"In this Special Series about the OE+ Recaro Pole Position custom seat program, I document the process to converting a standard Pole Position to an OE+ seat for my E46 M3.
On this entry, I cover my unboxing impressions and cover the specs of my Recaro Pole Positons ABEs, and why I picked the ABEs over the FIAs."
In some aspects, seats are like the crown jewelries of builds. They're the finishing touch for most street builds, or the starting point of a track build.
Beyond the Recaro's engineering prowess, build quality, ergonomics, and safety, there's just something about the brand that is eternal. They are the BBS brand for seats, without the bankruptcy.
Going for what I consider the penultimate brand was the only choice for The Phoenix's build.
Why Pole Positions.
In the early 90s, Porsche commissioned Recaro to design manufacture bucket seats for the 964 RS. They would be forever known as the Pole Position.
It was classic bucket design without spice: purposeful, light and elegant.
The seats' shell were ribbed, most likely for structural rigidity. This design feature wasn't retained on the Pole Positions.
During the Winter of '22, I ordered a set of Pole Position ABEs. They were shipped straight from Germany and took about 5 weeks to get here via DHL.
I opted for the fiberglass shell. It's painted gloss black by Recaro.
ABE v FIA.
I opted for the Pole Position seat in their ABE specifications instead of the more common FIA. I cover some of the reasons why in my unboxing impressions below.
The ABE has been designed to be the street variant of the Pole Position lineup. Compared to the race oriented FIA spec seat, the ABE is larger at the hips.
As a rule of thumb, the FIA lower section width limits fitment to most people with a 34" waist or less.
Both Pole Position variants are both theoretically suitable for 3 and 4 point belts. In reality, the E46 M3's seat belt buckles fits snugly into the ABE, they don't even pass through the FIA's side holes.
Contrary to most beliefs, the shoulder width remains the same, and this is where it gets problematic for some.
Both specs would have manufacturing dates indicated on the lower section of the seat. This is of higher importance with the FIA spec in light of most motorsport regulations.
The FIA would have another sticker with the homologation date 5 years ahead of its manufacturing date.
The FIA seats are exclusively available in velour trims due to motorsport regulations. Leather is not deemed a suitable material in regards to fire hazards.
The ABE seats can be spec'ed in a variety of upholstery materials: cloth, suede and leather combinations along with special editions like the Classic in Pepita cloth.
I opted for Nardo Arista and black cloth as it was the cheapest available seat in stock. I had plans.
Up next: David and I start tearing into the OEM seats to create an OE+ Pole Position seat.
We uncovered a few weird things.