The Elements Of Car Design: Choosing Your Seat


As a long time car dealer, I get to look at the elements of car design all day long.

Thousands of cars. Tens of thousands of cars. In person. Online. Sometimes even in my sleep. While most of you get the luxury of admiring the varying shapes and sizes of cars you see in your commutes, I get the automotive version of Wall Street.

My goal in the car business is to buy low, sell high, repair the ones I can retail, and find people who will love that car and my personalized service so much, that they will become loyal long-time customers with a care-free ride. Yes, there is plenty of art on top of those four wheels. But the money issue is never far behind.

I guess you can say that I run the automotive version of a dating service. I like ‘coupling’ these cars with owners who often times buy with their eyes, which brings on a selfish question.

What about me?

What car should I have for myself? I travel over 30,000 miles a year and with that, I have a unique list of priorities that are far different than the average new car buyer.

It begins with this…


This is the most important part of the car for me. Whatever car I drive, it comes with a seat that has a sizable impact on my health and well-being due to all those miles I travel.

This seat here I recently sat in for nearly 17 hours on a trip from Long Island, New York to Atlanta, Georgia.

I woke up at 6:00 A.M., was on the road by 6:10 A.M. and didn’t make it home until 11:20 P.M. That’s an awful lot of time to contract pain and discomfort.

As we say in the auction business, this seat, “didn’t miss a lick.” In fact, I was so comfortable and well-positioned, that I managed to wake up early the next day, walk my son to the school bus, and mowed my lawn for the next 3 hours straight. Ill effects? None, and I happen to be a 40 year old guy who has a compressed and calcified spine in my L5 region.

So color me impressed with the seats in the Avalon. In the real world that is driving through interstates, traffic jams, and suburbia, I would argue that the seat you sit on, and the dashboard you look at, are far more important than those varying shapes and silhouettes of modern exterior car design.

This is another way of me saying that with today’s design constraints, I rarely fall in love with the surface of a car. It’s what happens between opening and exiting that driver’s door which matters the most in my playbook.

There have been other seats that have given me comparable support over the course of years.


My daily driver at the moment is a 15 year old forest green Volvo wagon that I bought for $1000; specifically because the seats in it offer a near perfect combination of posture, safety and support. I was able to duplicate the 17 hour drive with a 16 hour one with family in tow back in 2007; thanks to the indefatigable qualities of that Volvo driver seat.

Seats are obviously a big deal for me. But how about you? What are the best and worst seats you have ever sampled in your travels. For the few motorheads among the brethren, feel free to include motorcycle seats into the mix as well.