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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My wife wont let my 6 year old ride in it unless it's super safe, so i'm researching what my options are regarding:
  • street roll bar (no welding)
  • period looking front seats with safe head rests
  • seat belts with shoulder straps front and rear
Has anyone succeeded in making an early GT "kid freindly"? Any advice on what works and where to buy would be fabulous.

Thanks,
RP
 

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Don't tell your wife this, but you will never get a 105 "super safe"... The plain fact is that there have been there have been so many safely related improvements to cars over the years (market and regulatory driven), that your old Alfa will never get close to being as safe as a ten year old Corolla (or whatever).

The biggest single safety evolution of motor vehicles is rigid passenger cells and crumple zones. And that you will never fix on a 105.

Having said my little piece on my area of expertise, I will say that apart from ensuring the vehicle is in tip top condition and having seat belts of some description for all passengers, you are on the right track.

Roll cage: Buy a bolt in half cage if possible. Bond here in Aus used to make them.

Seats: Use 1750 or 2000 GTV seats.

Belts: The belts are easy as long as you don't want intertia reels. That is where it gets complicated. I am not sure if US 105s ever got intertia reels front or rear, but we certainly didn't here in Aus. The fact that the top and bottom outside mounts for the front seats are not vertically aligned makes it difficult to get a reel that will mount up and function correctly.

I have seen it done once quite neatly by hiding the IR behind the rear trim, but it seemed like a lot of work.

Should be less of a problem with the rear belts as aftermarket belts will be available to mount on a parcel shelf. Better to get manually adjustable ones and adjust then up snug on Junior (the kid, not the car!). An inertia reel has no advantage on a manual belt if adjusted properly. In fact a manual belt can be better.

There may be no mounts in the back. Just find someone that is breaking a later GTV and get them to cut the mounts out and have them installed in the same place in your car. Here in Aus , you can buy the plates ready made from car parts stores, so I am sure you can do that there.
 

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I have spent a bit of time thinking through how to make my '67 safe, and Clayton105 is right, it will never be particularly safe.

A bolt in roll bar will help with roll over protection, and a little with side-impact protection, but side-impact protection is something the alfa lacks. i would very much recommend door-bars be added to the roll bar, even if they are removable or pivoting door-bars for the sake of ingress and egress.

I have concluded that the only proper harness system is a 4 point system (don't worry, your kids will think it's a lot of fun to be strapped in). It may not be as comfy as a normal, retracting system, but it will be much safer and not difficult to install in the car.
 

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From what I've read, roll bars are intended to be used in tandem with helmets. A roll bar without a helmet can lead to head injuries.

A roll bar will also significantly impair the use of the interior. Getting a kid seat in and out of the back of a GTV is tough at the best of times, and with a roll bar, will be even tougher, and harder to use the seat for adults.

Can you stress to her Alfa's active safety features (handling, response, steering, brakes) and your great driving abilities, plus designed-in crumple zones.

Andrew
 

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The door bars can be added inside the doors. Late US models had them if I am thinking correctly, as door reinforcing (I don't know the technical term off the top of my head) was a DOT safety requirement at the time. When I imported my 74 GTV from Sicily the Registered Importer installed them in my doors to meet US DOT Regulations. It was an invisible modification, and would stop the door from caving in as bad in a side impact compared to a non-reinforced door. Basically a steel rod from one end to the other with large washers on the outside of the door frame to stop the rod from being pulled out if stressed. It did not interfere with my windows at all.

I am not certain if adding a roll over bar is necessary, it is not a safety requirement and the roof is steel, and not known for any particular weakness. Does that mean the roof will hold if the car is rolled without a bar? This is subjective and begs to be argued on many levels, including where to stop the safety... The rear end does crumple on impact, not sure what a front end will do. Looking at all the bodywork I have seen the passenger compartment looks very solid if the sills/rockers are in good condition, where the front end looks like it can crumple too. I am not an expert.

You can add most any aftermarket seat with a headrest. I know several GTVs with the seats from a Milano installed. This goes a long way towards keeping the occupants from having neck injuries... Wearing your seatbelt properly if they are non-tensioning will also go a long way towards preventing personal injury. This means tight. I have seen many GTVs with rear seatbelts, so this is a non-issue. They were installed in my '74 as well by the Registered Importer.

Safety really comes from making sure the brakes, tires, steering and suspension are in top shape too. Anything amiss here is likely to amplify an accident. Also the frame rails, or rockers/sills. Is there rust? If so, the integrity of the frame might be compromised and in an accident may not provide the strength the engineers intended causing the car to crumple in new and exciting ways... What about safety glass? Is this a US Model? If not, chance stands that some of the glass is not safety glass.

What about the basics? Horn, mirrors, lights? I changed all the lights on my car to LEDs, so the brake lights come on brighter and faster. All the lights are brighter and easier to see in the daytime. You can add the third brake light on the shelf in the back window too. Anything to help people see you braking.

