. We secured them with new hardware after coating the new holes with some anti-rust spray.

While Procar doesn’t offer a “ready-made” rear seat option for the Monte Carlo, it does offer a vinyl cover that matches the front Rally seats. With a little elbow grease, we used the cover to revive our old rear seat (pictured).

We started by removing the old cover, cotton, and jute from the old seat, leaving just a frame. We then coated the frame with a rust inhibitor, and proceeded to cut new foam for the seat. It went together quite nicely. The seat cover then slipped on over the foam, and we used hog rings and hog ring pliers to secure it.

The rear seats went in easily. They just lift right out, and putting them back with the new covers on really tied the interior together. We installed the rear cover in winter, and they fit well, but we expect the small amount of wrinkles we got to go away once the weather heats up and the vinyl becomes more pliable.

Now that’s a cockpit ready for driving! Beats the hell out of the old bench seat, that’s for sure.

Did we mention the level of adjustment on these seats is awesome? We can fully recline them into a laying-down position. That’s more than we could say about that old bench.

After logging over a couple-thousand miles in these seats, we can honestly say they are a great value. They went in easily – we’d call this a “three beer job.” Honestly, a couple of buddies could knock this out in a couple of hours. They instantly transformed our interior, gave us some much needed room and adjustment for long trips, and added bolstering for when we want to mash the skinny pedal.

If you’d like to know more about the Rally seats, or the rest of what Procar offers, check out its website, here.

 

About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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