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TR2/3/3A Miata seats installed in my TR3A


Jedi Warrior
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Here are the pictures I promised showing 1992 Miata seats installed in my "driver" 1961 TR3A. I included pictures of the mounting brackets I fabricated from used angle iron and used 1/4 inch metal from old TR3 front bumper mounts. I wanted the Miata seat rails raised 3/4 inch off the floor for a better seating position, and I wanted to be able to remove the seats without having to struggle to get to the bolts holding the mounts to the original holes in the floor for the original TR3 seat mounts. Therefore, I welded some capture nuts (I got from McMaster-Carr a long time back) to the inner part of one of the pieces of angle iron I used for each main mount. I can then directly bolt the Miata seats to the mounts through the original Miata seat rails into the capture nuts. Note that I straigtened the front end of the Miata seat rails and cut off the big pointed "stud". I made the 1/4 "tab" on each mount relatively large to give each mount a good sized "footprint" on the floor to spread the weight and torque on the original seat mounting holes in the floor.

The seats really fit a lot better than I expected, although they are very close to the B post and to the driveshaft tunnel. I think the roll bar "frames" the seat head rest and helps to make the seat not look so large above the low cut doors. I think without the roll bar the seats may look too high for the car. The roll bar does limit the amount that the seats can be reclined but it does not limit the driving position I use. I prefer the headrest to be well in front of the roll bar so in a sudden stop my head hits the headrest and not the roll bar. Thanks to the TR6 web sites of Bob Danielson and Paul Rago for the help and inspiration they provided to me in figuring out how to install Miata seats in my TR3.


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Awesome Bob. Thanks for the excellent documentation and photos.

Thanks for the photos, Bob.

I wanted to install Miata seats in my TR3A after getting whiplash in what should have been a very minor accident a long time ago, but never got around to it. Don't know if I ever will at this point, but I appreciate seeing how to do it.
Didn't think I'd like it but I do with the roll bar in place. Nice work on the brackets and captive nuts!
Thanks for the pics Bob.
I agree that the roll bar helps to keep the seats from looking too large.
The two-tone colour choice is interesting. I like how the rearward descending grey line meets the stone chip protectors on the rear fender. Or is it just an unfinished paint job as I can see what looks to be an issue at the back of the fender? The TR6 wheels look good too.
When I got the car a couple of years back, the passenger side front fender was painted with a dark gray primer, and I liked the way it highlighted the fender against the black paint on the rest of the car. The drivers side fender was a mess, with blodges of light gray primer, many dents and large rusted area, so I decided to fix it. I wanted the car as just a ratty old driver so all I painted were the two front fenders and I decided to carry the gray paint onto the doors to highlight the flow of the large rounded fenders of the TR3. I don't intend to do any other body repair nor painting as I like it being a bit ratty looking. :smile: I put the Miata seats in for comfort, some small amount of safety, and for the "racing" look. ;)

Thanks for the comments on the TR6 wheels. I swap off between the TR6 wheels and the original steel wheels (which I painted bright red) with hubcaps. It gives the car a really different look with each set of wheels. The TR6 wheels only work with rather narrow tires or with very low profile wide tires, since higher profile wide tires will rub on the back fender. I have 205/50-15 Hoosier tires on the TR6 wheels and they don't rub, but the car sets very low so I have to watch out for speed bumps and curbs.
Nice job on the installation and great photos. Can you still fully use the top with the seats and roll bar installed?
We put Miata seats in my son's 73 TR6 about 5 years ago and it totally transformed the comfort in driving that car. Tempting!
Thanks for your ideas,
How do you believe a tall person would fit into those seats? I am 6'2" and can fit into a normal TR3 seat. But in my TR4's I have converted to TR6 seats. I have them all of the way back to the point that they hit the inner fender when in the slightly reclined position , which is where I use them. I find that my back can no longer take the more verticle ( non reclined) position of the TR3 or 4 seats. So the Miata seats look like a good option for the TR3 that I am building at present.
Karl, my son and I rebuilt the engine about a year ago (with guidance from local Triumph Club members) but left it stock. It has a TR4A engine and transmission but no overdrive.

Jim, I have no problem with putting the top up with the shortish roll bar and the Miata seats. The top won't go over a tall roll bar so it is important to measure the height of a roll bar you may be planning to install.

