Interior Revamp on a Budget | Acura RSX Type S

Nov 10, 2018

From the moment I bought my car, I had a plan. In fact, before I ever even had my driver’s license I knew exactly the car I wanted and exactly what I wanted to do with it. I would scroll through Tumblr and drool over the 240s, GTRs, Supras, and RSXs… “one day I’ll have the money to build my own car like that.” Well – spoiler alert – I still don’t have the money to build a car quite like that. However, I do have an RSX type S that I love dearly & have been carefully putting together, piece by piece, as my budget allows. I bought it from a friend of mine who had already put an intake & exhaust on it, then I spent an entire summer painting it (went from stock black to black with purple baby flake), got new head & taillights, radio, wheels, kSport coilovers with a 2-inch drop, and now… what I’ve been wanting since I was 14… Bride racing seats with Sparco seatbelts. These seats hold a special place in my heart because they’re the first auto brand that I fell in love with, yet they have always felt so incredibly out of my reach. The seat that I got runs for $2500 each, making a pair about $5000 plus $500 for brackets to mount them to the car.

That being said, I can’t lie… what I bought aren’t authentic Brides. I would typically argue that the original designer deserves all of the monetary credit from a product they’ve created. It’s only fair. But I came to a crossroads where my stock seats are torn apart from constant wear and getting them repaired would cost over $1000. New seats seemed like the obvious choice but I simply don’t have $5500 for seats. I found a brand out of Canada (Bride of Canada not Bride of Japan) that makes NHTSA safety-rated auto seats that satisfy my longing for these particular style seats. Also, they were $500 for the pair + $50 brackets so…

I also invested in the Sparco seatbelts I’ve been wanting forever. I was going to get belts for both the driver and passenger, but I foolishly didn’t realize that 3, 4, and 5-point racing belts are mounted either to your rollcage or in the backseat mounting points. This means that since I have yet to get a rollcage, belts for both would eliminate the usability of my backseat entirely. As much as I want my RSEX to be a full on rice machine, I’m not ready to give up that yet lol, so I just got one for the driver. (For now.)

So, with all of that backstory, I thought I’d take you through the process of buying and installing aftermarket racing seats in your car! Here we go.

Step One: Find the Style You Love 

This may seem obvious but if you are searching out seats to buy by only looking at a certain brand or a certain price bracket, you could miss what would be the best choice for you. I had no idea before I started looking that I could get the seats I was in love with for literally 1/10th of the price – without sacrificing the safety standards. Odds are that something close to the ideal seat for you is out there – even if it isn’t the brand you originally wanted. Unless you have the money to buy anything you want, in which case… get outta here and go buy them already. 

BEFORE // Stock Recaros feat. 15 years of wear

AFTER // New Brides feat. 0 hours of wear <3

BEFORE // Stock Recaros feat. 15 years of wear

AFTER // New Brides feat. 0 hours of wear <3

Step Two: Logistics

There are two primary issues to look out for when picking exactly which seat to buy – whether or not they fit the space allocated in your car and whether or not there is a bracket for it that will fit your car. I lucked out that in my car (’03 Acura RSX type S) came stock with Recaro racing seats that are almost exactly the same size as the seats I wanted. However, if you don’t have a sport model of whatever car you have and you’re looking at replacing standard Nissan seats (or whatever), make sure that the seats you want aren’t too tall or too wide to fit the space you’ve got. Would suck to get to the installation phase and realize the headrest will touch the ceiling. Secondly, most racing seats that I’ve seen either come with sliders on them that need to be mounted to brackets, or have nothing and need either a fixed bracket or a bracket that comes with the sliders – depending on your preference. Make sure you have all of that figured out before you put in that credit card number!

Step Three: Safety

Bottom line – you don’t want to buy the cheapest seats you can and then end up in a gnarly car crash that snaps your seat in half. There are multiple safety certifications that auto parts makers can obtain to ensure that they meet certain safety standards. Watch videos of your seats in a crash test. If you can’t find any, watch videos of seats with your same safety rating in a crash test. It’s not worth it to get the look you want for $100 but end up dying because of it. Sorry to be morbid but… sometimes spending the extra money is worth it.

NEW vs OLD // Installed passenger first

Step Four: Buy It and Install It Already!

One piece of advice: start with the passenger side. If something goes wrong and you need to order a different part or put your project on hold for some reason, you want to still be able to drive. Other than that, have at it! If you can’t figure out how to get your stock seats out, find a YouTube video or a forum that explains it. My seats both had airbags in them so figuring out what to do with the wiring was a little tricky. 

I also ran into some trouble with the brackets I bought. They were made to fit my car but also a variety of aftermarket seats and, so conveniently, didn’t have the right holes for the sliders on my new seats. I had to drill new holes & found that exact alignment of said holes is imperative to allow the sliders to slide freely. Any horizontal pressure on them makes it almost impossible for them to slide. Plan carefully!

Honestly, the hardest part about getting new seats is just taking the plunge. If you have a decent degree of handy-skills, you should be able to figure it out just fine. Finding the right seats and gathering up the courage to actually buy them was the most time-consuming part for me. They had to be perfect!

All of the trouble was worth the end result. I’m so incredibly happy with my final product & was even able to get some money for my stock seats thanks to Kyle, the Able-to-Sell-Anything Wizard. I’m officially one step closer to the setup of my dreams & am excited to see what comes next! X