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Yup. Rumble Seats

In 2013 i plan on spending what time and money i can on building or repair a car with a rumble seat. Can you convert a car to a car with a rumble seat? can you take panels off one car and weld/“otherwise” to another car. I know its a loaded questions full of its and butts. I know almost diddly about cars. What knowledge can one share with me? I saw a lot of older cars on classic auto trader that were just rust and almost nothing more. Im willing to start with a 3000 dollar coupe roadster and go from there. As every great car guy should know. Look what the dukes did. I’m jumping in to the pool of unknowen and im gonna giver hell!

The first thing i’ll ask is, can you weld?

Because if you can’t, you’ll spend a lot of money on those who can.


I rode in a Chrysler rumble seat roadster long ago. It was a fantastic old car that had been restored. Finding and restoring a fine old automobile won’t be the best investment you could make but it will be a much better investment than casinos and day trading. Having a practical, realistic handle on money and family finances and the wishes of the significant other is somewhat critical in the decision to take on such an effort though.

I personally cannot weld. But I have friends who are more than willing to show me. And i realize my money could be better spent, But I think im really good shaping metal and painting. So im going to do this car thing.

Hey! If you got friends with welders and can show you how to weld go for it!

How do you think I got started?


As long as you have the time, money, and patience I say it’s a doable deal and have at it. There will be snags though; many of them. There always is.

Many years ago a friend of mine put a 401 Buick Wildcat motor with a TH400 transmission into a 1960 VW Bug. If he can pull that off you shouldn’t have a problem with rumble seating. :slight_smile:

Go for it. Don’t let anybody tell it cant be done. Because it can and has been done. You will have a lot of fun. First spent a few hundred on a good 110 mig welder like a miller or Lincoln. Then get some sheet metal like old body panels and have at it.

It should not be that tough…You need to reverse the hinges on the trunk lid so it opens from the front and build a seat in that space…Not all cars are suitable…The tricky part will be hinging that deck lid so it opens and closes properly…

I certainly agree with oldbodyman. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. But I might recommend that you do some reading and some practicing before you attempt it, and it wouldn’t hurt to have supervision your first time out.

Remember - this is not just an art project. Someone is going to be sitting back there while the car is moving. You don’t want it to break and hurl them to the pavement.

This is my advice, look for the most rust free, complete car you can find in your budget. Look in the south (arizona for example). It is well worth paying to ship a good car then fixing a rusted out junker. Don’t worry about surface rust, I’m talking the major stuff. Also dint forget that these cars are 70+ years old. Trim and interior parts are hard to find so that’s why I say look for compleate. If you want a rumble seat car, find a rumble seat car to start. I’m not sure adding it is safe, or possible.

I agree with GSR.
Another good place for rust free vintage cars is Idaho. They don’t use road salt there.

Go for it!

Are you thinking about restoring a pre-war car that came with a factory rumble seat or customizing a modern car so it has a rumble seat in place of its trunk?

Rumble seats are one of those things that SOUND exciting and cool, but after you have ridden in one for any length of time, especially at any speed over 30MPH, the bloom quickly fades off that rose…

It is absolutely possible to put a rumble seat into anything with a big enough trunk. Or even to convert a 2+2 “pony car” with a full frrame into a 2 seater with a rumble seat. But it’d take some chopping, welding, and resdesign.

I think you should get all the literature you can on restoring cars, including both magazines and books, and if you still fell enthused after reading about it then GO FOR IT! The knowledge you’ll gain iwll go far beyond sheetmetal fabrication and welding. You’ll learn about brake systems, chassis systems, powertrains, painting, and perhaps even some upholstrey.

Realize that these projects are generally three times the cost you expect and take three times as long. Longer if you’re working with jackstands. Then take your time and have a ball.

It might not be a bad idea to check state laws first and make sure that the addition of rumble seats will pass muster legally.

Some may remember back in the 80s when Subaru Brats had the 2 jump seats in the bed. Safety regulations killed those.

@ok4450 Trivia question… “Why did the Brats have seats in the bed”

I remember. But as I recall it was the fed regulation as they apply to the manufacturers and sellers via the D.O.T. requirements for over the road vehicles, which don’t flow down to owners other than through the vehicle purchase.

I absolutely agree, though, that the OP should check with his own state DMV before considering it. It would be a shame to spend that time & money and find out it wasn’t streetable. I have a nephew that built up a Jeep and then dound out it wasn;t street legal in NH. We have statutes controlling the magnitude of suspension modifications, and his was clearly too high.

"Why did the Brats have seats in the bed"
Maybe because it’s safer than just sitting back there?

When I was a kid, after we’d cleaned the garage and hauled the junk to the dump in our early 50s Chevy 5 window pickup, I always begged my dad to let me ride home in the bed. He usually agreed. That was before seatbelt laws of course. All that wind, speed, sound…it was a sensory feast for a kid!

I never really knew the official reason for the Brat jump seats and assume they were there for emergency or very short term transporation purposes. The seats were small, hard as a rock, very uncomfortable.

The Brats were also considered off-road MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles) and not subject to the same emission and safety regulations as the cars but that would change.
The state of OK passed a law quite a few years back making it illegal to ride in the back of a pickup but that doesn’t seem to stop a few from breaking the law and getting killed or injured now and then.

The real reason was because of the US chicken tax (import tax on imported pickup truck, it’s very high and make importing pick ups very difficult and expensive). By putting the seats in the bed, it made the truck not a pickup according to the US govt. Therefore no chicken tax.

“American versions also had carpeting and welded-in rear-facing jumpseats in the cargo area—serving actually to circumvent a tariff known as the Chicken tax. Although the BRAT could fairly be called a truck, the plastic seats in the cargo bed allowed Subaru to classify the BRAT as a passenger car. This both left little cargo space, and it also caused a few fatalities in accidents. Now you can buy seats to go in the cargo area, but these are much safer as they have five-point seat belts. Passenger cars imported into the US were charged only a 2.5% tariff, compared to 25% on light trucks.” from wikapedia