Replacing the stock MGB GT seats with Mazda Miata seats

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Due to safety concerns I’ve decided it’s worth replacing the original 1967 MGB GT seats (the ones without headrests) with some Mazda Miata seats. While I know that not everyone is into this type of conversion the change can be made easily and at any time the original seats can be reinstalled into the car. (click on the images for higher resolution photos)

The first generation Mazda Miata seats fit the older MGB’s the best and I managed to find a pair of 1991 seats that are in reasonable shape. The cloth is a little worn on the drivers side but at some point they may get redone in leather or something closer to the stock MG look. The black Mazda Miata isn’t really black.

The original 1967 MGB GT seats
The original 1967 MGB GT seats

Getting the old seats out requires removing 4 bolts for each seat, a relatively easy job although the one under the seat where the adjuster is can be tough. I next temporarily dropped the Mazda Miata seat into the cabin to check fit and seat movement. I’ve read in a number of places where people have switched the driver and passenger seats so that the adjustment handles are near the tunnel but overall I found that in my car I have full fore and aft movement and this won’t be required. Amazingly, the bolt holes almost line up. They don’t line up however but it will be easy to make an adapter plate.

Temporarily fitting the Mazda Miata seats in my 1967 MGB GT. The colour doesn't match very well!
Temporarily fitting the Mazda Miata seats in my 1967 MGB GT. The colour doesn’t match very well!

Only a few changes have to be made to the Mazda Miata seats. The bolt hole areas at the end of the runners need to be bent straight as they are at an angle in the Miata. You can see this in the photo below. After removing the runners it was very easy to slip them into a vice and straighten them out. There is also a locating pin that needs to be removed.

Mazda Miata seat ready for modification
Mazda Miata seat ready for modification
Mazda Miata seat ready for modification. You can see the bent bolt hole area on the runner plus the locating pin
Mazda Miata seat ready for modification. You can see the bent bolt hole area on the runner plus the locating pin

The metal on the runners is surprisingly soft so bending them in a vice was very easy. I was a little careful to try and get them straight the first time as bending them back and forth over and over will start to weaken the metal. Removing the locating pins was easily accomplished with a hack saw. I originally started to grind them off but this didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Again, with the soft steel, it took about a minute to remove the pin with the hack saw. I did take a grinder and clean up the cut.

You can see the bend in the runner in this photo
You can see the bend in the runner in this photo
You can see the bend in the runner in this photo
It’s very easy to bend straight
Using a hack saw to remove the locating pin from the Mazda Miata seat runner
Using a hack saw to remove the locating pin from the Mazda Miata seat runner

After cleaning up the runners and removing a small amount of rust I sprayed the “worked” ends with black paint to cover any exposed steel. Reinstalling the runners only takes a few minutes and the Mazda Miata seats are ready to go. The next step, making the adapter plates. I’ll cover that in the next installment.

PS

The adapter plates that I’ll be making are similar to the ones in this seat replacement right up http://www.jimmcglynn.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/projects/2011mx5seats/index.html

My GT is temporarily on vacation and I’ll be finishing the installation in April.

Mazda Miata seat runner ready to paint
Mazda Miata seat runner ready to paint
Runners painted and reinstalled on the Miata seats. They are now ready for adapter plates
Runners painted and reinstalled on the Miata seats. They are now ready for adapter plates

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