An era ends as Chevrolet ditches bench seats
DRIVE-IN pictures, girlfriends and bench seats were as inseparable as Curly, Moe and Larry from The Three Stooges.
Soon, only girlfriends will remain.
Chevrolet last night announced it would cease pro- duction of a bench seat in its 2014 Impala — the last car in the US with a bench seat as an option.
No more squeezing three mates across the front seat or shouldering your girlfriend.
Like the drive-in and The Three Stooges, it’s to become a memory.
In announcing the end to the seat, and the ability of a sedan to carry six occupants, GM Design director Clay Dean says: ‘‘There is certain nostalgia for bench seats, like being able to snuggle up with your date at a drive-in movie, and some customers still like them.’’
‘‘You never know, we might see bench seats reemerge someday, possibly in very small cars like the EN-V urban mobility concept vehicle, in which the feeling of open space may be very desirable.’’
GM says few buyers bought them anymore.
Only one in 10 Impala buyers chose the $US195 ($189) option last year on the LS and LT models.
‘‘A lot of people prefer bucket seats because they’re sporty, even in models that aren’t sports cars,’’ says Dean.
‘‘Our customers also appreciate having the centre console as a convenient place to store their phone and other personal items.’’
Bench seats lasted 101 years on Chevrolets.
They first appeared on the Series C Classic Six of 1911.
But while they are now gone from cars, they will continue to show up on utes and SUVs.