Only those who know their past can shape their future
In 1965, an entirely new vehicle seat was presented to car enthusiasts attending the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. RECARO, which emerged from the Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co. company in 1963, exhibited the design study of a sports seat for retrofitting in vehicles. By integrating foam upholstery and pronounced side bolsters on the seat surface and backrest, the new vehicle seat factory from Stuttgart revolutionized automotive seating with this distinctive product – and created a previously unknown business sector. The sports seat DNA that thus evolved is still found to this day in every RECARO seat - with safety and quality continuously improved over the years and enhanced by lightweight construction.
From 1906, "Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co.", the forerunner of today's company, was one of the leading manufacturers of bodywork for practically all major carmakers of the time. For example, the legendary Porsche 356 was manufactured by Reutter. The sale of this factory to Porsche in 1963 gave rise to RECARO (REutter CAROsserie), which subsequently focused on vehicle seats for original equipment manufacturers and – from 1965 – on the aftermarket sector.
This new product from RECARO for the first time contributed a perceptibly sporty component to vehicles. Whereas seats from conventional series production had previously been constructed mainly from metal springs and horsehair padding, RECARO employed modern foam upholstery to absorb jolts from the road. The new sports seat also offered pronounced side bolsters, a feature that was previously reserved for racing seats, to improve occupant support for everyone. Porsche bestowed high honor on the first RECARO: For the new 911 model as well, the RECARO seat was available from the factory as an optional extra or as standard equipment for all drivers wishing to combine sportiness with comfort.
RECARO RALLYE I
The shell seats that Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter had already built for the Porsche lightweight cars and racing cars of the 1950s served as examples for the brand's revolutionary new shell seat that RECARO manufactured from 1967. The new product now also transferred proven elements of the sports seat for series vehicles – particularly comfort elements such as foam pads – to seats with a purely sporty design for rally racing and motor racing.
The RECARO "IdealSeat-LS" was the top-of-the-line model from the new IdealSeat generation, developed by industrial designer Horst Sommerlatte from the year 1971. The new models were launched beginning in 1973. Impressive features of this seat for drivers for whom only the best was good enough included an ergonomically correct sitting position combined with seat and backrest contouring to fit the body – always in keeping with RECARO's "Form follows Human" design motto. Breathable covers and perfect occupant support by pronounced side bolsters combined with well-matched springs and upholstery resulted in a heretofore unknown level of comfort even with a very sporty driving style.
RECARO RALLYE II
In parallel with development of the new RECARO design principles by Horst Sommerlatte and preparation of the second IdealSeat generation, RECARO also developed a successor to the shell seat. The predecessor was intended for both touring car racing and rally use.
RECARO RALLYE III
The further developed RECARO Rallye seat, now retroactively designated as the "Rallye III," differed from its direct predecessor by virtue of a revised and modified folding mechanism. This improved the basic rigidity of this lightweight rally seat; the seat could also be folded farther than the preceding version.
Enhancing a proven product: The next RECARO seat range was launched in 1983/84. The then leading RECARO "IdealSeat-LS" was revised with the aspiration of providing automotive seating culture appropriate for people in the modern era. With the newly named RECARO Seat LS, the company now offered more comfort down to the last detail. This was ensured by features like loosely padded backrest strips. It remained possible to customize the length of the seat surface. Moreover, optional seat heating provided comfort for sporting driving in winter as well. The new features of the next RECARO Sport seat generation were the backrest adjustment lever on both sides and the backrest folding mechanism.
The "Sylam A8" seat study formed the basis for development of a new RECARO seat in the late 80s. With the system laminate "Sylam" developed by KEIPER RECARO, it was possible to combine high-strength plastics with metal components during production. This study ultimately led to the RECARO "A8," which represented the first use of the process in series production. This model, which was named after highway A8 near Kirchheim/Teck, impressed with its highly attractive design. It was the first seat in the world to feature a backrest made from glass fiber reinforced plastic. Its special feature: The self-supporting shell was manufactured using the injection-molding process. Only the backrest bracket, the adjusters and the connection to the seat rail were made from metal.
RECARO SPORTSTER CS
In 2006 RECARO presented a new highlight in the sports seat program: the RECARO Sportster CS, which combines the characteristics of a sports seat with those of a racing seat. The lightweight shell possess an especially sleek design, thereby offering drivers comfort and optimal body support, thanks to pronounced side bolsters and shoulder support. This combination has since convinced multiple vehicle manufacturers, which use the RECARO Sportster CS as standard equipment in their special edition sports cars, such as in the Mini John Cooper Works, in the Ford Focus RS or in the BMW Performance Parts range.
Even at the International Motor Show (IAA) 2013 in Frankfurt, RECARO showed the way to the future of the sport seat for cars with the presentation of the RECARO Sport Seat Platform. The study represented the state of the art in technical development and, for this reason, is an outstanding example of RECARO's typical "Ingenious Design." The innovative approach of the concept: Supporting structure and design shells laid out separately in the backrest of the seat. Customers of the original equipment can form their seat to their own specifications with this, thereby generally using the same internal structure. This supporting backrest contour mainly consists of carbon fiber materials – the best solution for minimal weight and maximal safety. As the structure embraces the seated person sitting like a belt, the ergonomics are noticeably improved.