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Who believes that a W in the VIN of a 72 El Camino validates it as a true SS model?

  • Yes

    Votes: 12 36.4%
  • Not reliably

    Votes: 10 30.3%
  • Bunk

    Votes: 6 18.2%
  • Proven otherwise

    Votes: 5 15.2%

  • Total voters
    33
  • Poll closed .
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Discussion Starter #1
I have an early 72 SS El Camino bench seat with a partial seatbelt set. There are long shoulder belts with tongues mounted on the sail pannels; Retractors with tongues at each door; black plastic buckles mounted on the tunnel. There is no way to interconnect the shoulder belts, and I am not sure they are the originals. Can anyone tell or show me what is correct for this model?
 

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Ministry of Broke Things
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There should be a lug on the shoulder belt that attaches to the lap belt buckle before you latch it. Latching it secures the shoulder belt to the lap belt. If the lap belt and the shoulder belt do not have the right hardware to do this, someone may have changed the lap belts to an incompatable type. Post a picture or two of what you have, as I'm litterally taking a stab in the dark as to what you have.
 

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Deputy Director Region 3 NJ Participating Member
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I picked up a box of seat belts at Englishtown Swap Meet last Friday, has both sets for bench and buckets in it, dated late '71.

Let me get it sorted out and I'll take some pictures to post......give me a few days.
 

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Deputy Director Region 6 - Supporting Member
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Here is a pick of some. The shoulder belts are on the Right and fasten into the lap belt next to them. Those things were belly pinchers!

:beer:
 

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Deputy Director Region 3 NJ Participating Member
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Randy,

How much different are the bucket and bench setups?

Is it just the center's that are different? I think the outer portion of the lap and shoulders are the same for bench and bucket?

Bruce
 

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It should be the same (inner and outer). Those optional shoulder straps hang in hooks at the headliner over each window and hook to the different outside lap belt piece as shown. Other 3rd gen lap belts are from the Left in that pic above. Sitting on my 72 seat.

:beer:
 

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I posted these pictures in another thread some time ago, but no idea where. Here's how the belts join up on my '72.



 

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Discussion Starter #9
From these pics I see that mine are something entirely different. My shoulder straps have a standard tongue, to mate with a buckle. The retractable belt tongues are also just standard. A previous owner may have changed out belly-pinchers for something else. The shoulder belts could mate to another buckle, but there isn’t one. Nor is there a canter passenger set; if accommodation was made for a canter passenger. The distinguishable labels on the belts are dated 71. I’d be thrilled to get hold of the truly correct ones, if I could just determine what they are. Thanks for all your input; look forward to hearing more
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I meant centre passenger. Do the shoulder belts have retractors or something to adjust belt length when deployed?
 

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Ministry of Broke Things
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The original (optional) shoulder belts did not have a retractor as modern cars do. They do have a manual slide adjuster that you have to adjust before you buckle it to fit.
 

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What I think the W in a VIN means.

All genuine SS vehicles from 1966 - 1968 have an "8" as
the third digit of the VIN. A "W" indicates a true SS LS5 454 V-8 4bbl engine. Anyway that was my understanding from what I have read on the internet.

PFlo :beer:
 

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Oh, and 72 SS models have a "W" as the 5 digit in the VIN. I need to read/research more to verify other SS models.

PFlo :beer:
 

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All genuine SS vehicles from 1966 - 1968 have an "8" as
the third digit of the VIN. A "W" indicates a true SS LS5 454 V-8 4bbl engine. Anyway that was my understanding from what I have read on the internet.

PFlo :beer:
Partially correct!

The "W" in the VIN indicates a 454, a "U" indicates a 402, not true that they are automatically an "SS" optioned vehicle, just that they had those motors installed from the factory.
 

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Partially correct!

The "W" in the VIN indicates a 454, a "U" indicates a 402, not true that they are automatically an "SS" optioned vehicle, just that they had those motors installed from the factory.
I dont believe the 454 was available without the 'SS' package and therefore the W would indicate an SS, the 'U' being a 402 was available without the SS option and thus wouldnt necessarily indicate an SS equipped vehicle.
 

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I dont believe the 454 was available without the 'SS' package and therefore the W would indicate an SS, the 'U' being a 402 was available without the SS option and thus wouldnt necessarily indicate an SS equipped vehicle.
I second that. Usually the factory frowned upon what appeared to be their own lower-optioned(cheaper) models outperforming their own high-performance, more expensively-optioned models. "Why buy an expensive SS model, if you could just plunk down a couple hundred extra bucks and check the box for the SS's motor and have the same thing, basically?" was the thinking they did not want...
 

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That may have been the "policy" you feel was in place but I have seen at least 2 LS5 optioned vehicles without the SS option. They were both "W" coded VIN's.
 

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From these pics I see that mine are something entirely different. My shoulder straps have a standard tongue, to mate with a buckle. The retractable belt tongues are also just standard. A previous owner may have changed out belly-pinchers for something else. The shoulder belts could mate to another buckle, but there isn’t one. Nor is there a canter passenger set; if accommodation was made for a canter passenger. The distinguishable labels on the belts are dated 71. I’d be thrilled to get hold of the truly correct ones, if I could just determine what they are. Thanks for all your input; look forward to hearing more
The shoulder belts that hook into the lap belt before you buckle it are a nightmare and take three hands to get buckled-up. The separate lap and shoulder belts are easier to put on and adjust, but whatever you have- wear them. Back in college, I totaled my 69 el Camino and fortunately I was wearing both the lap and shoulder belts and walked away with only bruises from the belts. The other driver was in a 1981 Ford LTD an:cool3:d was not buckled up and had serious facial and spinal injuries. Those older belts may not be as comfortable as newer ones, but they work.
 

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You Ain't Kidding!

Seat belts DO work to mitigate injuries in automobile crashes! I was fortunate to lead the vehicle and occupant crash force reconstruction analysis of a major occupant safety study for the NTSB back in the 80s. So I can speak with some authority on the subject. Our study led to the requirement of lap/shoulder, 3-point restraint systems at all seating positions in most light-duty passenger vehicles.

One of the major problems today is that some feel the air bag in their vehicle will save them - WRONG! They can help with some head and chest injuries when used alone - maybe - but lower extremities are in real danger. Air bags are defined as SRSs - Supplemental Restraint Systems - and, as such, only work at their maximum effectiveness when used in combination with the lap/shoulder restraint. So please, buckle up and be the safest you can!

I installed 3-point lap/shoulder belts in my '68 SS. The mounting holes are present in El Caminos manufactured in 66 and later models, whether they came with shoulder belts or not. You can easily mount a D-ring anchor (where the shoulder belt hangs) in any model when you're replacing the headliner. It's a cheap modification that will pay for itself many times over if you're involved in a collision or, and especially, a rollover..............Ken
 
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