All I can think of at the moment, the car is not known for being unsafe. Hope this helps!
 

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Belts: The belts are easy as long as you don't want intertia reels. That is where it gets complicated. I am not sure if US 105s ever got intertia reels front or rear, but we certainly didn't here in Aus. The fact that the top and bottom outside mounts for the front seats are not vertically aligned makes it difficult to get a reel that will mount up and function correctly.
I have not tried it just yet with my GTV, but I see no issue with the mounts not being lined up. I installed IR belts in my Duetto, and the ones that I got are adjustable for the angle in which they are mounted, they work really well. Of course, as I said, have not tried it in my GTV, so there may be other issues there.
 

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I put adjustable belts in the back of my GTV and carried car seats back there without incident.
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Guys thanks for the inputs.

Clayton105...I don't need to hide this lack of safety from my wife...she knows everything anyway. Your right though, we will have to accept some level of risk in driving a 40 year old car. Also, she is comparing this alfas safety with her 2007 BMW wagon.

Andrew...special thanks for believing in my driving abilities...but she knows better.

Bryan...thanks for the side impact bar idea...I will check it out.

Insoc...the car is a US version with no rust, so it's as solid as it can be. My interest in the roll bar is side impact protection and a place to mount front harness style belts, but if I can just use newer model belts, I'm cool without the cage. And thanks for the lighting tip!

Looks like the best scenario is the following:
  • front seats and belts - 1750-2000 (not sure how to mount shoulder strap to B pillar area)
  • belts in back - 1750-2000 (bolted to mounts cut from a doner car and welded into parcel shelf)
  • LED lighting in rear (need to research)
  • Alfaholics xenons in front
  • No cage
  • Door side impact bars (bolted in and sourced from later cars)
Regarding tip top condition of brakes, steering etc. The car has the original spec 67 brakes rebuilt with sleeves. The wheels and tires are also original spec.

I would like to improve grip with wider tires. I'm not planning on any kind of track driving just want to be able to stop as fast as the other cars on the road. Does anyone recon I need to upgrade the brakes to handle higher braking forces, or will the original calipers handle it?

Thanks again to all....this forum will save us!

Richard
 

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A 67 should be equipped with ATE calipers. The piston (and in fact pad size) size in these is the same right throught most RWD 4 cylinder Alfas right up until the 1988 Twin Spark (the 1750 and 2000 GTVs had bigger front pads but same size pistons). So unless you are a demon braker, or are using the car for extended downhill runs the brakes as long as they are well sorted are more than adequate IMO.

One difference in the later cars 105/115s (besides the spit system) is the addition of a rear brake pressure limiting valve. Not sure how much this improved the braking performance/stability....
 

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And: From what I can glean from your post, you either have no belts at all, or only lap belts?

My '67 had factory shoulder mounts for the lap/sash belts, so it your car appears not to have them, remove the rear trim and see if the top mounts are there. It was quite common once upon a time for seatbelts to be an option.

Manufacturers/distributors in many countries still do not install safety items that we in first world countries would consider standard. That's what it used to be like in Aus/US before real standards became legislated. I have just come back from South America and I never saw a rear seat belt in any car, but I bet the mounts were there...
 

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Some things, like putting in side impact beams, are going to be a monumental pain in the butt to do, and you risk screwing up the door in doing so, I think.

Not that you want to think this way, but if I were under orders to do this to my GTV just to cart my kids around, I'd think long and hard about such mods. I'd probalby eventually decide it wasn't worth doing all this to the GTV and get another fun, "safe" car that my wife approved of, and use that for the kid hauler. The GTV will still be there when the kids get older. Maybe a Milano, 164, or 74 Berlina, which has headrests, retractor belts, and side impact beams? They're cheap too. I realize this is not what you are asking, but I would not do all this to an early GTV myself. Just my two cents.

Andrew
 

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A 67 should be equipped with ATE calipers. The piston (and in fact pad size) size in these is the same right throught most RWD 4 cylinder Alfas right up until the 1988 Twin Spark (the 1750 and 2000 GTVs had bigger front pads but same size pistons).
If your '67 came with factory ATEs and not Dunlops, it will have slightly smaller pads than later ATEs (but will utilize the same piston and rebuild kit). With a performance pad and quality fluid, it will stop VERY hard, at least a couple of times, before any fade would be noticed... more than adequate for the street.
 

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There's nothingwrong at all with good-condition stock ATEs on a 67 GTV. If you can lock the wheels, you're getting all the braking you need. And in normal driving, fade is not an issue, especially in a panic stop, which is one application. That is, unless you've just dragged the brakes all the way down Donner Pass or something first.

Andrew
 

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Hmmm, interesting post.

First of all a 105 series chassis does have crumple zones, atleast at the rear of the car. Yes they do :).

