'59 Tbirds W/4-Way Power Seats
Jim ~ elijahbird7 tells me that he has an operational 4-way Passenger Power Seat in his '59 Squarebird! This caused me to do some research because, to my knowledge and according to the OFS, there was no 4-way Passenger Power Seat available in 1959! His Squarebird was scheduled to be built on Dec. 17th, as I recall, fairly early in the '59 production run. According to Automotive Mile Posts, only the 4-way drivers power seat was listed as an available option in 1958, and 1959. In the 1960 production run, in addition to the 4-way drivers power seat being mentioned as optional equipment, there is a first mention of the 4-way Passenger power seat being optional equipment. ($92.10) New option for '60.
Now here is where it gets interesting to me.
There is a reference to the 4-Way Passenger Power Seat in the OFS. Here is what it says when it is listed with an @ sign next to it. There were no years listed next to it, as there were for other factory installed items. If an item was available only for 1958 it had that year next to it, for 1958, 1959, or 1960, it had those years next to it. Here is the quote from the OFS for the Squarebird.
"@ Shown in factory assembly manuals as an RPO item, but not listed in sales/service literature."
There are no years listed next to that @ sign...
I tried to find out what RPO meant but could not find any explanation for it. Now here is what Jim found when he got his '59 home. "Got it home today and tonight I was reading the owner's manual. On page 3 it references the 4-way power front seat. The last paragraph states: "The right front seat can also be adjusted in the same way by pressing the switch at the right side of that seat." So, I guess it is factory correct."
Well you know that it is referenced in your 1959 Owners Manual! They either had the seat or modified the existing passenger seat to make it 4-Way powered. Not only is it mentioned there but also in the 1959 Shop Manual! Quote from page 13-5 "If both front seats are power operated and one seat is inoperative, the source of trouble is between the junction block and the inoperative seat mechanism."
More proof of dual power seat availability? Unfortunately, Jim was not provided with a Build/Rot sheet or Gate Receipt, so he cannot check those, though I have suggested that he try to contact the previous owner(s) to see if they have them. Here we have a situation where the OFS does not show this 4-way power passenger seat being available for 1958-1960, but Automotive Mile Posts shows it available for the 1960 production run. The 1959 Owners Manual and the 1959 Shop Manual (mine says the same thing) talks about it as if it is a fact that it was available for the 1959 production run.
I wonder what Alan Tast and "Fuz" know about this since they helped author the OFS?
In the 1949-1959 Parts and Illustrations manual the illustration shows only a driver side 4 way power seat. Oddly enough, the picture is of a 1960 Thunderbird.
However, the Parts manual shows an option for 1 or 2 of the Control Switch and Bezel Nut.
Perhaps further evidence that a passenger power seat was an option and might have also been an option in 1958.
"A Regular Production Option (RPO) is a General Motors standard coding for vehicle configuration options. These codes are a combination of 3 alphanumeric characters and refer to a specific option or modification to the vehicle. These codes signify how the vehicle is built during production and thus the specific configuration of a vehicle as it exits the factory up to and including the paint color can be described by specifying the base model and the complete list of RPO codes used during production. Even a vehicle with no extra-cost options will have some RPOs, as information like the engine type and exterior paint color are always specified."
At Ford, we don't do RPOs and I never heard of it or saw it in Ford literature, either. We do, GROUP NUMBERS. We don't do "@" signs either.
If you look closely at the Ford diagrams and read the Ford Catalogs, things make sense. Arizonajack didn't understand why his illustration showed a '60 T-bird. Right in the lower RH side it shows a revision date of 1964 (in a catalog that ends at 1959); the most recent illustration for power seats in a Squarebird. Furthermore, look at the wires. Clearly at the upper right there is a, "*14618 TO RH SIDE" (partially there because it's an option). The asterisk gives it away as described in the Text Catalog. - Dave
As for RPO, this is an acronym for 'Regular Production Option.' RPO in essence means that the item was advertised as being available for installation without any special approvals or ordering procedures. 'LPO' sometimes pops up in descriptions - this means 'Limited Production Option' and indicates that the item was restricted in availability either because of low production/demand, difficulty or expense in installation due to high labor input, or some other similar reason. And, sorry folks, I can't name off the top of my head what (if any) options were given a LPO designation.
Without taking an evening to dig through the assembly manual reprints (because I have much more important things to be doing right now, like trying to land a full-time job in my given profession in the wake of being laid off since Labor Day) I have to think that it showed up in the electrical assembly manuals for at least '58 and '60 (I don't recall which of the '59 manuals wasn't reprinted, if it was electrical or body/trim).
1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion
Alan, I will refer to the comments I made regarding the '59/60 automatic convertible top questions. Again, it is very much appreciated that you have taken the time to respond to this. I wish you well in your quest to continue on in your field of work after being laid off. Been there, done that a good number of years ago. Good luck and thank you again for all that you do.
I agree with Alan's response but decided to do just a bit of research.
The 58 owners manual states that the powere seat on the right side adjusts the same way as the drivers seat.
The parts book I have lists 1 or 2 power seat switches. The part number starts with B9S but the revision date is may 1959.
Did a passenger power seat exist for 58 and 59. It appears the answer is yes. This is the sort answer and the whole process needs further review of period lit. and parts books.
I don't remember what the OFS says as that was 10 years ago as Alan noted. Yes there are errors but completing that revision was a 3 year process. We tried our best and of course there was info that came to light after the printing, but the end result was a very informative document put together by humans.
Alan is currently embroiled in the 61-63 revision and running into many of the same issues from the 5860 revisions and I assume many more. He is getting a lot more help on that revieion and my guess is the size will be double the 58-60. Most don'e relizie the amount of original paperwork Alan has ammassed and the effort required to document even 1 item.
Nuff of the soap box.
I will do some additional research on the lit. I have.
Will add that I have never seen a pass side power seat in any 58 I have or have parted out. But this doesn't mean they did not exist.
At least 59's had window stickers so maybe there is still one that has survived that shows the pass power seat.
More to Follow later
Sun Prairie, Wi.
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