Ford and Recaro Celebrate 40 Years Together

2000 Cobra R interior

If you’ve ordered a new Ford in the past 8 years, or even purchased a recent model year Ford used, you’ve probably noticed the potential for factory upgraded interior. While stock Ford seats are nice, who wouldn’t want to upgrade to Recaro seats?

For the past 40 years, Recaro Automotive Seating and Ford Motor Company have held a historic partnership, collaborating on several special-edition vehicles before becoming an optional upgrade in several production cars and trucks in 2012.

Recaro, a German company, was founded in 1906, when a master saddler named Wilhelm Reutter began development and production of car bodies, interior fittings, and vehicle seats for automobiles in one-off production and small runs at his ”Stuttgarter Carosserie u. Radfabrik” body plant.

Just three years prior, in Detroit, Michigan, Ford Motor Company was founded. Neither Mr. Reutter nor Mr. Ford probably could have ever imagined that their respective companies’ paths would cross 73 long years in the future, but boy did they cross paths in a big way.

Left: Ford Raptor Right: Mustang GT350R

You might be familiar with the 1979 Mustang Pace Car, of which Ford produced 10,478 vehicles. The special edition replicas were based on the Mustang that paced the Indianapolis 500 the previous year. This is where the Ford and Recaro partnership began. Each replica was equipped with black Recaro front seats. Due to the warm reception from Pace Car purchasers, the same Recaro seats were offered as a $531.00 factory option in 1980 and 1981 Mustangs.

In 1984, when Ford introduced the famed SVO model, the 175-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang came with throttle body fuel injection and – you guessed it – Recaro seats.

After a bit of a break, Recaro made a reappearance in a Ford vehicle when the brand-new 2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R was unveiled at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas in 1999. It featured Recaro seats.

Later, the 2003 Focus SVT European Package would include black leather-trimmed Recaro seats.

From 2012 on, Recaro seats would be deeply ingrained in the Ford lineup. Every Mustang model year from then to present has had a Recaro driver and passenger front seat upgrade option. Meanwhile, the seats are standard in Shelby GT350, GT350R, and GT500 models.

Ford Mustang GT350 interior

Between 2013 and 2018, over 12,000 Ford Focus vehicles were sold annually equipped with Recaro seats. The Ford Fiesta has been available with optional Recaro driver and passenger front seat upgrades from 2013 to the current model, and starting with the 2019 model, the Raptor has also had Recaro front seats on the upgrade list.

According to Recaro, since 2012, 81,000 production Ford Mustangs have been equipped with Recaro performance seats, while an incredible 512,000 Ford vehicles in total have rolled through the factory doors with Recaro seats.

These numbers of course do not include the Mustangs and Fords rolling around with Recaro aftermarket seats.

“The Ford Mustang is a true icon – not just in the States but also in Europe and especially in Germany, the home of Recaro,” said Ulrich J. Severin, head of Recaro Automotive Seating. “There is no need to explain how proud we are to be a part of the Mustang development since 1979. Recaro is a perfect fit and we are honored to deliver our equally legendary performance seats for a legendary performance car.”

1979 Mustang Pace Car

Article Sources

About the author

Stephanie Davies

Stephanie Davies got her start in automotive media while studying at Rutgers University and eventually landed at Roush Performance outside of Detroit, where she now resides. She writes for various automotive outlets, works with rescue dogs, enjoys driving her Roush-charged Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox body Mustang race car, and is convinced that absolutely nothing in the world beats a sunny weekend at the track.
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