Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Paint, body preparation and modification, interior work and electrical
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bertvorgon
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Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:08

Back in the late 70's, when I started to run real race slicks, it did not take me too long to realize that the stock seat had to go. I already had put a competition style lap belt in, but, out at the old Boundry Bay Airport, the corners were so large of a radius, at high speed, the G forces got up there, finding myself sliding in the seat, and, holding onto the steering wheel for support, a real no-no. A lineal slalom there could be run at 60 MPH, so the back and forth movement was huge. My car was approaching 1G. capability then and was only going to get better.

At the time and this was just as I met Andy at Specialty, to have a race seat in your 510 was a BIG deal. You were a real racer then! I was hanging out at a performance parts shop in Richmond, called Piranha Motorsports. They carried a lot of real race stuff, and were one of the original Panasport dealers here. ( I still have my 13" Panasports, as light as the "race" ones now) A lot of the Solo crowd at the time based out of there, so there was lots of camaraderie. One of the fellows, Bill YearWood, who now heads up the Air crash investigation branch, flew for Okanagan Helicopters. One of his "perks" was to take us for rides in the Jet Ranger, heading out to Boundry Bay and buzzing the runway at 150MPH, 20 feet off the deck...then pull up as hard as the copter would stand ( and us )......WHAT A RUSH! Then we would fly up to Grouse Mountain, and race the gondola down to Capilano dam.

Piranha finally had some good seats come in, so I bought my first and only race seat. I wanted something that was quite light, a good head rest area, no straight down sides, and, the most important part, was not too big for my behind. I'm a small guy, so it took some time for a seat to show up at the shop, that actually was just a perfect fit, let alone all the other criteria. I also wanted a good solid frame, and, as it turned out, it was very easy to make a sub-frame to weld onto the Datsun 510 slider mechanism. Two fold reason for that. As I had instructed solo schools for some years, I quickly learned that even the thickness of different shoes can make a difference in all the pedal travel issues. So, I wanted to be able to go back and forth a few clicks, from race shoes to thicker runners. Fortunately, the clicks on the 510 seat adjust are actually quite small. We spent some time to get the height right, which I fine tuned with my own seat cushion thickness. I lucked out that the back angle was perfect and the bum to back of the knee length was good. All part of getting your seating position spot on. I have watched Andy spend hours getting seating positions right in a lot of race cars.

After a season or two of slaloming, I took the side of the seat apart and dropped the side bolster down a hair, as I found my elbows did not have enough room to swing. Likely ok for road racing, but, with the aggressive steering required for tight solo use, they just got in the way at times.
After 33+ years of solo, road race, hill climbing and a ton of street miles, it was starting to have a few issues. The seat belt openings were loose and pulled away from the original glue. The back rest had really softened up, to the point that my lower shoulder blades were just starting to touch part of the inner frame. To top it all off, the seat never had any real lumbar support, so after these many years, there was ZERO down there. Our 500 mile drives now really make me feel my lower back lumbar area.
That takes me to my spring project, re-do the seat. I also wanted to fill the seat belt hole in the head rest area, as I never used it. Another part of the re-do was to incorporate the Specialty Turbo Turtle logo and have it sewn into the seat back.

This takes us to the Turbo Turtle. Back when Andy started his business, he would take mundane street cars and turn them into monsters, totally hidden in the outside shell. Local's will know of the legendary Datsun 1200, of which I have ridden in, my first lessen on what a real turbo car can do. SCARE THE S*#T out of you!!! Over the years many cars rolled out of the shop, all monsters in their own way, the Proverbial Turtle that kicked the hell out of the hare. Andy came up with the idea of a turbo on the turtle, which is pretty much as it was then, maybe some fine tuning over the years. An artist friend of his did the graphic, fellow named Crazy Randall. It has graced the hood of many race cars and lives on to this day. Over the years, many articles of clothing have had it sewn on or silk screened, which again takes me to part of the spring project.

Years ago, we had a company that had the sewing program for the Turbo Turtle embroidery. Tracey had asked and asked them for a copy, but, they never gave her one. When I went in December to visit them, they were GONE! So, this led me to track down a company that could scan in a Turbo Turtle decal, digitize it, clean up the graphics, then be able to do the embroidery. For a change I found a company close to home, INSTANT IMPRINTS, run by Brenda, in South Surrey. They did a wonderful job on the graphic re-do and the embroidery is really very good. I had two sizes done, so a new round of team clothing will be down the road. I also had a six inch size done, both for my seat and any sweat shirt backs, etc.. I also asked Brenda if we could get a copy of the digital files, which she emailed to me in a blink.

Now I had to track down an upholstery place, who would be ok to work with me on getting a piece of material that I could give Brenda to do the sewing on, then back to the upholsterer. James McMillan had used a company in Vancouver, FIJI UPHOLSTERY, for one of his seats, so there was a good referral there. James even took some pictures of my seat, stopped off one day and showed them to the owner, John, who said no problem on the project. THANKS JAMES! I went down there in January with my seat and picked out a material. I picked black of course, with a very faint texture and a non-slip cloth. It is automotive so it should last well. John listened to my need for the seat hole to be gone, exactly where I wanted the lumbar support to be with a slight taper to the new seat back. I again lucked out that my seat belt plastic guides were one piece and re-usable, the one at the head rest being able to be used to replace my damaged one, perfect! John ordered my cloth in and within one week I blasted back into Vancouver to pick up the sewing piece, dropping it off at Instant Imprints that night. Next week I picked up the embroidered piece and blasted back to the upholstery shop. Two weeks or so later, the seat was done.

It looks good, the hole is filled, the seat belts holes are now neat and tidy again, the red accent stripe is redone, and the lumbar and new back foam feel just right. He also re-did my seat cushion, with a slightly denser foam and slightly extend the foam out at the front, just a tad more support for my thighs. You never want a seat where you have to hold your legs up, just causes strain and, it does not help with pedal precision. You want the seat to do all the work for holding you, then your body can concentrate on steering movement and shifting/braking.

The real proof of course will be the drives and how it feels after our first 500 mile day! Keep you posted on that.
Attachments
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Seat back and cushion to be re-done with denser foam and lumbar support.
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Seat belt hole to be filled.
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The side is blown out
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"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:12

The Turbo Turtle in it's various permutations
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The original Specialty sign from the 70's
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On Andy's GT1 Camaro
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The Turtle on Brian's rotary Mazda, 1983
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"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:15

more
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On Tracey's 300 HP Mazda Miata
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Crazy Randall's hand painted Turtle
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Hand Painted on my rear quarter window glass, now lives in my basement.
IMGP7459 (Large).JPG (204.01 KiB) Viewed 1031 times
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:16

My new seat re-do
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IMGP7445 (Large).JPG (252.09 KiB) Viewed 1031 times
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:18

and the final one
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IMGP7448 (Large).JPG
IMGP7448 (Large).JPG (220.59 KiB) Viewed 1031 times
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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bertvorgon
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by bertvorgon » 23 Feb 2014 08:20

My airbox Turtle
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"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Byron510
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by Byron510 » 23 Feb 2014 08:44

Great job Keith, I'm sure Andy appreciates this a lot.

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.

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McShagger510
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Re: Turbo Turtle seat project and some history

Post by McShagger510 » 23 Feb 2014 12:12

Great stuff! I can't wait to see it installed.

James
Nothing ventured, nothing grained! - Benjamin Franklin

'72 2dr. 510 Turbo
'73 240Z all stock
'71 2dr. 510 stock......for now
'91 Nissan truck
'78 Kawasaki Z1-R
'84 Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
'99 Kawasaki ZRX1100

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