The Story of Recaro in Football
Before this story can begin, we need to take a bit of a history lesson. When ever we see race seats, the name Recaro is most of the time there. Recaro is one of the best and leading seat manufacturers today with its most notable long time collaboration partner, Porsche. Recaro was created by a 32 year old saddle maker by the name Wilhelm Reutter in Stuttgart in 1906 who as you guessed it, made seats for horse riders. This was not the only trade as he in. Wilhelm was also a coach-builder who created many unique and functional things for all things cars.
In 1932, Ferdinand Porsche worked with German motorcycle maker Zündapp to create what would become the very first Volkswagen. Reutter built the wood-framed bodies for the first prototypes as well as the first 40 all-steel bodies for the later pre-production Type 1s. Reutter, had previously made bodies for Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Opel and Audi in his coach building life as a notable supplier.
Willem Reutter passed on in 1939 and his brother who helped run the company was killed in a bomb raid in 1944 destroying the factory and head of operations. However the company did not cease functions and at the time employed 900 people before the attack, and of the 94 employees who remained after the war, went on to build mail trucks, buses and fix street cars which kept business going. The family heirs after the death of the two brothers were left in charge to run operations.
The year is 1949, and Porsche was planning to build the 356 sports car. Without any funds to make its own bodies and with no physical place to build the cars, Porsche connected with Reutter and the team for the manufacture of the bodies and rented space to assemble the cars. Later, as Porsche sales did well, Reutter's employment jumped to over 1000 people and the company went on to build the prototype Type 901, which became what we know as the 911.
Reutter kept the seat manufacturing business in its original building in Stuttgart and changed its name to Recaro. Porsche was its primary customer naturally. The remaining Reutter heirs to the company sold their stake in 1969 which eventually was bought out by their other partners. By 1973, Recaro boomed into aerospace by providing the seats for most major airline companies amongst providing for sports and luxury car makers thanks to the proven and solid track record over the years and the Porsche partnership.
Recaro's seat innovations and seating technology spanned over the years to become of the most trusted and widely used name in the business, this included making the first sport seat with lateral support, the first seat with integrated seat belts and the first full shell racing seats. In the late 1990s, Recaro then introduced child safety seats and expanded to other parts of the world going far beyond sports cars.
Ever seen Recaro Sport Seats in a football stadium? Well it is there for a reason and not for just good old fashion product placement and sponsorship. The story goes back to 1990s. The owner of Recaro at the time, Ulrich Putsch, was on the board of a German football team and gave the team’s manager a sports car seat because he was suffering from back problems and wanted a more comfortable seat during games. This soon caught on with the team and the players and it wasn't long before the entire team had seats like this for a game as a sponsor. Not only did it make the space between the spectators and the pitch look a lot better, it also felt really comfortable.
Like all things in life, once something catches on it spreads like wildfire, and it was not very long before other football clubs ordered seats from Recaro for their stadium to look and feel good. Today, Recaro supply seats to many of the top teams including Manchester United, Reading, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Hércules, VfB Stuttgart, Benfica and West Ham United. While many other manufacturers have caught on and have started to do the same, the car world as we know it has Recaro to thank for what we see when we watch our favourite teams battle it out on the football field.