HomeAutoHunterBenchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style

Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style

Our selections this week celebrate the bygone 3-across front seat

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If you are of a certain age and your parents were not early adopters of imported sports cars, you may well have learned to drive in a car or truck with a bench rather than bucket seats.

Though not as safe as buckets equipped with 3-point shoulder and lap belts, bench seats had their advantages. 

For a family, there was room for three people to occupy the broad front bench. For teenagers on dates, driver and companion could sit side-by-side, no center console separating them, provided, of course, that the passenger didn’t mind the transmission tunnel or perhaps even the gearshift lever emerging from the floorboards.

So, in memory of the beloved bench seat, this weekend we’ve decided to share some bench-seat beauties we found while going through the docket for AutoHunter, the online collector car auction site driven by ClassicCars.com.

1953 Chevrolet 210

AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal
AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal

This post-war Chevy 2-door sedan has been nicely restored and upgraded, with a new Hampton Motor Couch interior featuring two-tone gray bench seating and matching door panels and gray carpet. 

The car was painted frost green at General Motors’ Norwood, Ohio, assembly plant but in the early 1980s was redone in dusk gray. 

Power comes from a 235cid inline-6 equipped with Fenton upgrades and linked to a column-shifted (no pesky floor shifter to bother someone seated front center) manual transmission.

1955 Chevrolet 3100

AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal
AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal

This bench-seat beauty is being offered after 22 years with the same owner, who reports a rebuild of the 235cid inline-6 engine, 12-volt electrical upgrade, new leaf springs and installation of Vintage Air, all within the past 5 years, and new paint in the factory two-tone scheme and new wheels about 2½ years ago.

Inside the cab are — ta daa! — a black-and-gray cloth bench seat and column-mounted shifter for the manual transmission. 

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air fuelie convertible

AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal
AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal

This ’57 Chevy V8-powered convertible was equipped at the assembly plant with red and silver vinyl bench-seat interior that was replaced while retaining the color and materials during restoration, which took place less than 400 miles ago. 

For the 1957 model year, Chevrolet produced more than 47,500 Bel Air convertibles, but reportedly equipped only 1,530 of its cars with fuel-injected rather than carbureted V8 engines, and this is one of those rare fuelies, the AutoHunter description notes. 

The 283cid Ramjet V8 was rated at 283 horsepower when new, and is linked to a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission.

The convertible has a new black top, rear fender skirts and a Continental kit. 

1969 Oldsmobile 442

AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal
AutoHunter, Benchmark: These AutoHunter selections share seating style, ClassicCars.com Journal

This late-‘60s Detroit muscle car has been updated with front disc brakes, 18-inch Boss wheels, Borla exhaust, Pioneer stereo, wood steering wheel and… a replacement bench seat, reupholstered in TMI Pro Series black vinyl front and back. 

Providing power is a 400cid V8 rebuilt with new Comp cams and lifters, valve springs, aluminum intake, ceramic 2-inch headers, and a Holley Double Pumper 750cfm carburetor. The engine is rated at 325 horsepower and is linked to a rebuilt and column-shifted 2-speed automatic transmission. 

While we’ve focused on vehicles with bench seats, there is a bucket-load — pun intended — of other options on the AutoHunter docket.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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