I have always found the original seats very comfortable but lacking in lateral support. Since I have been attending more track days I have struggled with the Griffith seats not only do they not hold me in very well but the seating position is a bit too high and my head touches the roof when wearing a helmet.
Having researched various options I note that popular options for replacing the original seats are Lotus Elise and Mazda MX5 which are both narrow enough to fit. Although the aftermarket options did look appealing in that they are much lighter and offer more support the replacement seats had to be a ‘TVR’ seat for me to maintain as much originality as possible.
Tuscan seat test
A good friend of mine had a pair of Tuscan seats up for sale which I purchased. I ran this seat in the Griff for most of 2015 to test it out for comfort and also completed a number of track days. I found the Tuscan seat much more supportive than the originals and being able to take the centre cushion out for track days and sit even lower in the car and wedged in is fantastic.
The issue with the Tuscan seat is for some reason even though the seats felt comfortable they gave me a back ache on long journeys. I also found the seats a bit too wide resulting in me being rattled around in them a bit on track. My main complaint with the seats is the lack of shoulder support, where the bolsters come up around the seat to form the headrest my shoulders sit on the bolsters which is not very comfortable. Lastly although I adore the design of the Tuscan seats I am not sure they entirely suit the Griffith.
Cerbera seat test
I have had a pair of Cerbera seats in the loft for a while now and since had tried them out before but found the seating position a bit too high (about 2cm higher than the standard seats). No good for me as I ideally need to be 2cm lower to accommodate the helmet on track days.
Taking what I had learnt from the Tuscan seats I decided to try out the Cerbera seats again.
I instantly felt the Cerbera seats where more comfortable and I couple of long journeys confirmed no back ache. The shoulder support is good and the seats feel sculpted. The fact the last 100 Griffiths were fitted with these seats from the factory is a big plus for me as technically even though they were not fitted to my car they are an OEM part which did feature in the Griffith.
On the negative side the issue with the height was very apparent as soon as the seats were fitted, I was now sitting far too high, my head was very almost touching the roof without a helmet and the driving position overall not great due to the height. Leg support on the Tuscan seats was also far superior and the Cerbera seats felt a bit short in terms of length.
Knowing I would be getting the seats re-trimmed I decided to modify the bottom foam by removing 75% of the foam thickness from the main cushion but leaving the leg support intact to provide a better support similar to a bucket seat design. The result not pretty but provided a proof of concept. Height wise this was now almost perfect although the very thin layer of foam was not very comfortable at all and very cold. The leg support also worked very well indeed.
Cerbera Seat modification and re trim
Throughout the testing phase of both seats I had been speaking with Dave The Trimmer who I had the car booked in for the seat re trim with. Dave in my experience is not only a very talented trimmer but is one of few individuals I spoke with who was happy to take on the challenge of potentially creating something bespoke.
Looking at the design of the Tuscan seat and the Cerbera seat I noted that one of the reasons the Tuscan seat is lower is because the Cerebra seat has a solid fibreglass base and the Tuscan seat has webbing.
I arranged to pop in to see Dave to discuss the possibility of modifying the Cerebra seat by cutting out the fiberglass and installing webbing. I also wanted to see if he could make a custom bottom foam based on my butchered original. With the scope of the seat retrim works clearly transforming from a few modifications into more of a complete custom build at this point I was expecting a lot of back tracking and excuses but the answer to both questions was simply “Yeah I can do that”.
The Griff went in with Dave the Trimmer on the 1st February. 1 week later Dave had modified the original seats and was ready to mock up the test foams.
I also asked Dave to replace the rear seat foams to provide additional comfort. Below the seat can be seen with a prototype bottom foam.
A couple of weeks later the custom made foams were ready. Below picture shows the new custom foam (left) original prototype (centre) and the original OEM foam (right)
A week later the seats are finished complete with heated seat elements with the switch hidden at the rear.
Huge thanks to Dave The Trimmer and the team for doing such a fantastic job creating this bespoke product.