An era ends as Chevro­let ditches bench seats

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWLING

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.

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