The RECARO Sport Seat: How it all started 50 years ago

RECARO_Logo_50_Jahre_SportsitzRECARO began making an indelible impression on automotive seating half a century ago. For several generations now, racecar drivers, auto manufacturers and private customers have relied on the company’s products to deliver the highest standards in quality and safety. The success story began in 1965 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt with the presentation of the first RECARO Sport Seat. Suddenly, there was an alternative to the metal-sprung, horsehair-padded seats that had previously been employed. The new seat from RECARO featured foam padding, as well as bolsters that framed the backrest and seat cushion to provide particularly good stability. The IAA visitors and auto manufacturers were enthusiastically impressed: For the first time, a retrofit seat with suitable mounting brackets was available, and beginning in 1966, Porsche standard-equipped the S models of its new Porsche 911 with the new RECARO Sport Seats. The history of the first Sport Seat is closely connected with the then much-publicized “autonova” project, which consisted of concepts for a car of the future. Young design students Michael Conrad and Pio Manzù from Ulm, Germany, had collaborated with journalist Fritz B. Busch to develop the “autonova fam” models, later to be considered early prototypes of the modern van, and the “autonova GT” sports car. When it came to implementing the vehicles’ futuristic interiors, the trio was assisted by RECARO seating engineers, Jörg Resag, Wolfgang Fußnegger and Peter Trübinger. Their work with the wedge-shaped seats of the “autonova GT” ended up influencing the design of the RECARO Sport Seat, which was in the development phase at the time. Visitors to this year’s Retro Classics fair in Stuttgart (March 26th to 29th) will be treated to a very special look at RECARO history. An automotive highlight of the RECARO exhibit (Hall 1, Booth 1C12) will be the original “autonova GT” with RECARO interior equipment. On loan from Audi Tradition, the concept car will thus be appearing exactly 50 years after its premiere in 1965. For motorsport fans, a visit to the RECARO booth will be particularly worthwhile on Friday, March 27th, between 3 and 5 PM, when racing legends Ellen Lohr, Klaus Ludwig and Jochen Mass will be on hand for an autograph session.

The first RECARO Sport Seat in black and white The design of the „autonova GT“ seat influenced the first RECARO Sport Seat (Image ©: Michael Conrad) Futuristic sports car: A Draft of the „autonova GT“ (Image ©: Michael Conrad) (Image ©: Retro Classics)

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