Lotus Elan

Original Kangol retractable seat belts

PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:29 am

This afternoon, I found that one of the loops on the retracting springs on the left side seat belt retractor had broken off. I checked the Kangol web site, and after 50 years, these belts are no longer offered. Any Ideas on where I might find a complete belt and retractor?
Rob Walker
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50-0315N
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1964 Elva Mk4T Coupe (awaiting restoration)
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PostPost by: gearbox » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:20 am

Ebay is most likely your best option. You can possibly find a vintage Kangol retractor as they were fitted to almost every British car back in the 60's from MG's, Triumphs, Jaguar's, and even Mercedes Benz. You can also find new aftermarket kits that can be adapted for your use. Good luck.
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:25 am

FWIW, Rob, I distinctly remember my 1969 Triumph GT6+ had magnetic clasp Kangols just like our Lotus'. Always loved them. :) So that car would definitely be a source . . .

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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:55 am

Also Rover P6.
When I had my first +2 the retractor spring broke on the drivers side belt & back then, scrap yards were littered with old cars. I just looked until I found something similar, but found that a Rover P6 2200 had exactly the same Kangol Magnacatch belts, even the webbing was the same length, the only difference was the Rover sticker on the clasp instead of a Lotus one.

Regards, Tim
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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:56 am

there are new kangols on ebay at 250 each... from a military stock holder for landrovers...
and there is a "pre owned" pair from an mbg for 40 ish... maybe good for parts

i used FDTS near weybridge in the UK to reweb a set two years ago. they may have parts ?

very friendly and competant people there...
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:14 am

I found all the parts on ebay bit by bit, although mine were not retractable.
Some were advertised as off a Hillman Avenger. They might have got more for them as E Type parts!
I got unused rear seat belt webbing from the scrap yard free, measured and copied some from another Elan and had them stitched by the local cobbler asking him to copy the stitch pattern as the sample supplied from the old webbing.
£45.00 in total and look the part.
lotus decals are available for a fiver on ebay if you want them.
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC
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PostPost by: jono » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:46 am

Kangol were based in Carlisle (where I live) and used to be a large employer before falling victim to the dreaded 'globalisation'

They still existed in a very minor form (but not in name) until quite recently employing a staff of around 20 and made specialist belts for high end customers such as Bentley Lotus and Aston Martin.

A pal of mine who worked there restored my old Kangol belts and fitted new webbing and modern reels.

I have a box of the old left over bits in the garage loft - if you post a pic of excatly what you want I will take a look and see if I have one.

Cheers

Jon
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PostPost by: Elseezed » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:56 pm

Try Safetybelt Services, 01234 709999 in Bedford. Rebuilt both mine for £97.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:31 pm

The front belts are not the magnetic latch type, while the back seats are. The belt has a bayonet style blade that inserts into a cable mounted latch with the release on the forward side. Very natural for releasing the belt, as you hand wraps around the latch, making the release button easy to find.

The unusual part is the retractor itself. A large cast aluminum piece that is attached by a single large bolt to a plate bolted in the upper rear fender well. What makes it different from modern type retractors, is the way the belt loops over the top of the casting, which is rounded and well finished to allow the belt to slide Most modern retractors are mounted low and the belt goes vertical through a swiveling loop, usually fixed to the B pillar. Modern style belts seem to have an insert blade that has a hole in the middle, rather than the bayonet design.

Kangol has a seat belt shown on their web site that possibly could be adapted, with some modifications to the existing retractor attachment point. However, I would like to keep both front belts identical and close to original if possible.

Right now, I plan on making the belt non-adjustable, by fixing the ratchet pawl so it will not let the belt extend. Will play with the length until I get it to fit snugly with me in the driving position of the seat. Just hate the thought of having all that loose belt laying about when it is not in use.
Rob Walker
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50-0315N
1964 Sabra GT
1964 Elva Mk4T Coupe (awaiting restoration)
1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero, 302,AOD,9",rack and pinion,disc,etc,etc,etc
1954 Nash Healey LeMans Coupe

Tread softly in the grease mud, for there lurks the skid demon
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:32 pm

Are you sure that's original/stock/factory, Rob? My car is newer than yours and still has the magnetic kangols . . :?

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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:45 pm

Unfortunately I know way more about Federal Kangol seat belts than any sane person would ever want to know. Since when I bought my car it came with a botched combination of Saab belts & I wanted to revert to the original installation.

So here is what I learned....

Late (1971/2+) Federal cars came with first Generation Kangol "Reflex" seat belts also fitted to MGs & Triumphs of the era. Here is a picture of the Reflex belts along with the receiver:
kangolreflex2.jpg and
This is a NOS set I bought last year...

s-l1600-1.jpg and
Note the electrical connection to the dash "fasten belts" light


The "Reflex" design was replaced by a second generation design somewhere in the 1973/4 timeframe that was more widely adopted by Jaguar / MG / Triumph & other UK imports to the states. This design mounts in the same manner, is more commony available (check out '70s MGBs & Midegets) & logically was an improvement over the Reflex design.

Here is a set that I acquired & rebuilt with new webbing:

mg_midget_belts.jpg and


The Seat belt "reel" unit is bolted to a plate behind the seats, with a metal tube going to the top seat belt mount:
Attachments
img_3602.jpg and
As installed
Phil Harrison
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:10 pm

Thanks for the pix and history, Phil. No detail is too small :mrgreen:

But perhaps I've misunderstood Rob. I was assuming you were talking about Plus 2 number 50-0315N which would be an earlier car than mine and I assumed it therefore would have the "Magnaclasp" kangol units.

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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:26 pm

My +2 has the belts like Phil showed in the top two pictures. They are mounted via large bolt and space to the rear wheel well as laid out in Phill's first image, I forget the details but suspect there a hole on the rear just below the smaller visible hole.

I am not sure on the difference between gen 1 and 2 but mine are locked by the movement of a pendulum (picture below) in the housing. So they will lock under hard braking or if the car is parked nose down step enough.
Attachments
20131020_142842.jpg and
Internals, minus the spring. I wouldn't recommend removing the cover.... (for some reason its rotated 90 degrees clockwise!!!)
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:33 pm

"Federal" +2's had high back seats,fail safe headlights,etc and one-handed seat belt operation so the plunger-type engagement in the stiff receptacle and retractable and that Kongol set up is same as my 80 esprit so those cars are another source. Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: Sea Ranch » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:27 pm

Right. Got it. But my Feb 1970 Plus 2S is a federal (N) and has "magnaclasp" belts, original, factory stock.

An anomoly? Were earlier N cars so equipped? Or with the bayonet style?
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