by Phil Downs
Personal SAFETY dictated the necessity to install retractable 3-point safety belts in my 1956 Jeep, for the SAFETY of the driver and right front seat passenger.
California law did not require safety belts in vehicles until January 1, 1962; older model vehicles, such as my 1956 Jeep CJ-3B, were not grandfathered into that law. However, having spent nearly 33 years of my life in law enforcement (30 of them with the California Highway Patrol), there is no question in my mind about the personal safety value of safety belts in vehicles. Hence, I searched out and installed modern day retractable 3-point safety belts in my Jeep.
I bought the belts I used from SeatbeltPlanet.com (phone 855-736-0088) at a cost of $90.00 each.
The safety belts were easily anchored to the Jeep's body and roll bar (see photo). The rear retractor is welded to the roll bar which is bolted in 5 places (both sides) with 2-inch steel backing plates. I also used 2-inch steel backing plates at all body anchor points. There is room between the front seats for both of the buckle anchors.
The safety belts are as comfortable and functional as any 3-point system in today's modern vehicles, and I am particularly pleased that the safety belt system is unobtrusive and does not distract from the antiquity of my vintage 1956 Jeep. Yet, it provides the safety value of anchoring one's body in place in response to unexpected vehicle movements from rough terrain or outside force intrusion.
Happiness is 4-wheeling in safety.
Thanks to Phil Downs for documenting his upgrade. Also on CJ3B.info, see Phil's California 3B. -- Derek Redmond
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