Recaro Automotive Seating celebrates its 50th anniversary of shell seats at SEMA 2017

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Recaro shell seats have been setting industry standards for five decades. In 2017, the global leader of premium performance seats, Recaro Automotive Seating is celebrating its 50th year of developing and producing shell seats for passenger cars and race cars. In 1967, it unveiled the Recaro Rallye, the world’s first street-licensed shell seat, which was followed by the Recao racing seat in 1974, the first pure shell-type racing seat for professional touring car competitions.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the seat shell, Recaro Automotive Seating is presenting the Recaro Pole Position SL at SEMA 2017.


“Armed with our 50 years of experience, we’re among the leading suppliers of lightweight, safe and comfortable shell seats – both for sporty street driving and for the extremely high demands of professional motor racing,” says Martin C. Klein, vice president of Recaro Automotive Seating. “But we don’t only look back on our many ingenious milestones. At SEMA 2017, we will reveal out plans on how we’re continuing to make the unique Recaro riding performance in shell seats a reality on the U.S. aftermarket, both today and tomorrow.”

In 1967, the Recaro Rallye became the prototype for every sporty street-use car seat made ever since. As the world’s first shell seat, it represented a continuation of the revolution in automotive seating design that Recaro had begun two years earlier with the market launch of its first sport seat. It featured a seat shell of fiberglass reinforced polyester resin that was formed to the contours of the human body, reflecting Recaro’s early commitment to ergonomics, safety and lightweight design.

The Rallye was also ahead of its time in terms of comfort. Subsequently named the Rallye I, it was mounted on tracks that allowed forward and rearward adjustment that also provided variable recline adjustment – the essential ingredients in achieving an ergonomically favorable seating position.

Its upholstery, which featured a forwardly pronounced thigh support, consisted of foam material, while the seat back was equipped with padding elements that could be adapted to the contour of the occupant’s back. Optionally the Recaro Rallye I was available with a height and tilt adjustable headrest at extra costs of just $23 U.S. dollars to improve accident protection. This innovation in the late 1960s put Recaro among the pioneers of occupant protection.

The first Rallye seat approved for street use was followed by two more Rallye models, each with successive improvements in safety, weight and comfort. The Rallye II was the first shell seat to feature a foldable backrest; and the Rallye III from 1979 weighed only 26pounds, making it the lightest seat of its kind at the time. It offered pneumatically adjustable side supports and was designed to accommodate three-, four- or six-point seat belt systems.

In 1974, the company launched its Recaro Racing Seat. It was the first pro racing shell developed exclusively for use in professional touring car competitions, where every gram of weight mattered. Boasting an extremely stable polyester double shell construction, the seat weighed a mere 14 pounds, including upholstery, headrest and seat rail. Yet, it met the highest safety standards and thus quickly spread throughout the world’s pro racing scene.

Just five years later, Recaro pushed the envelope even further both in terms of lightweight design and safety. By incorporating the innovative material Kevlar, they developed a superlight shell seat that weighed under 7 pounds, along with a standard version weighing about 15 pounds. As textiles they employed self-extinguishing Nomex and flame-retardant velour covers.

In 2004 Recaro introduced the Pole Position (ABE), the first racing shell approved for street use. In 2009 it offered a carbon variant, which at 10 pounds was the lightest retrofit seat in the world. To this day, Pole Position series models remain among the most popular racing shells, both in racing and on the road.

As a breakthrough innovation in worldwide racing, the Recaro P 1300 GT was launched in 2013. Combining top-notch safety with bespoke comfort, it was the first racing shell in the world to meet the then-new 8862-2009 FIA standad for advanced racing seats, while also featuring longitudinal adjustment – making it ideal for racing applications with frequent driver changes.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the seat shell, Recaro Automotive Seating is now offering a limited edition model of the Pole Position, which has been designed to deliver the ultimate sporty street driving experience. The Recaro Pole Position SL, presented at SEMA 2017 for the U.S. aftermarket, combines cleanly designed and distinctive sportiness with high-quality manufacturing and craftsmanship. This purebred performance seat is made for sharp-looking interiors and the finest in dynamic driving pleasure.

About Recaro Automotive Seating:
Recaro Automotive Seating is the premium brand of Adient. At seven locations in Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Japan, Mexico and the USA, we design, manufacture, and market complete seats representative of our core competencies of design, ergonomics, craftsmanship, robustness, lightweight construction, and first-class workmanship, under the brand name Recaro. Recaro Automotive Seating consists of two units: While Recaro Performance Car Seating offers passenger car seats of OEMs and the aftermarket, Recaro Commercial Vehicle Seating focuses on commercial vehicle seats in the OEM and aftermarket segments. Recaro Automotive Seating uses the brand Recaro under a license of the Recaro Holding.

About Adient:
Adient is a global leader in automotive seating. With 86,000 employees operating 237 manufacturing/assembly plants in 33 countries worldwide, we produce and deliver automotive seating for all vehicle classes and all major OEMs. From complete seating systems to individual components, our expertise spans every step of the automotive seat making process. Our integrated, in-house skills allow us to take our products from research and design all the way to engineering and manufacturing – and into more than 25 million vehicles every year. For more information on Adient, please visit

Recaro Automotive Seating celebrates its 50th anniversary of shell seats at SEMA 2017. In 1967 the Recaro Rallye became the prototype for every sporty street-use car seat made ever since.

SOURCE RECARO Automotive Seating