Educate me on replica quality please

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Educate me on replica quality please

Postby dantm » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:58 am

I keep on gravitating back to these cars and I know there will be one in my not-too-distant future.

With that in mind I've been searching around and trying to find which replicas embody the closest experience to the originals?

Also I know there are some aluminum/metal bodied replicas -- can somebody shed light on what options there are in that space?

Many thanks
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby TSchommer » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:33 pm

This question gets asked quite a bit, and I’m sure others will opine on this topic (or just tell you to use the search function). The two main 550 Spyder manufacturers that are still around are Vintage and Beck, then you also have Seduction Motorsports, they are a company that buys bodies and chassis from vintage, then finish them with lots of their own bespoke parts. The big difference is the Beck chassis use larger 3” main frame rails that are similar to the original cars, while Vintage uses their own more complex chassis design with small diameter tubes. Regarding your quality question, it’s much more important who assembled, finished and “debugged” the car than the manufacturer. They both make great cars, and with greatly expanded parts availability and sharing of knowledge over the last 10-15 years (thanks to the internet) the cars have gotten much better. Most cars now have the more accurate seats with openings cut in the backs and wide 5 wheels and the more accurate real clamshell is becoming more common. Also engines have gotten bigger better and more powerful, most of the early replicas have 1600cc engines, while newer cars usually 2000+cc Type 1 engines built by CB Performance, then some will even have Type IV engines or even Subaru engines with 250+ HP. Then builders or sometimes owners wil go to painstaking lengths to make their cars look more authentic by adding, leather straps, functioning latches, skinning interiors with aluminum, reproduction parking brake handles and pedal sets, non functioning Autopulse fuel pumps. Long story short, search the site and feel free to post pics or auction links to cars that you are interested in, and the good folks on this site will pick it apart, argue and try our best to educate you and help you find a car that will suit your wants and needs.
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby egrant5329 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:50 am

I believe the all aluminum spyders start at ~$100,000, but if you get a very exact all aluminum replica with 4 cam engine ($270,000+ for the engine) I think they start in the $325,000 range.

What is your goal wit the car? If you want one to drive and want to get the feeling of the quirky suspension of the originals, I'd go Beck. Swing axle suspensions will suprise/scare you when you push them too far in a corner. If you want a show car any of them can be built to really nice show quaily.

These cars aren't really kits anymore. I don't know the stats from the companies, but I's be surprised if 1 out of 100 sold are actually kits being finished at home. The various manufacturers all make outstanding products and the quailty has greatly improved since the 80s, mainly due to having better parts (better door hinges, latches, seats, etc...). Plus the average engine used today has more power than the originals making them a real blast to drive and you'll get the open cockpit wind beaten experience in any of them.

As far as shows go, my experience is that people like the small size of the car, the way the rear deck opens and the mid-engine setup. People love to check them out because they are so different. Just driving around it seems like someone is always snapping pictures or video recording you.

My suggestion is find one to drive. If there is one local, great, but if not visit one of the manufacturers. It's very common for people to spend countless hours deciding what will make their ideal spyder, wait a year for it to get built and then turn around and sell it with less than a 1000 miles on it.
Good luck,
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby dantm » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:10 pm

Great advice, thank you all -- I guess I will look for a local car first to drive, experience, etc. and then go from there.
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby SpyderMike » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:24 pm

where do you live?
l my b
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby dantm » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:32 pm

I am in the Boston Massachusetts area but willing to travel around the northeast...

Are there any events with local 550 spyders?
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby EEricson » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:52 pm

Carlisle PA, Import and Kit Nationals in or about the third week of May. A large group of Speedster owners shows up and several Spyders as well—six or eight anyway. Beck/Special Edition usually brings one as a display as well.
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby albaran » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:06 am

Some of us might be at the Lime Rock historical festival in Connecticut Sept 1.
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Re: Educate me on replica quality please

Postby DannyP » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:48 am

Yes, Al is correct. There should be a few cars at LRP on September 1. My friend Lenny and I have Vintage Spyders. Al has a TR as does Ed Ericson if his car is done. Another friend of mine, Eric, has a Beck. So conceivably all makes will be represented, although TR(Thunder Ranch) is now defunct. There may be a few unbuilt ones around.

We definitely show up on Saturday morning, and park in the Porsche paddock(which is the skidpad circle at the top of the hill just to the right after the wooden bridge over the downhill). It's great to relax and watch, listen, and smell the old cars ripping around. Quite a fun day, been going since 2005.
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