The Chevrolet Corvette C6 is a classic among American sports cars and a fan favorite among Chevy enthusiasts. Six generations of Corvettes have been produced since the original model debuted in 1953, with the C6 being available from 2005 to 2013. The C6 ‘Vette is an improvement over the C5 in many ways, including performance. It also features a new exposed-headlight design. Wheelbase lengthening, revised independent double-wishbone suspension, and a brand-new 6.0L LS2 V8 as the standard engine are just a few of the significant updates.
Over 15 years have passed since the introduction of the C6 Corvette. Even while there are plenty of mechanically sound Corvette C6s from 2005-2013, many of the interior components are probably on their last legs by now. The original driver’s seat often deteriorates first due to age-related wear and tear. The seats in a C6 Corvette come with adequate support from the factory, but they aren’t built to last.
We’ll go over some of the most crucial questions you should ask yourself before buying new seats for your C6 Corvette. We’ll propose a couple possibilities that might work for you, including a track-focused alternative and a period-correct factory seat look-alike.
Problems With The Factory C6 Corvette Seat Design
The initial complaints about the quality of the factory seats in their C6 Corvettes started to surface about a year after the vehicles were first delivered. The thin wiring of the seat spring isn’t strong enough to properly hold the bottom foam, which is the major problem. Over time, this wears away at the bottom cushion until it can no longer support itself and sinks further into the frame.
The metal frame of the seat frequently nicks the sides of the bottom cushion, leading to the same sinking issue. C6 owners have complained of developing a hard bump in the center of their seat. Under the seat springs, you’ll find this memory seat control unit. If your C6’s seats feel uneven, it’s probably because the springs have torn the foam at the base of the cushion.
Similar problems occur in other foam-contact areas of the C6 Corvette’s seats. The foam padding also rips and wears down with time at the side bolsters.
Chevy Corvette C6 Seat Upgrade Considerations
There are a few things to think about before you upgrade the seats in your Chevy Corvette C6 that I’ll go over before I offer any options. You should spend some time thinking about where you want to sit because that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time.
Before making any final selections, it’s important to give careful consideration to your requirements; doing so could be the difference between ease and suffering. It may be advisable to go for a seat with less extreme bolstering if you rarely take your C6 Corvette out on the track. On the other hand, you’ll want plenty of cornering support in your C6 track vehicle. Regardless, your comfort and safety depend on selecting the right seat size.
If you own a Corvette C6, replacing the seats will usually improve comfort and support, but it will come at the expense of several original equipment features. Seat position memory, heated seats, and side airbags are probably out of reach unless you’re ready to transplant the electronics from the original C6 seats into replacements. Furthermore, a recline handle would not fit in the C6 Corvette’s tight cabin, therefore aftermarket seats with that feature are quite uncommon. Alternate seat alternatives that use the factory mounting points will require a seat adaptor.
C6 Corvette Seat Upgrade Sizing
The optimal choice will ultimately be the one that offers the greatest level of comfort. Getting the right size seat for your C6 Corvette is a major contributor to the comfort equation. There are a few dimensions to think about while purchasing an improved Corvette seat. The first thing you need to do is check and see if the base of the seat is sufficiently wide. Finding a chair with a width that allows you to sit upright without feeling cramped is essential. Read this post for guidance on how to take your measurements for a proper seat.
It’s important that it fits you well, but it’s also compatible with the C6 chassis. Those that require a larger base in their replacement seat often run into this issue. Because of the C6 Corvette’s notoriously cramped cockpit, installing a seat in it can be tricky. Fit issues are also exacerbated by the presence of side bolsters. Seats with very strong side bolsters may press on the console and door cards of your Vette. Don’t waste money by not measuring first.
