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  1. #1

    Recaro Resource Guide

    Hi Everyone!

    Found this incredible guide on older Recaros.

    Credit goes to Ron@JJCustomInterior on this forum.



    First off here is some basic Recaro knowledge, hopefully you guys will appreciate it. It mostly covers seats made from the late 70s and up, i dont have a ton of info on the earlier seats. I will update this thread as i have the time, still have ALOT to add.

    Most older Recaros have a basic model number such as LX, LS, SRD. For most of the older models the first 2 letters stand for the back of the seat and the last digit stands for the base of the seat. For example an LX will stand for the back of the seat with its trademark pointy triangular bolsters but an LX-A will be the same back mounted to a flat base. Here is an example of a 3rd gen LX (top picture) and a 3rd gen LX-A (bottom)

    Here is an original brochure showing model names for ref. and pdf link if interested in higher res here

    Most of the common recaro seats can be traced through 4+ generations, each with their own specific details and differences. For example the first few generations of LS's (also known as the idealseat) have the trademark large rolling D shaped upper bolsters with lower bolsters that are very large and slope very close to the back of the lower frame. The original idealseat also had an upper adjustment knob. Later generations have a very similar back at first glance but the lower bolster foam is much smaller with the slope of the bolster midway back on the frame as seen here. The first 3 generations all had different back adjustment knobs and covers as well.

    Early vs Newer Foam

    The construction of the early recaros was very primitive compared to the later generations. Honestly the biggest improvement i have found through the generations is the advancement in the construction of the seats. The gen 1/2 seats are fairly difficult to assemble where as the later 3rd and 4th generations are about as simple as you can imagine. The newer seats such as the sportster cs, trend, sport, and so on have actually become a completely different monster, recaro pretty much redesigned the basic construction of the model line in the 2000's.

    How to spot a FAKE

    Its not always easy to spot a fake but there are a few simple steps you can follow to increase your chances of purchasing a genuine recaro. My best advice is just to do your research ahead of time. If you are going to check out a set of seats on craigslist look up pictures of real seats or maybe even print out pictures to bring with you for reference. In most case if its too good to be true it normally is. This is also mainly only a problem with a handful of models including the srd/speed and the line of fixed back recaros. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for..

    • Is the 'RECARO' lettered correctly? If the letters are spaced from each other? Is the lettering crooked? If it generally looks off chances are you are not dealing with a genuine recaro.
    • If it is a fixed back does it have a valid FIA tag? All recaro fixed back seats will have a real fia visible on the side of the seat.
    • What style diaphragm does the seat use? You will only find 3 style of supports on genuine recaro seats. The first design was a support strap. They were made of a nylon style material and each seat would have had around 3 of them going horizontally across the base attaching with a U style hook. The second generation used a support diaphragm. It was a single support made with 1-2 large rubber pcs bonded to a burlap style material and attached using a dowel and hook method on each side of the support. ALL srds used a 1pc diaphragm. The newest Recaro seats use a molded plastic but that is pretty self explanatory. Here are a few examples.

    Gen 1 straps (New jjcustominterior strap on top, original in middle)

    Gen 2 diaphragm

    FAKE speed as found on ebay (you can also see the material is hog ringed onto the frame, something recaro hasnt done since the 70's.) Honestly there are about 100 things i could pick apart on these seats to show they are fake but this is the easiest to spot. They dont always look like this but this is the most obvious to spot.

    Here is another speed that at first glance looked 100% legit short of some "off" recaro stitching but once i removed the insert found this..

    If you are going to purchase a seat and want to send me pictures of it ahead of time im always more then willing to help and identify anything that i can.


    Model C (classic c / ortho / classic c / cse)

    Available in power and manual variations as an aftermarket seat and dealer option for various european cars. Most featured 8 way adjustable bolsters, heated inserts, power air controlled lumbar support, and some also had a blatpunk speaker headrest. The Model c was Recaros top of the line luxory seat offered in the 80's and through the 90's. Variations of this seat were optional in e30 bmw's (6k dealer option) Mercedes 190 cosworths, Audi URQuattors (non power), Various Porches, and a few other vehicles that escape me at this time. Variations of this seat are still available from Recaro as the Ortho line.

