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RECARO RESOURCE GUIDE​


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Here is some basic Recaro knowledge, hopefully you guys will appreciate it. I will update this thread as i have the time, still have ALOT to add.

Each Recaro has a basic model number such as A8, LS, SRD. The first 2 letters stand for the back of the seat. The last digit stands for the base of the seat. For example an LX will stand for the back of the seat with its trademark pointy triangular bolsters but an LX-A will be the same back mounted to a flat base. Here is an example of a 3rd gen LX (top picture) and a 3rd gen LX-A (bottom)




Most of the common recaro seats can be traced through 3 generations, each with their own specific details and differences. For example the first generation LS (also known as the idealseat) has the trademark large rolling upper bolsters but the lower bolsters are very large and the slope is very close to the back of the lower frame. The later generations have a very similar back at first glance but the lower bolster foam is much smaller with the slope of the bolster midway back on the frame as seen here.



The construction of the early recaros was very primitive compared to the later generations. Honestly the biggest improvement i have found through the generations is the advancement in the construction of the seats. The gen 1/2 seats are fairly difficult to assemble where as the later 3rd and 4th generations are about as simple as you can imagine.

How to spot a FAKE

Its not always easy to spot a fake but there are a few simple steps you can follow to increase your chances of purchasing a genuine recaro. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for..

- Is the 'RECARO' lettered correctly? If the letters are spaced from eachother? Is the lettering crooked? If it generally looks off chances are you are not dealing with a genuine recaro.

- What style diaphragm does the seat use? You will only find 3 style of supports on genuine recaro seats. The first design was a support strap. They were made of a nylon style material and each seat would have had around 3 of them going horizontally across the base attaching with a U style hook. The second generation used a support diaphragm. It was a single support made with 1-2 large rubber pcs bonded to a burlap style material and attached using a dowel and hook method on each side of the support. The newest recaro seats use a molded plastic but that is pretty self explanatory. Here are a few examples..

  • gen 1 straps (New jjcustominterior strap on top, original in middle)


  • gen 2 diaphragm


  • FAKE speed as found on ebay (you can also see the material is hog ringed onto the frame, something recaro hasnt done since the 70's.) Honestly there are about 100 things i could pick apart on these seats to show they are fake but this is the easiest to spot. They dont always look like this but this is the most obvious to spot.



Here is another speed that at first glance looked 100% legit short of some "off" recaro stitching but once i removed the insert found this..




That should do it for now, i will update more as i have the time.. If you have any request or questions feel free to message me


Seats


  • Model C (classic c / orthopad)
(Est. $400 - $2500 depending on specific model / options / condition)

Available as an aftermarket seat dealer option on various european cars. Featuring 8 way adjustable bolsters, heated inserts, power air controlled lumbar support, and speakers in the headrest the Model c was Recaros top of the line and most expensive seat offered in the late 70's and through the 80's. Variations of this seat were optional in e30 bmw's (6k dealer option) Mercedes 190 cosworths, Audi URQuattors (non power), Various Porches, and a few other vehicles that escape me at this time. Variations of this seat are still available from recaro as the Ortho line.






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  • LS (idealseat)
(est. $300-$1500 depending on specific model and condition)

The LS is one of the most popular seats Recaro made through the late 70's/80's/90's. Variations of the LS were found in but not limited to cars made by Ferrari, BMW, Alfa, Volkswagen, Porsche, Ford, and more.. They are most commonly found in mk2 volkswagens and Alfa Romeo milano verdes.






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  • Speed / SRD
(est. $300-2000+ depending on model and condition)

By far the most copied Recaro of all time. Be very cautious when buying these seats as prob 80% of the seats on the market are fake chinese replicas. I would not feel safe putting the replicas in a car as the build quality and materials used are fairly poor. The Recaro speed is prob. the most well known Recaro as it has been available since the 80's and is still in production to this day. They have came in everything from e30 bmw's to Toyota supras along with hondas, nissans, fords, and so on..




Also here is an easy way to tell the difference between a speed and an srd. Take a close look at the curves of the upper bolster foam.. The SRD has a larger more triangular "shoulder" foam where the speed is smaller and more smooth. Also you can see the speed has a larger headrest section.

speed


srd..



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  • LX/SE/Specialist
(est. $300-$1500 depending on specific model and condition)

The recaro LX is one of the oldest recaro variations available along with the LS. The Recaro lx still has a variation in production to this day(specialist). It is commonly found in early to late 80's cars such as the TransAm, Mustang, 300zx, and various other models. The Gen 1 lx has the larger lower bolsters but maintains the same triangular back that is the trademark of the LX.

Another member of the LX/LS/etc family that's often seen, the SE. These were Recaro's "budget" sport seat in the late '90s and early '00s, they also had a decent period-correct look for '70s and '80s cars since they were mostly based on the LX.






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  • A8 (gen 1/2)
(est. $600-$3k depending on specific gen, condition, and trim)

The A8 is by far one of the most highly desired recaros available at this time. They are one of the first recaro sport seats to feature a new frame design for passenger vehicles. There were 2 variations of the A8 to be released and they were available as factory options in a select group of exotics. The majority of A8's you will find are of the aftermarket variety.

Gen 1



Gen 2




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General Info

mounting pattern


available headrest options
*Netted*


*Standard Solid*


*Wrap around*
\

*Wrap around w/speakers*


Seat Dimensions
















Brochures / Ads

  • Audi


  • Volkswagen (mk2)
Here you can see that VW offered the Model C, LX, and LS as optional seats for the mk2's in europe.