Second of all if you guys think a Toyota Corolla is super safe then you are naive ... I've watched (tv programs of) modern cars being crash tested and many simply explode. Crumple zone starts from the front, include the passenger compartment and finishes at the tail lights. Crumple zones are a great idea but also used as a marketing angle to sell the car (just like air bags). Whether you like it or not, most manufacturers simply want to sell as many units as possible and safety is a part of the profit versus cost equation. Door intrusion bars are another marketing issue ... Mercedes do not even have them, because their cars are designed correctly for side impact in the first place.

The best crumple zone I'm afraid to say is the other car, and that is the advantage you will have in a older car that actually used steel in it's chassis, not tinfoil :).

Thirdly I totally agree with the roll bar suggestions. Only install if you are going to pad massively.

Fourthly agree with the addition of head rests, but surely you child would not yet be tall enough to need them ... thus save your money on to the other areas.

Fifthly, your car being a '67 will have single circuit brakes ... the biggest safety improvement you can make to that car is to install dual circuit brakes from a series 2 1750 or 2000 GTV. What you have at the moment means 1 single brake fluid leak (on the pressure side) means you will loose all brakes! This was revised for the series 2 1750 GTV's onwards.

Sixthly, What do you think this nervous attitude to life is doing to your child?. I have young children too and I am a over protective/control freak in many cases and my 5 year old son has picked up on this and is nervous about travelling in our friends cars for example and we have had advice about this and told to chill a little ourselves because ofcourse your children will 'feel' and pick up on our attitudes.

So yes we must protect our children ... but without them knowing or feeling our concerns :).

Lastly ... the biggest safety concern in driving cars anywhere is YOU, the driver and your attitude. Thus take control of the situation and read that road ahead and behind and keep your car safe (thus ensuring it's occupants are safe). I ride a m/c to work everyday and the best thing they teach you on m/c learning courses is to blame YOURSELF for any incident or near incident. What this does is teach yourself to keep putting yourself into safer positions on the road. The absolute worst thing you can do is blame other drivers, because that means your own driving/riding will not improve.

Thus put in the safety belts, make sure your childs seat is correct, fix the brakes and go have some fun :).

Best
Pete
 

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We can talk all we want, but it's his life, and his wife, in which he has to make this work. But I'm with Pete if you can convince your wife of what we're saying.

I can attest to Alfa crumple zones in both Giulia sedans and GTVs firsthand; two cars creamed in the rear with ruined trunks, and both driveable afterward, with no broken glass. I also have an Alfa marketing piece from 1966 or so that shows the Giulia sedan crumple zones, which is a ballsy bit of strategy for a period when safety was not a selling point, as it is now.

Andrew
 

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We can talk all we want, but it's his life, and his wife, in which he has to make this work.
Yes 100% true. Please note my post was not at all trying to say that anything he and is wife are doing as a parent is incorrect ... just listing a few points so they can make a possibly more informed decision.

I appologise if my post came over wrong :).
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again to you all!

Pete...no offense taken...you've given thoughtful inputs from your own experience as a father.

Clayton105...I have only lap belts in front but will call previous owner to dig for the shoulder sections.

Andrew...I think welding a side impact beam into a door may not be such big deal if access allows. I need to paint the car anyway.

Here's my summary of inputs so far with my own filtering for priority:

Active safety items:
1. Safe Driver - I've passed the german TUV driving and written tests to earn my german drivers license...a total pain in the but, but i'm a much safer driver than I used to be.
2. Tires - wider...a la GTA to have similar grip as modern cars.
3. Brakes - upgrade to split system.
4. Lighting - LEDs in back, Alfaholics xenons in front


Passive safety items:
1. Front belts - use the original 3 point mounting holes. I looked at a press photo of the original car and sure enough there were shoulder belts, so I just need to find a pair of shoulder belts.
2. Front Seats - Use later model...1750-2000
3. Rear Belts - 1750-2000 or 4 point harness (bolted to mounts cut from a doner car and welded into parcel shelf)
4. No Cage - but look into fesability of side impact bars in doors.

Guys...this list is feeling pretty good to me. The only remaining issue is wether I should modify this car too much. See, it's very original and potential to be a nearly perfect car when I'm done with it....47k original miles, california car that's been in a collectors garage for 30 years. I think if the mods are invisible and significantly improve safety...I should just do it...even if it requires a little welding on the rear parcel shelf or inside the doors.

If you guys were paying top dollar for a nearly perfect example...how would you react to the mods above?

Best,
Richard
 

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If you guys were paying top dollar for a nearly perfect example...how would you react to the mods above?

Best,
Richard
All the mods you have listed except possibly the door intrusion bars could be returned to original very, very easily ... so wouldn't worry me at all, infact I would probably enjoy the benefit of them.

Best
Pete
 

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A simpler solution....

Let the wife do all the running around with your son. Then you're free to remove the passenger and rear seats from the GTV, install a cage, and go to town on performance improvements :)
 
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