Over the past four years, business partners, Daniel Verwers and Jess Wilson have built up Seduction Motorsports (SM) into one of the premier builders of turn key 550 Spyder replicas. As those of you who may be familiar with starting a new business from scratch will be all too familiar with, that does not come easily.
Daniel started SM when he moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2012; transitioning what had been his hobby/passion/occasional side work building replicas into a full-time business. From then it wasn’t long before Jess came on board, first as an employee and eventually taking his place as a co-owner.
Those with a keen eye will notice a big difference with SM replicas, vs. the original version, and that is an extra 2 inches have added to the cockpit to make them easier to get in and out of and improve that critical cabin space for the seated occupants. Tall drivers could find an original 550 a bit cramped.
The original Spyder’s hand formed aluminum bodywork is substituted with fiberglass to keep costs in check. Modern mass produced components should help replicas in the area of reliability over the original item and modern shocks definitely help the handling. However the biggest benefit of owning a 550 replica is probably the simple fact of being able to actually use it without the worries that go along with bringing a highly valued, original 550 out of its undoubtedly sheltered cocoon. In fact, some of SM’s customers own one exactly for that purpose.
Building on his prior experience, Daniel sought to fix the shortcomings he had seen in all the cars he had built prior to starting SM. This required many things to be re-engineered along the way and new products designed to replace parts that have been typical in the market prior to SM. “Do it right the first time” is the mantra at SM. Some examples of their re-engineering include the all new shifter mechanism, a welcome addition to anyone familiar with tail shift transaxles, and the new emergency brake mechanism.
All wiring is done 100% in house and exhaust systems are welded up there too. Every SM replica gets hand bent Nickle-Copper brakes lines with AN fittings. The wheel liners are sprayed with a Kevlar infused undercoating material to protect the fiberglass body from rocks and other debris coming off of the wheels. Doors are fully sealed and body edges trimmed out. These may seem like small things but the sum total of taking this kind of care on every part of the car yields a finely finished product.
The fiberglass bodies, paintwork, main frame (which is specific to SM’s specifications), and engines are done in conjunction with trusted partners who specialize in those areas as SM is still too small of a shop to do those items in house.
The fiberglass bodies are molded with aircraft grade resin and remain in the patterns for 4 days before they are removed. Standard bodies are block sanded down 3-4 times to smooth out the fiberglass before paint. For those that want a little extra show car refinement that can be increased to 6-7 times.
The frames can be set up for either traditional air cooled motors or Subaru based water pumpers.
Creature comforts are one step from non-existent as sliding heated seats are the only things there to keep your body gruntled.
What you get in return is purity of purpose and power to weight ratios that will make even modern sport cars envious. The weight of a typical SM replica ranges from 1325 lbs for a Type1 engine equipped car to 1400 pounds for a water cooled Subaru based power plant. In all, there are 4 engine choices right now ranging from 140 hp to 230 hp, with perhaps the sweet spot choice being the 200 hp Type4 engine that stays true to the air cooled feel & sound.
Seduction has recently improved their suspension package, moving to a custom Ridetech package (available only from SM) that uses aluminum bodied Fox shocks and Hypercoil springs providing a significant weight advantage over the steel bodied Bilstein setup used previously. Each car is corner balanced before it leaves the shop.
One key thing with SM is that once the price is agreed to upfront for a completed car, the price is set; if there any issues along the way (component price changes, painting issues) SM holds the price as agreed instead of passing that along to the customer. As they continue to evolve their Spyder replica package, they amazingly offer new developments and upgrades to past customers at wholesale cost plus shipping which is a nice after sale perk.
Each turn key car is delivered with normal Arizona title (VIN application and state inspections done), so there are no issues registering the cars in the buyer’s home state and also makes financing possible just like buying any other vehicle. Turn key air cooled packages start at about $40,000.
Over 30 cars have been delivered so far with the somewhat surprising statistic that 70% of them are shipped overseas, with many going to Dubai because SM is the only 550 replica builder with a special chassis modified to be road legal there without additional modification and on the approved builder list for the UAE. There is also a wide range of how customers use their cars. From regular use to the extreme that one customer went in parking the car inside his house as a permanent piece of automotive art.
SM is expanding their offerings. Currently they have started an aluminum bodied Spyder project for a customer so depending on how that goes, that may be a more regular offering but will be a little more than twice the cost of a fiberglass car and require about a year to complete.
“Do it right the first time” and don’t pass up checking out Seduction Motorsports if you’re in the market for a 550 replica. I know that after seeing them in person that I want one.