  • Ads

 

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Recaro productfamilies of seats

Dear RMAMotorsport,

Thank you for this explanation on Recaro's. Very interesting! Do you know which Recaro's were standard or options in Alfa's?
I know that the seats in the Junior Zagato gave a knob that say's Recaro. I think they are license built on a Recaro system. What part of the seat design is Recaro, I don't know. Can you tell me something more about them?

Ciao, Olaf
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well off the top of my head i can tell you the the verde came equipped with the recaro ls. IIRRC there is a black and white shot of them under the ls description.

Do you have pics of the knob you are speaking of?
 

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On the seats found in the 1984-86 GTV6, those seats are referred to as 'Recaros', or 'Recaro-style'. Those are the design with the mesh inside an open hoop as a head rest. Are those Recaros, or Recaro look-alikes?

Not entirely sure if the above suggests that one of you supplies Recaro seats and/or seat components? I have a set of the GTV6 design that I am considering refreshing. I have a very nice rear set, but my 2 buckets are raggedy in spots. I snagged some more skins for rear seats (as those are usually in good shape) hoping that I could steal some panels from those to patch into my buckets. Turns out... the center pleats in the rear, are not quite as wide as the front seats. So, I might be able to utilize some of the rear side bolster skins, but not likely the pleated center sections.

I think places like IAP sell complete skins for all four seats... $2800 in leather, as remember. I could buy a drivable GTV6 for that.

One major issue, is this: On these seats, the color that we might call tan... the actual color can vary drastically! Some are a bright golden yellow, others might be called buckskin, and others are found in a medium-to-light dead brown. This, of course, complicates things if you are only trying to patch in panels. You'd need those panels to match the portions you are trying to salvage. I'm guessing on lighter colors, it's harder to dye the skins in a consistent shade. Black seats don't seem to have that problem. So, the factory must have to carefully match the dyed hides when creating a matching set of seats.

I've seen one brand new passenger's side bucket for sale recently. If I was certain that the color was a dead match, I'd buy it. Then I could use that seat as is. And use the two skins from my current buckets to create one good bucket. No way of telling from a picture, as the lighting can throw that off.

If any of you have any ideas on solving this, I'm listening. I might be interested in one or two new tan leather skins for my buckets, if the color matched. One new complete bucket, if the color matched mine. Or, even replacement panels, if those were available.
 

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Hello RMA ,

Thought I'd give you a try on this...
Been trying off and on for a few years to find the correct perforated leather to repair the mouse damaged Recaro rear seat bottom from my 1991 Alfa 164S.


Ideally the replacement section should measure 14" wide x 22" long, but could work with a smaller piece if necessary.

Also I'm willing to accept another color that I would dye black, or a piece of high quality vinyl with the correct perforations and grain pattern.


For reference, the perforation pattern measures 12mm (1/2”) between the holes the long way, and 9mm (11/32”) the short way. The holes are about 1/16” dia.

Any leads will be appreciated!


Thank you,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey guys sorry i havent had much time to update this have been down with the flu.

paulsle - have a few options. #1 i will check my books and call around to see if i can find a replacement material
#2 we could have the material reproduced but it wouldnt be very cheap.
 

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On the seats found in the 1984-86 GTV6, those seats are referred to as 'Recaros', or 'Recaro-style'. Those are the design with the mesh inside an open hoop as a head rest. Are those Recaros, or Recaro look-alikes?

Not entirely sure if the above suggests that one of you supplies Recaro seats and/or seat components? I have a set of the GTV6 design that I am considering refreshing. I have a very nice rear set, but my 2 buckets are raggedy in spots. I snagged some more skins for rear seats (as those are usually in good shape) hoping that I could steal some panels from those to patch into my buckets. Turns out... the center pleats in the rear, are not quite as wide as the front seats. So, I might be able to utilize some of the rear side bolster skins, but not likely the pleated center sections.

I think places like IAP sell complete skins for all four seats... $2800 in leather, as remember. I could buy a drivable GTV6 for that.

One major issue, is this: On these seats, the color that we might call tan... the actual color can vary drastically! Some are a bright golden yellow, others might be called buckskin, and others are found in a medium-to-light dead brown. This, of course, complicates things if you are only trying to patch in panels. You'd need those panels to match the portions you are trying to salvage. I'm guessing on lighter colors, it's harder to dye the skins in a consistent shade. Black seats don't seem to have that problem. So, the factory must have to carefully match the dyed hides when creating a matching set of seats.

I've seen one brand new passenger's side bucket for sale recently. If I was certain that the color was a dead match, I'd buy it. Then I could use that seat as is. And use the two skins from my current buckets to create one good bucket. No way of telling from a picture, as the lighting can throw that off.

If any of you have any ideas on solving this, I'm listening. I might be interested in one or two new tan leather skins for my buckets, if the color matched. One new complete bucket, if the color matched mine. Or, even replacement panels, if those were available.
short on time this morn but i will try to get an answer to this before the end of the day for you.
 

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paulsle - have a few options. #1 i will check my books and call around to see if i can find a replacement material
#2 we could have the material reproduced but it wouldnt be very cheap.
Thanks RMA,
I'm open to either option. I've tried several upholstery sources & books over the past few years, but have never found the right match. Usually if the spacing is right, the perforations are too small. Please keep me in mind when time allows.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
yeah typhoon is correct, just be aware of the cost of leather. Figure you essentially buy it by the foot not the yard.
 

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Do you have a source for little misc parts for seat restorations? I am in need of a few of these black rubber bands for the back of my Spider seats.
 

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