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The correct driving position

So, Ghia’s are small.  I’m big.  I need seating that fits the car and is “big man friendly” as my ex-special forces brother-in-law says.  Kevin got the Audi S4 Recaro seats in this week and did a mock fitting in the Ghia.

Audi S4 Recaro – fresh off the truck

At this point, Kevin is saying that the seats are too big for the car.   Before the build I told Kevin that I wanted my armpits to be about the same height as the door sill but I didn’t realize just how tall the Audi Recaro’s would be.  We both had planned to run the seats without headrests to match the seats from the ’59 era, but they are still a bit tall because of all the power motors and frame under the seat.    Kevin is 6′ and he only had about an inch of headroom when seating and the steering wheel was very low and between his legs.  Not good.

So, I researched the proper driving positions and thought about solutions to the seat problem (really trying to protect my investment in leather Audi S4 Recaro seats!).  Here’s the run down:

  1. I thought about swapping the steering column for one that was both telescopic and adjustable.   I’ll need to talk to Kevin about this option.   Considering something custom from Borgenson.
  2. A smaller steering wheel?  Not sure if I want to look like a kid driving a go cart – even if it does have 300HP+ and does 0-60 in 4.2secs..  Still would have the height problem.
  3. Getting different seats and measure this time!   Back on eBay the Audi Recaro’s would go. ;(
  4. Make the current seats work.  This would require custom fab work.  Kevin suggested maybe dropping the pan were the seat go about 4 inches. We could also remove the motors and such from under the seat, but we don’t have manual adjusters so that’s sort of pointless to try.   I was also thinking that we could lob off half of the first bottom cushion section to free up some space, but that doesn’t solve the height issue.

Mockup of the Recaro in the Ghia


Notes on the proper driving position as summarized from Porsche Club of America (Yellowstone Region) page:

  • You get better cornering and performance by having a low center of gravity. So the first order of business is to place the driver in the seat as low as possible. There are other benefits like chassis feedback so go read the page for complete details.
  • The distance between the pedals and the seat should allow your knee to maintain some bend.  A fully extended leg will not provide the leverage you need for braking and/or clutch work.  And, you don’t want the steering column interfering with your leg movement.
  • With your back squarely against the seat, the wrists of your arms should rest on the top of the steering wheel.  Your hands should be able to drop over the steering wheel naturally.  You can move/adjust the rear angle of the seat until you get this right.
  • Hand position should be a 9 and 3 o’clock with thumbs on the inside steering wheel spokes.  Also, make sure that all gauges are visible.

So, I think we will need to continue with other parts of the build until I can get out to the shop for a more precise fitment.

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