Day 19: Adding Simpson Belts and Parachute

Safety should always be on your mind when you a build any type of race car. For our Project Grandma, the little old 1000+ hp lady from Pasadena who we expect to run 8s on the quarter mile, we needed to add a nice set of restraints and a parachute to make sure our driver – and our car – make it back to the pits in one piece. To we sourced famous safety-supplier Simpson to supply some of the safety gear for our car.

When it comes to keeping your butt strapped in, the name Simpson goes hand in hand with it. For keeping our driver where he belongs, we picked up a set of their Camlock Pull Down Restraints with the wrap around top straps.

There are several different styles of belts that Simpson offers, and in both 5-pt and 6-pt configurations. When trying to decide between the latch style of the camlock, you really need to try both and see what makes you more comfortable. We prefer the Camlock because it’s easier (in our opinion) to snap in the belts to the camlock buckle, and we find it simpler to flip the Cam release than the Latch.

However, many oval track racers and drag racers use the latch and prefer it’s simplicty and less working parts.

In our case, the Simpson Camlock buckle is full CNC machined for precision quality from aircraft billet aluminum alloy. Hardened steel tumblers lock the stainless steel belt and harness tabs into the buckle with a quick snap.

While Simpson offers a few color choices such as red and blue, we stuck with classic black. Just call Grandma old fashioned.

Simpson Camlock Seat Belts

  • Individual harness wrap around
  • Polyester webbing
  • Platinum color available!

In terms of the installation, because we had moved the driver’s seat, we could not use the OEM mounting points for the seat belts. Using the OEM points can make things easier, but in our case, it was out.

To make our own, we welded three 6 x 6 plates to the rocker panels, and then to the floor, of our G-Body to mount the restraints including the sub belt. The top two slid around the roll cage just behind the seat to finish off the install. Simpson is a big-believer in 6 pt harnesses, and we’re likely going to move to that system before long.

We really like these Simpson polyester webbed belts — they were simple to install, simple to use. With only one quick flick of the wrist, the driver can have the belts off and be out of the car in case of an emergency. Unlike the older style cam-lock that required you to turn the release handle, this set up features a pull tab that you yank up to release the belts.

For picking your restraints, be sure to do your homework before you build the car. There are specific ways that Simpson requires you mount the belts, depending on which system you go with. Consult Simpson’s website or tech line for the most up to date information.

For helping to stop the car at the end of the track, we went with Simpson’s Skyjacker Drag Chute. This 10’ chute was designed to slow cars reaching the 200 MPH mark making it more than enough to stop Grandma, even if she is a little bit of the heavy side. The cute comes packed in a nylon pack that seems like it will last for seasons to come.

For your car, Simpson says that their 10 foot chute is fine for most cars going under 200 MPH, if you will be going faster than than, Simpson recommends their 12 foot chute that is good up to 300 MPH.


We already had the mount for the chute installed so all we had to do is pack it up and tie it in. We ran the cable from the back of the car to the passenger compartment where we had already installed the release handle a while back.

For Project Grandma, all we have left to show you is how we wired the car and installed a few other things, check back later for more updates!

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About the author

Tom Bobolts

Tom started working for Power Automedia in early 2008 at the young age of 20. Starting off as an intern spinning wrenches in the PowerTV garage, Tom cut his teeth helping us build the very project cars we feature. Since moving inside the office, most of his time is spent writing and shooting installs - but he still finds time to get out in the shop. Outside of work, Tom enjoys a variety of different motorsports from Street Bikes, Muscle Cars and just about anything that demands high amounts of horsepower.
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