September 1, 2013

Recaro. The name has been synonymous with top-notch race and high-performance automotive seating for decades. Founded in Germany and most often associated with high-buck imported rides, it's easy to forget that Recaro's first appearance in a factory Mustang came as early as 1979, when the company's grippy and supportive buckets were prized standard equipment in that year's Indy Pace Car.

Your author bought a Pace Car new and dearly loved its Recaros, though the old Fox could certainly have used more power to make full use of them.

More recently, Ford made Recaros an option starting on the '12 Boss 302, and then the Shelby GT500, Mustang GT, and even the V-6 Premium followed suit for 2013. One-piece Recaro race buckets were also standard on the '13 Cobra Jet quarter-mile warriors. Having racked up plenty of miles in Recaro-equipped press Mustangs over the past couple years, we've been duly smitten not just with the way these chairs lock the old butt in place during even the most mindless of maneuvers, but also let us emerge without back soreness or pressure points after long trips. And, yes, they look pretty trick too.

Recaro's new Mustang buckets are not an off-the shelf seat; they were custom designed for our beloved Pony, though the basic shape is shared between Boss 302, GT500, GT, and V-6 Premium platforms. The project came about when Ford approached Recaro with some renderings of a desired look. Recaro's in-house design and engineering team then made those concepts a reality with wonderfully supportive seats having an integrated head restraint layout with openings for race-belt pass-through.

If you're considering a new Mustang, don't buy without at least sampling one with the Recaros onboard. Once you've been hugged by them, we really think you'll check the option box. For those who missed them from the factory, Ford Racing Performance Parts is now offering this same OEM-style of Recaro (upholstered in cloth, with Ford Racing embroidery) for '11-through-current Mustangs. Own a Fox, SN-95, or New Edge? Fear not, as Recaro has some aftermarket models for your ride, too.

Despite its German heritage, Recaro Automotive is now owned by Johnson Controls, a company based right here in the US of A, and all Recaro OEM seats for current U.S., Canadian, and Mexican markets are constructed in North America. In fact, the Mustang versions are handbuilt in a facility not too many miles north of Detroit, so we lined up a quick visit.

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Seats Still Available

Ford Racing now offers versions of these Recaro buckets that will bolt and plug into '11-and-up Mustangs (actually there are two different FRPP part numbers; the seats vary only by their onboard sensors and electrical harnesses relating to airbags. These electronics were changed by Ford sometime during the '12 model year.)

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Replacement Saddles

Through its dealer network, Recaro also offers a variety of aftermarket seat models. We asked the company to suggest variants that might be best suited to Fox or SN-95 applications, and here's a couple of Recaro's suggestions…

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Horse Sense


Back in the days before it specialized in seating, Recaro actually built bodies for the early VW Beetle and Porsche 356.