Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

One of countless several reasons I can't drive my 20R-powered Austin-Healey Sprite on the street is the lack of seats. Junkyard, here I come! Thing is, it's tough to find good driver's seats.

You can usually find plenty of reasonably intact passenger-side seats at a wrecking yard, but I wanted a matching pair of buckets, narrow enough to fit the Sprite, with decent side support for the heavy G forces I'll be inducing with that oxcart highly sophisticated suspension, and in nice shape. Yes, that's pretty much impossible. But what's this? A 1991 Mazda Miata- a rare automatic-trans-equipped example- sitting among the Diamantes and Camrys in the import section of my local self-service junkyard… and the seats are just about perfect! They've even got the coveted headrest speakers, a real plus when you plan to install them in a rattly-ass British Leyland heap vintage sports car with a differential-shattering truck engine a spirited Japanese performance powerplant breathing through the cheapest glasspack I can find high-flow performance exhaust. Why didn't that driver's seat get snagged within 0.08 seconds of arrival on the yard?

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Here's why: the car had been T-boned, hard, on the driver's side, and the driver's door was mashed into the seat and preventing it from sliding forward enough to provide access to the seat mounting bolts; the buckled floor wasn't helping matters, either. I could see the evidence of previous attempts at seat removal, but none had been successful. However, I always bring three secret weapons to the junkyard: a prybar and my steel-toed boots. After two hours of alternating expletive-picked door-prying sessions from the outside with even-more-expletive-packed door-kicking sessions from the inside, I succeeded in mutilating the door metal sufficiently to push the seat several inches forward- just enough so that I could just barely sneak a 14mm open-end wrench into the safety-glass-cube-packed space under the seat and get it onto the bolt head. Several square inches of shredded knuckle skin later, I had started both bolts turning (thank you, Japanese manufacturers and your insistence on high-quality fine-pitch fasteners). After that, it was just a matter of following these simple steps:

1. Spend several minutes positioning the wrench so that it feels as though it might be seated on the bolt head. Scream curses at the uncaring junkyard gods as another shard of glass goes under your fingernail.
2. Using all 1/16" of the available space, loosen the bolt approximately 3°. Curse yourself for deciding, several hours ago, that it wasn't worth the trip home to fetch a sledgehammer to bash that goddamn door completely out of the way and make this a three-minute job.
3. Repeat Step 1 and Step 2 until Bolt 1 is removed. Start over with Bolt 2.


Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Eventually, I prevailed. The seats were mine! They fit very nicely in the Sprite, and the tracks should be easy to mount. Now if I can just finish building the entire wiring harness from scratch...

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS

Super-Clean Miata Seats At The Junkyard... But There's A CatchS