A powerful European sports car, a racy customized roadster. Lives there a deskbound motorist with soul so dead he wouldn't put himself in the driver's seat—for less than $1,000?
Well, now he can. Not by buying a car, but by buying the seat. For years, a German company called Keiper-Recaro has been turning out luxurious, orthopedically correct seats for Porsches, BMWs and other imported and domestic high-performance cars. And recently Recaro USA has begun turning out the high-performance buckets for less favored status seekers.
"Basically, they're our standard car seats—Model LN—mounted on aluminum chair bases," says George Venieris, a Greek who's president of Recaro USA. "They're constructed of double-shell stamped steel and come complete with padded headrests, adjustable lumbar support, full-recline and forward-tilt positions." Just the thing in which would-be Andrettis can indulge their fantasies.
Like the ones that come in cars, Recaro seats are equipped with molded seat cushions and have an acrylic web suspension. But automotive sex appeal isn't the chair's only selling point. "They've got great thigh and back support," says Venieris. Recaros were designed—with the help of data supplied by European orthopedists—to keep drivers comfortable during long trips, he says.
Venieris, a former road racer in Europe, began experimenting with the stationary seats a few years ago, hoping to alleviate his own back problem. He had found the seats relaxing while driving, and he wanted that comfort at home. Venieris made his own hardware to adapt the seat from car to floor and finished the first model in 1976. The chairs have recently become available through Recaro USA outlets around the country.
The price is a bracing $807. A bit steep, as office or rec-room seating goes. But consider the alternatives: Could you afford the seat inside a race car? More important, could you afford to park it in your rumpus room?