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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Swiveling Seats

Deartháir September 21, 2010 Encyclopedia Hoonatica 54 Comments

This is a feature that is very common to add aftermarket. For that reason, we’re excluding that from the rules of this particular Hoonatica. Hey, Mr. Shanomi has stepped out for a day or two, and I’m stepping in as the substitute teacher. That means I get to make the rules. You can take any complaints up with him when he gets back.

Now specifically, we’re looking for swiveling driver’s seats, but we can be easily bribed.. You’ll frequently see this done on the aftermarket to facilitate ease of entry for handicapped drivers. What we want to know about is vehicles that got this feature from the factory. Think there weren’t many? Think again. There were a surprising number of them out there. Why… there must have been at least… five? Maybe even more!

DIFFICULTY: There’s the obvious low-hanging fruit, and then the difficulty skyrockets up from there. But I’ve left you wide open to a billion technicalities, so that should help.

Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

  • P161911

    The 1967-68 Imperial Mobile Directors Coupe.
    <img src=";

    Perfect for all your candlelight dinners.
    <img src=";

    • Number_Six

      Did that thing come with its own Mulberry pre-fab harbour?

      • P161911

        I used to have a '67 Imperial Convertible (PCH condition). It is about 2" LONGER than a Suburban. The rear fenders have to be some of the biggest stampings Detroit has done. The 2 door and 4 door shared the same floorpan.

    • dmilligan

      That looks cool as hell, but with my legs I'd never be able to swivel the seat with the door closed. Bummer.

  • Monte Carlo

    <img src=";

    • chrystlubitshi

      that was going to be my entry… and damned if it wasn't helpful in stock form… let alone air-bagged/hydraulics equipped customs….

      on a side note.. isn't the main benefit of this feature for "LOW HANGING FRUIT" (low riding cars)

  • Charles_Barrett

    Why stop at just the driver's seat? Why not swivel the entire passenger compartment?
    <img src="; width=500>

  • Number_Six

    I think virtually every Mopar in 1959/60 had the swivel bucket option. For sure the 1959 Coronet and 1960 Polara could be ordered with them.

    • I spotted a few Chrysler 300-letter cars with the option when browsing yesterday.

  • Chrysler minivans can come with swiveling mid-row seats. But that's too easy.

    So, I went to the land of the rising sun for a Honda Fit with a swiveling passenger seat.

    <img width="500" src=";

    (Image courtesy of )

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      I've seen two pink Fits in my life, now – but only one in person (a first-generation UK-market example with an ichthys on the hatch). Damn, though… why?

  • Also, Ford has a Mobility Motoring program that will fit in swivel seats and all sorts of doodads for mobility-challenged people. It's special order, but it is a factory option.

    <img width=500 src=";

    This seat comes from .

    • chrystlubitshi

      that appears to go above and beyond (or below and beyond… as the case may be).. not just swivel but lowering…

      • I'm an overachiever.

    • dmilligan

      That looks pretty nice; I'd like to have one. I'm not disabled, but I am lazy as hell. The wife would want one too.

  • raphaelinberlin

    ooh! ooh! I got one! I can't believe I really got one – well, it might not count because it was just a concept car, but I'm going to put it up anyway and just frown if I'm wrong. The Ford 021C Concept <img src="; width="500"> <img src="; width="500">

    • I'm terrified and intrigued. It looks like a Fisher Price-mobile.

      • Number_Six

        But imagine it as a small rear-drive coupe that wasn't done in primary-coloured plastics! It would be incredible.

        • dmilligan

          As long as they keep the Geordi LaForge headlight bar, yeah.

    • I loved that car and thought they should produce it. Obviously the interior would be changed, but the exterior styling was very retrofuturistic at the beginning of the retrofuture movement.

      • Could've been a very different mid-'00s for Ford.

        Though, the tricky part with retro designs is where you go next.

        IMO, the 05-09 Mustang is better looking than the '10++, as it's clear they didn't have an obvious "next gen"…although the '~69 Mustang is probably the closest. Hopefully the trend doesn't continue out to the Mustang II.

        Other examples of "what next?": the Challenger, T-bird, PT Cruiser and New Beetle.

    • tonyola

      The 021C looks like something out of an alternative history where East Germany still exists and this is a new Trabant planned to go into production in – oh, say – 2025 or so.

      • raphaelinberlin

        So here's some Trabi-oriented PAH! for you: <img src="; width="500"> it's the 2009 Trabant concept! I remember it getting a bunch of press in Germany at the time, like the Melkus revival that came out the same year. Anywho, what I meant to say was…that this whole thing on the Ford 021C has an interesting angle in that it's being presented as a real piece of modern art right now over in some Manhattan art gallery. …

  • A feature I never realized was ever available.