Charley, when the Miata seat is all the way back as far as it can go it will still recline quite a bit. With the roll bar in mine the recline is limited because the head rest hits the roll bar. The Miata seats could still recline quite a bit more even when way back if it were not for the roll bar. I made several measurements when I was installing them to see how much I could recline them with my roll bar. As a reference point I measured between the very front upholstery of the Miata seat to the firewall where the firewall bends about 10 or 12 inches above the floor. I used this firewall point since it was just about straight out from the front of the seat upholstery and I could put the rule right in the middle of the bend for consistency. I'm 5'10 and usually have the front of the seat set 29 inches from the bend in the firewall. At this point my leg is straight out when the clutch is all the way down, and the seat is almost as far back as it will go. This 29 inch setting allows me a fair amount of recline before the headrest hits the roll bar. I like more recline than my son does in all my cars, but the recline at 29 inch setting is still comfortable for me, and way more comfortable than the TR3 seats were. My son likes the 28 inch setting mainly for the clutch reach, but this also allows for more recline before hitting the roll bar. The 26 inch setting is as much forward as the transmission cover will allow the seat to move forward, but this is way to far forward for me. I have not done any measurements against the back of the seats and the headrest from some point inside the car to see how far they are from the firewall or dash. I think I might be able to make those measurements if anyone is interested.
Can you provide any info about the roll bar? Who made it? Does it bolt to the floor or the out riggers on the frame? I am thinking about the same set you have.

Thanks, Roy
The roll bar was in my car when I got it so I don't know much about it. It bolts to the raised floor piece behind the seats and back fender buldge. It is for looks only and is not cosidered to add any safety since it does not bolt to the frame. If you plan on using the soft top with the roll bar I recommend that it be no more than 28 or 29 inches high from the back flat piece of the floor behind the seats. Otherwise the top will not fit over the roll bar. It may not be as safe, but if you want your seats to recline quite a bit and not hit the roll bar, I recommend getting one shaped like this Nissan one I attached below that I saw on the web. I'm not sure if anyone makes a roll bar that shape for TR3's. It appears that it would curve out around the headrest of the seats and allow the seat to recline more than mine allows. The problem with that is that if your headrest is beside or behind the roll bar it is very possible that your head would hit the roll bar in a quick stop or accident. Maybe the roll bar could be padded to help alleviate the problem. It appears to me that the rounded shape would still fit inside the TR3 soft top and soft top frame.
rollbar1 - Nissan.jpg
I would like the measurement of the front of the seat back to the front of the seat. So this would be just the depth of the seat. Not all seats are the same depth and the distance from the back of the seat to the firewall will tell me what I need. So I would add the 29" to the depth of seat measurement. From the pictures it looks like the controls on the outside of the seat are pretty much at their rear most position. There does not appear to be much room from that control rearwards to the inner rear fender.
Charley, the measurement from the very front of the seat upholstery to the lump on the lower middle of seat back that provides lumbar support when the front of the seat is 29 inches from the firewall and the headrest is reclined to just touching the roll bar is approximately 19-1/2 inches. I did not measure the exact position of the middle of the lumbar area from the seat bottom, but seems pretty standard. It appears that the very back of the seat where you might sit if you are way back in the seat is approximately 20+ inches. That is not the full depth of the seat but the lumbar area would prevent you from sitting any further back in the seat. You are correct about the recline controller position. I rechecked that after our last posts. When the seat is set at 29 inches from the firewall, the recline controls are only about 1/4 inch from the inner fender. On mine, at the 29 inch seat setting and the headrest against the roll bar, the distance from the dash surround pad/rail to the very front and top of the headrest is 30 inches. I estimate that at the 29 inch setting and without the roll bar, the headrest could be reclined from 30 inches to maybe 31 inches (or 32 at most) from the dash surround pad/rail before the inner fender would not let it go back any further. Since my roll bar prevents me from reclining more, my guess of 31 (or 32) inches is only a guess. I would agree that since you are 6'2" a TR3 is a snug fit for you, especially with the very large steering wheel of the TR3 getting in the way of the knees. But I find the Miata seats definitely more comfortable. I hope this helps!
Thank you for the added measurements. Actually I fit better in a TR3 than a TR4 and better in a TR4 than a TR6. I have had two TR3's and now own two TR4's . But am building a TR3 at present. I am not extremely tall, but people are usually surprised when I climb out of one of the TR4s. I use reclining TR6 seats in the TR4s and believe I need similar seats now in a TR3.
Thanks again,
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