Take a Seat, Please


Finding correct seats seems to be almost as much of a problem as replacing rusted body panels, when you begin a Jeep restoration. Often the original seats have been replaced with bucket seats sometime in the past forty years. And lots of CJ-3B owners (especially those with children) are looking for a rear seat, because typically the Jeeps were originally purchased without one. Many buyers of the economy-model 3B seemed to be willing to order the optional front passenger seat, but felt that the rear seat was an unnecessary luxury, or perhaps a hindrance during the workday.

CJ-3B body tubThis CJ-3B body tub photo from the 1965 Jeep Universal Service Manual shows the optional front and rear passenger seats, in addition to the driver's seat. (But note that the illustration is out of date and incorrectly shows the early-style seats which were no longer in use in the 1960s. The picture appears to have been retouched to show the post-1956 instrumentation and the post-1961 parking brake handle, but the front seats are still the type found only in 1950s Jeeps.)

The factory installation of the rear seat is also visible in the photo -- pins on the rear legs of the seat which slipped into spring clips mounted under the floor (8K JPEGs). Combined with tabs on the front legs (8K JPEG), which slip under metal straps, this made the seat fairly easy to install and remove. All CJ-3Bs are ready for the bolt-on spring clips -- there are 2 knockouts in place on vehicles without rear seats installed.

Early Front Seats

Driver's seat early Most 1950s CJ-3Bs had front and rear seats similar to the CJ-3A, with the driver's seat mounted on a frame attached to the floor in front of the gas tank. These were probably used until early in the 1957 model year, when the old 3A-style dashboard instrumentation was also replaced by a single instrument cluster.

This photo shows the seat in Lawrence Wade's '55 (reuphostered in a tan rather than the original grey). See also a rear view (100K JPEG).

Passenger seat earlyThe front passenger seat in early CJ-3Bs tilted forward for access to the toolbox below it and to the rear cargo area or seat. The legs projected forward like the driver's seat, so the hinges mounted at the front of the toolbox. See a rear view (100K JPEG) and the rear support bracket (80K JPEG).

See also a detail photo showing olive drab paint (30K JPEG) used on some seat frames.

Later Front Seats

Driver's seat mount lateThe later front seats were similar to those which had appeared in the early CJ-5 (130K JPEG). I don't have the exact date when this change was made. The driver's seat attached to the side of the body at the driver's door opening, rather than to the floor. The 1965 Universal manual has a diagram showing adjustment of the seat by unbolting it and moving it to another of the three holes.

See additional photos of 1959 driver's seat: right side mount (60K JPEG) and rear mount (50K JPEG).

Bracket See also the measurements (170K JPEG) of the bracket supporting the left side of the seat. The stock is 3/16" (2mm) thick and 1-1/8" (30mm) wide. The holes are 3/8" (8.5mm).

Passenger  seat hinge lateThe front passenger seat in late CJ-3Bs also tilted forward for access, but the hinges were mounted further back on the toolbox.

See more 1959 passenger's seat photos: seat removed (60K JPEG) and rear support bracket (60K JPEG).

1963The new seats were fully upholstered -- the upper cushion was sewn to the lower cushion and enclosed the seat frame -- and had a slightly curved back. Jim Allen's photo of this 1963 CJ-3B shows this "bucket" seat design.

See also CJ-3B Upholstery on CJ3B.info.

Bench Seat

1964Some CJ-3Bs were sold with a 60/40 split front bench seat. The passenger side folded forward for rear access. See more photos of the seats in Steve Childers' 1964 CJ-3B (right) which are apparently reupholstered:

There was also an original Jeep center jumpseat designed to fit between the front seats. See CJ-3B Number 9.

Rear Seat

Rear seatThis Barcelona Red back seat looks pretty comfortable compared to the seat used on the CJ-2A. The bottom cushion of a CJ-2A rear seat (10K JPEG) was thinner, and attached to the tubes by a flap screwed into the inner side of the tube.

On a CJ-3A/3B rear seat the bottom cushion is the same thickness as the upper cushion and attaches to the bottom tube with screws around the outside of the tube as on the top cushion. See also a rear view (30K JPEG).

The 3B seat is similar to a CJ-5 rear seat, but has a different system for mounting it in the Jeep. For more details, see Rear Seats: CJ-2A through CJ-5.

Thanks to Clifton Clark, Bruce Mygatt, Lawrence Wade, Rusty Friesen and the other photographers. -- Derek Redmond

See also CJ-3B Upholstery and Re-Covering Jeep Seats on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 15 November 2023 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond