[Vwdiesel] 82 VW Rabbit with no lap belt

Patrick Dolan pmdolan at sasktel.net
Wed Feb 25 05:05:08 PST 2009

The single belt was VWs passive restraint system at a time when such legislation was pending, and nobody was sure if air bags were going to be the way to meet the requirement.  They were considered quite dangerous in the early days, so the VW system was one of the purely mechanical and passive ways to solve the problem.  The diagonal belt went on automatically by closing the door, and the lap belt was replaced by a padded knee bar that prevented "submarining" uder the shoulder belt.  It actually worked pretty well, since I remember a study done and reported in Automotive News at the time and the Rabbit had approached zero fatalities for the longest time (I believe this system was standard on Rabbit Deluxe  (model 173 series)  in USA and Canada, but the Custom (171) came with regular three-point.  I can't remember if this was for '78 or '78 and '79, but some time around then.

----- Original Message -----
From: William J Toensing <toensing at wildblue.net>
Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:21 am
Subject: [Vwdiesel] 82 VW Rabbit with no lap belt

> I didn't know any Rabbits were equipped that way. I think my '81 
> (USA)Rabbits have 3 point belts, will have to look. The only car I 
> knew of were the  Volvo PV444s & early PV544s, & they were 
> optional. I traded my 1957 VW (bought new) in on a new late 1958 
> PV444 when the VWs transmission started going out, for less money 
> than the cost of a rebuilt transmission or trade in for a new VW. 
> Was living in Minn. at the time. The Volvo had attachments for the 
> 2 point shoulder belt & sold the seat belts as an optional extra & 
> installed them myself.
> My suggestion would be to find some good used 3 point belts or 
> keep the 2 point belt & buy a lap belt & install it. They are 
> often sold at auto swap meets or you could get a copy of Hemmings 
> Motor News & look for a universal lap belt.
> Bill Toensing, Nevada City, CA
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