  • The first generation Renault Espace had this feature, shaming Chrysler's Swivel'n Go middle row and the newest Clio's optional swiveling passenger seat.
    <img src="; width="500">
    /harder to confirm than I thought

  • ptschett

    On the New Holland bidirectional tractor the seat, steering column, and control console are mounted on a structure which can swivel 180 degrees so the operator can choose which end of the tractor is forward.

    <img src=";

    • chrystlubitshi

      always good to have a couple of different positions to plow in 😉

      • That's what she said.

  • The Fiat 1200 TV
    <img src="; width="400">

  • verbing

    Someone with better script-fu may have to add a pic to prove it, but it seems like I've never seen buckets in a 4th-gen El Camino that didn't swivel.

    • verbing

      <img src="; width=500>

  • Unfortunately, I think the swivel seat is a JDM only option. Bastards.

    The Fit, though, is a pretty decent little runabout. I would not hate you for getting one.

    • chrystlubitshi

      i would do what i could to order a JDM seat/mount… or two… and thanks for your approval… it'll be quite a while before i get rid of the thundervan though.. and i'm not sure my wife would be okay with me adding a 4th car to our little collection

  • Hmmm… I struggled with this one, until I focused on the term "factory", heh-heh-heh.

    I have no idea what the bare chassis came with from Dodge (if anything), but these swivel captain's chairs came standard from the COACH factory. Woot! They swivel all the way around, giving a bunch of extra room in the RV and an extra pair of chairs to park your drunken ass upon after cruising the pits at Lemons.

    And just like Lemons, it's not cheating if you can interpret the rules in a logical and creative way.

    (Only picture I can find at the moment, taken at Sear's Point no less)

    <img src=";

  • OA5599

    I recalled seeing the Corvair Ultravan on this site a few days ago and I reminded myself that many motorhomes have front seats that face forward while motoring, but can be turned around while camping.

    <img src=";

  • OA5599

    Do barstool racers count?
    <img src=";

    • You win.

    • Mr_Biggles

      You might not have received full points if it had only had 4 wheels.

    • Deartháir

      Normally I'd say no, but I'm granting that one a pass on sheer awesomitudinality.

  • Slow Joe Crow

    "Colonnade" style GM cars from the early 70s
    <img src=";

  • Apparently a few VW T1s left the factory with a swiveling driver seat.
    <img src="; width="500" />

    • Feds_II

      Van =T2… I know you just fat-fingered it.

      • Deartháir

        Nope. The van was the Type 2. The first generation, aka "The Splitty" is called the T1. The "Bay" or "Bay Window" second gen is the T2, and the boxy uglier things — both air- and water-cooled — are called the T25.

        • Feds_II

          Ahhhh, the difference being that T is not short for Type… I stand totally corrected,

    • Many others wound up with swiveling driver seats after three of the seat mounts broke.

      • You mean that wasn't the factory setup? Huh.

  • P161911

    I'm pretty sure most of the Divco trucks had swivel seats.
    <img src=";

  • IronBallsMcG

    Chevelle Laguna S-3
    <img src=";

  • Maymar

    I started off convinced the Thunderbird had them at some point (either the Bullet Birds or Square Birds), but I couldn't find any concrete evidence. And then I was lead to the Toyota Van (which I'm shocked the Redusernab Hive Mind didn't already arrive at), but couldn't find a picture of it.

    So here's a Previa.
    <img src="; /img>

    • TurboBrick

      T-bird! Yes! See my post below! You have no idea what a relief it is to know that a) we're right or b) I'm not the only one that's hallucinating!

    • salguod

      Squarebirds, for sure not. Can't say definitively on the Bulletbirds, but I don't think so. You may be remembering the slide away steering column of the Flair birds ('64-'66). That's another good one for a future post.

  • TurboBrick

    I am damn sure that Bullet Birds had this feature too, I have this recollection of seeing one with a swivel seat & swing-a-way steering wheel. I just can't find any supporting evidence for it.

    It seems that this accessory really belongs with the 70's GM A-body coupe. Since we've gone through all the other ones, here's a commercial for an 1975 Olds Cutlass. Check out the reversible seat cushions, goes from vinyl to cloth like magic!
    [ _a7Bticl8UQ ]

    • salguod

      I almost bought a ragged '75 Hurst Olds with these seats. Cool car, but it was trashed. Needed a complete interior, among other things.

  • dukeisduke

    You can add the '59 Chryslers. From "The Forward Look" era.

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