Rear head restraints for children in an MGBGTV8
There comes a time in every family man's life when the "child seat plus back seat" combination is no longer solvable in an MGBGTV8! Dave Wellings (Black 0974) from Yorkshire explains that when his daughter (at 4 years of age) sat in her child seat, there was barely half an inch clearance between the top of the seat and the roof - even on a smooth road! Clearly something had to be done in order to maintain cordial father-daughter relations! (May 91)

Switching to a child harness, the question was how to fit a rear head restraint (in my case centrally) without drilling umpteen holes in the body of the car. The answer is very simple.

Lift your spare wheel cover and peer into the furthest recesses. At the back of the boot, in a central position, you will see two threaded holes in a trapezoidal angled plate. These are suitable for the rear seat belt anchorages. The hinged edge of the boot platform is directly above these fixing locations and you will see there is a rebate which allows space for the rear seat belts to pass through. The secret is to simply have a plate made up with two holes to match the holes in the mounting plate onto which a post can be welded to pass through the hole in the boot platform. The post should be of such a size and section that a standard V8 headrest fits tightly over it.

I found a couple of heavy duty bolts which were cut to shape and welded to the plate side by side. The prefabricated bracket can then be bolted to the car using the ready tapped holes, which can be used for bottom anchorages for a child harness. With a little ingenuity, the child harness top mountings can be made at the same point as the inertia reels, meaning that no modifications need to be made to the car.

Finally the head restraint can be fitted over the top. If your mounting post is the right size, it will be tight enough to allow adjustment of the head restraint. As a final touch I have stuck some matching carpet around the restraint stalk to make it effectively invisible from behind. Two head restraints could be fitted, but it would necessitate a bracket from the inertia reel mounting point on one inner rear wing to the other, but certainly it can be done. However, I propose to stick with one head restraint for the foreseeable future!!

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Footnote from Victor Smith (Harvest Gold 1089)
Some fifteen years ago, I had to work through how to fit a Britax child seat in my MGBGTV8 when my two children were young. I found that by using the threaded bolt holes Dave Wellings mentions in his article for the lower seat fixings and attaching the top seat fixings to the main seat belt anchorages (but passing them around the seat belt recoil units), it could be done. As they got larger, I had to remove the rear seat to make more headroom and put a thick foam panel under the seat to absorb the bumps. My only word of caution is that I found my arrangement of the harnesses from the top of the child seat to the recoil units and then down to the anchorages, did put some pressure on the rear seat back. It made the side fixings (where you turn the seat squab lock to ensure it stays upright) loose so later I had to refix them with some packing to ensure I had a sound fixing again. As my children grew larger, I found that a Britax booster seat on the front seat of the MGBGTV8 with a strap to ensure the correct location of the seat belt on the child's shoulder, was an arrangement I much preferred than the installation of a child seat on the rear seat of my MGBGTV8. In any case any long journey was made in a family car to which the child seat fixing was directly in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

This V8 Workshop Note is 191 from Volume 5 of the series. Volumes 5 & 6, together with a free copy of the working draft of Volume 7, are available on CD in PDF format.

Safety caution: Clearly this note involves an installation that affects the safety of a child as a passenger in your MGBGTV8. You are strongly advised to seek the advice of a professionally qualified engineer before commissioning the installation to ensure the installation is considered suitable and safe, and if so that it has been satisfactorliy carried out. In publishing this note, the author, the V8 Register, its officers, and the MG Car Club give no warranties or reassurances as to the fitness for purpose or safety of the installation and cannot accept any liability arising from any accident, injury or death that may result from the use of any child seat installation based on this note.

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