The absence of lateral support in the stock seats is a recurrent gripe among C6 Corvette drivers. The C6 Corvette seats, in contrast to the C7 seats that came later, are a little too soft and cushy for drivers who like to get their blood pumping. The original seats are quite well-bolstered on the sides, but they offer little support for the hips or thighs. That causes a great deal of swerving on curvy roads and racetracks. Consequently, many C6 Corvette drivers seek out sport seats with a tighter fit.
We quickly discussed how thigh bolsters can help you maintain your position in the chair. All the seats on this list, and most others, feature substantial side bolsters to prevent any sliding common in stock C6 Corvette seats. The same is true for the side bolsters that hold in your midsection. Protruding neck and head bolstering are a feature of some sporty chairs that are designed to keep a driver’s head in place when wearing a racing helmet.
However, there are drawbacks to using excessive reinforcements. The majority of the time, adding reinforcements won’t compromise ease. If your seat is too narrow or too small, though, a booster may cause you some discomfort as you squeeze into it. Furthermore, getting in and out of your Corvette may be more challenging if you have installed massive thigh bolsters, as you may need to enter the vehicle butt first.
Fixed vs Reclining Corvette C6 Seats
Comfort and pain can also be determined by whether or not you go for fixed or reclining aftermarket C6 chairs. Since the two choices are presented in the heading, this one requires little explanation. The Corvette seats are not adjustable, so you’ll have to sit in the same position for the duration of your ride. A single piece of metal, fiberglass, or carbon fiber is used to make the shell of these types of seats. If that’s the case, there won’t be much room for adjusting.
The replacement seat shell for a reclined Corvette seat will be less rigid. Like the original equipment seat, a reclining seat will allow the user to adjust his or her angle of seating comfort. Those who suffer from back problems and could benefit from a little more reclined seating position would like the C6’s recline feature. Reclining C6 seats are typically more expensive than non-reclining C6 chairs when purchased as an aftermarket addition.
Airbag Sensor and Stock Electronics
The seat of a Corvette C6 is equipped with a number of technological gadgets and airbags. When upgrading to aftermarket seats, you may need to give up some of the electrical amenities that came standard in your vehicle. Memory functions, heating elements, a passenger seat detector, and side airbags are all standard on C6 seats. Not many replacement chairs allow for those additions. You can either take them from the original seat and install them in the replacement one, or you can choose not to use them at all.
The electronic control unit (ECU) of your Corvette will be upset if you disable certain features. The side airbags are an essential safety feature. There will be a constant blinking of the airbag light if the airbag sensor isn’t hooked in. However, there is a way to fix this problem. VetteWorks is well-known for providing products and services tailored to the Corvette. One of these is a plug that makes your C6 Corvette’s electronic control unit (ECU) think the airbag is still installed. Using this method, you can turn off the annoying bulb. Finally, by disabling this feature, you are making your Corvette less safe. That might have serious repercussions in the event of a collision. You should only replace the stock seat if you know what you’re doing and are okay with the consequences.
Seat Mounting / Aftermarket Brackets
If you want to install aftermarket seats in your C6 Corvette, you’ll need to either fabricate a new seat bracket or buy a prefabricated bracket designed specifically for your seats. The original C6 seats attach to the floor by use of a foundation that was designed for that purpose. Find a seat that can be mounted either with the original base or with aftermarket brackets designed for your vehicle. Seats like the Caravaggio described here are designed specifically for the C6 Corvette and can be installed using the car’s existing hardware. The opposite is more typical.
In order to attach a replacement seat to the original mounting locations, aftermarket seat rails are typically required. Several universal C6 mounting brackets exist, which is fortunate. Some brackets, like the aforementioned Corbeau sliding brackets, are designed to fit just a specific brand of hardware. When it comes to replacement seats, some brackets, like the AMT brackets, offer several bolting options to accommodate a wide range of manufacturers.
As a general rule, after installing new seat brackets, the resulting seat height will be much lower than the original. Some drivers of the C6 Corvette appreciate the added headroom that this feature provides when wearing a racing helmet. You can always use spacers to raise the legs back up to their original height if you find the new lower base height to be unacceptable. Whatever the case may be, those of you who are 6 feet or taller may want to give serious thought to the height of the base.