    These seats were also available in a few manual versions that used the B style base.


    LS Series

    The LS is one of the most popular seats Recaro made through the late 70's/80's/90's. Variations of the LS were found in but not limited to cars made by Ferrari, BMW, Alfa, Volkswagen, Porsche, Ford, and more.. They are most commonly found in mk2 volkswagens and Alfa Romeo milano verdes within the US.

    The later ls was available with an a,b,c, or d base, but most commonly found with a b or c base. There are also a few rare power version that i do not have a ton of information on. (pictured below in black with control panel on bolster)


    Speed / SRD

    By far the most copied Recaro of all time. Be very cautious when buying these seats as prob 80% of the seats on the market are fake chinese replicas. I would not feel safe putting the replicas in a car as the build quality and materials used are fairly poor (i have litterally seen people shred the metal on the base just removing sliders (can post pics of carnage). The Recaro SRD is prob. the most well known Recaro as it has been available since the 80's and is still in production to this day as the speed. They have came in everything from e30 bmw's to Toyota supras along with hondas, nissans, fords, and so on..

    Also here is an easy way to tell the difference between a speed and an srd. Take a close look at the curves of the upper bolster foam.. The SRD has a larger more triangular "shoulder" foam where the speed is smaller and more smooth. Also you can see the speed has a larger headrest section but the ITR versions of the seat were actually a hybrid of the two and tech a speed. Also NO TRUE SRD ever came with the small recaro logo, only the speeds.



    Last edited by DreadAngel; 19-01-2016 at 10:34 PM.
    Toda Racing AU | Shen * Speed Works | Jesse Streeter

  2. #2

    The recaro LX is one of the oldest recaro variations available along with the LS. The Recaro lx still has a variation in production to this day(specialist). It is commonly found in early to late 80's cars such as the TransAm, Mustang, 300zx, and various other models. The Gen 1 lx has the larger lower bolsters but maintains the same triangular back that is the trademark of the LX.

    Another member of the LX/LS/etc family that's often seen, the SE. These were Recaro's "budget" sport seat in the late '90s and early '00s, they also had a decent period-correct look for '70s and '80s cars since they were mostly based on the LX.


    A8 (gen 1/2)

    The A8 is by far one of the most highly desired recaros available at this time. They are one of the first recaro sport seats to feature a new frame design for passenger vehicles. There were 2 variations of the A8 to be released and they were available as factory options in a select group of exotics. The majority of A8's you will find are of the aftermarket variety.

    Gen 1

    Gen 2


    General Info

    Mounting Pattern:

    Available headrest options:


    Standard Solid

    Wrap Around

    Wrap around w/speakers

    Ads & Brochures #01


    Volkswagen (MKII)

    Here you can see that VW offered the Model C, LX, and LS as optional seats for the mk2's in europe.

    Ads & Brochures #02

    Last edited by DreadAngel; 19-01-2016 at 10:26 PM.
    Toda Racing AU | Shen * Speed Works | Jesse Streeter

  3. #3
    Ads & Brochures #03

    Seat Dimensions

    Crash Test

    Recaro SRD:


    Bride Brix:


    Recaro Base Finder

    This is something from myself I found during my time with JDM Imports...

    If you're after the part number for the Recaro Base suited to your car, you just look up your car here. It's all in Japanese so you will need to look up the Japanese name for your car.
    Last edited by DreadAngel; 20-01-2016 at 06:40 PM.
    Toda Racing AU | Shen * Speed Works | Jesse Streeter

  4. #4
    A+ thread.

    Reputation given.

  5. #5
    Thx mate

    Praise goes to Ron@JJCustomInterior for his experience and time putting this guide together!
    Last edited by DreadAngel; 19-01-2016 at 09:56 PM.
    Toda Racing AU | Shen * Speed Works | Jesse Streeter

  6. #6
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    Busselton, WA
    DECF28R & JB627

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