“Drive Me to the Moon. . . .”

While this snappy hounds-tooth checked seat may look like something that might have been in one of Frank Sinatra’s pads back in the day it is actually the Recaro Rallye, which is said to be the world’s first shell seat: there is a seat shell of fiberglass-reinforced resin formed to the contours of a body.

While this snappy hounds-tooth checked seat may look like something that might have been in one of Frank Sinatra’s pads back in the day it is actually the Recaro Rallye, which is said to be the world’s first shell seat: there is a seat shell of fiberglass-reinforced resin formed to the contours of a body. It was developed by Recaro, now part of Adient, in 1967.

RecaroRallye

The seat was designed with significant thigh support as well as padding elements on the back of the seat that could be adapted to the driver.

The next step in the evolution of the seat, was the Rallye I, which was mounted on tracks for forward and rearward adjustment, as well as variable recline adjustment. There was also—for $23—an optional adjustable headrest offered; it provided height and tilt adjustment.

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The Rallye I was followed but the Rallye II, which was the first shell seat with a foldable back rest. Then in 1979 there was the Rallye III, which featured pneumantically adjustable side supports and could accommodate three-, four- or six-point seat belt systems. The Rallye III weighed 26 pounds, which was exceedingly light back then for a street-driving seat.

The Rallye was actually for “sporty” street driving. Recaro brought out its line of pro racing shell seats, the Recaro Racing Seat, in 1974, specifically for professional touring car competitions. That seat—including upholstery, headrest and seat rail—weighed just 14 pounds.