C7 Corvette Seat Swap
It’s not uncommon for people to install seats from a different generation of Corvette into a C6 chassis. Seat deterioration and torn foam were addressed by Chevrolet in both the C6 and C7 Corvette chassis. The seats on the C7 GT version of the Corvette are more heavily bolstered than those in the C6. The C7 chairs’ thigh bolsters distinguish them from the C6’s, which make you feel more like you’re sitting on them. However, there are a few obstacles you’ll have to conquer before you can fit C7 seats into a C6 Corvette.
The electronic systems are the main cause of the problem. Wiring harnesses are not interchangeable between the C6 and C7 Corvettes. Because of this, the electronic functions and controls of a C7 seat will not be compatible with the standard connectors found on a C6 vehicle. It affects the heated seats, seat control module, airbag, passenger detection sensor, and seat position sensor. If you want to use a C6 seat with a C7 vehicle, you’ll need to unplug the C6 seat and wiring harness from the C6 vehicle and plug in the C6 systems to the C7 wire harness. Of course, you’ll need some serious wiring expertise and experience for that.
The seat belt mounting techniques for the C6 and C7 Corvettes are also slightly different. There’s still that to figure out. Since the C6 seatbelt system is simpler to adapt, most Corvette owners who have made the conversion have employed it. To accommodate the C7 seat passthrough, the seat belt attachment belts will need to be moved.
Stock Corvette C6 Seats Foam Upgrade
If you’re not interested in buying new seats for your C6, you can still improve their comfort and support by replacing the foam inserts. Seats from the factory in the C6 Corvette are pretty much universally panned for being too flimsy, thus there are a lot of articles out there on modifying seats from earlier C6 Vettes to conform to the more robust design used in C6 Vettes manufactured after 2012. The replacement of worn-out seat foam and coverings is the main part of this refurbishment.
The new foam will have foam supports underneath it to prevent the structure from ripping the seat cushions. Most C6 upgraders also advise applying non-tear fabric to the new foam anywhere it will come into contact with the frame.
The entire procedure is far too involved to be described in detail here, but the fundamentals are easy to grasp. You will need to take apart your C6 Corvette’s seats, take out the foam composite section from the seat bottom, drill new mounting holes for the new foam and skin, glue the non-tear fabric to the new foam, and reassemble the seat. There are some subtleties involved in that process, but it’s not too taxing. If you’re determined to tackle the project on your own, click the link above for a more detailed, step-by-step breakdown.
Chevy Corvette C6 Seat Upgrade Guide Summary
Though the Chevrolet Corvette C6 has many redeeming qualities, its seats are not among them. Due to the poor design, the factory C6 seats on 2005-2012 Corvettes are frequently one of the first interior components to fail. The cushions wear out quickly since they don’t provide enough support and eventually fall apart. The original C6 seats may lack in comfort and support, but there are several excellent aftermarket alternatives to choose from.
Researching your options for C6 ‘Vette seats is crucial before making a purchase. C6 seat fitment, in which the seat is the proper size for you and the chassis, is crucial. Make sure the base width of your chosen seat is wide enough for you to fit comfortably, but not so wide that you’ll be sliding around; most respectable seat manufacturers do a pretty excellent job of providing thorough schematics of their seats before purchase. The width of the side bolsters is also crucial, as you don’t want them to rub on the door cards or center console of your Corvette.
Choose the seats in your Corvette based on how you intend to use the car. It’s recommended that a dedicated track C6 have a fixed back seat constructed of lightweight, crash-resistant materials. When upgrading a Corvette for daily use, it’s common to seek out reclining seats that offer more comfort than the stock sport seats without sacrificing support. In a stroke of good fortune, there are viable choices across the board.