2014 Huntington Beach Cruise-In Report

Future Factory Five builders check out some real craftsmanship.  Customer John Lipka’s “Best Paint” winning car.

The annual Factory Five-Huntington Beach cruise-in is one of my favorite events all year. The fact is that way back in January of 1995, I loaded up a truck and headed out east from Huntington Beach to start what would become Factory Five Racing.  Little did I know that the company and community would grow and mature into what it is today.  Returning every year has special meaning to me as HB was my home and I feel as though I’ve done some good work over the years between then and now.

Left to Right: Factory Five Legacy Award winner Ray McEdward, Jo Coddington, Dave Smith, and Dee Dodge.

This year’s event would be special in that we would be showing off two all-new builds. The first car would be an all-womens 427 car that was built on the cable television show “Detroit Muscle” and airs this May 17-18 on Spike Channel. The other car we’d be showing off was a very special ’33 Hot Rod. This car would see the public for the first time at the HB cruise-in. We had developed the car in conjunction with the crew at Hot Rod Magazine and a truly talented group of supplier partners who all dedicated themselves to making a very special and unique car that will only sell 33 copies.

Left to Right: Karen Salvaggio, Jo Coddington, and Cherielynn Westrich show off the all-women 427 build and special edition ’33 Hot Rod on Main St., Huntington Beach.

So I flew out from Boston on the Friday before the Saturday show with Factory Five crew members Jim Schenck, Tony Zullo, and Sally Bean.  Our job was to manage the HB event, and also show the ’33 Special Edition Hot Rod to the magazine testers at Hot Rod Magazine. All together, we would be in So Cal for five full days of car show and road testing.  The five days would culminate with a private tour of Jay Leno’s garage and a nice chance to meet and speak with Jay.

Scott “Honey Badger” Bell and Jim Schenck unload two roadster version ’33 Hot Rods at the offices of Hot Rod Magazine on Friday.

Dave Hodgkins hosted a pre-HB Cruise-In party at his house on Friday afternoon-evening.  We had originally hoped to crash his party, but ended up spending the day driving twin ’33s with the guys from Hot Rod Magazine.  We left the El Segundo magazine offices Friday afternoon and drove through two hours of Los Angeles traffic up to Bob’s Big Boy Cruise-In in Burbank.  Bob’s is a VERY famous southern California cruise-in and you never know what you are going to find.

The Special Edition ’33 Hot Rod was delivered to Rick Stark and the crew at Hot Rod Magazine with exactly four miles on the odometer.  After five days, the clock would read 257 miles!

The 33 Hot Rod that the women’s team helped “unveil” at the FFR-HB Cruise-In is a very special car. Designed and built in collaboration with the team at Hot Rod Magazine, the car is #001 of 033 units to be built under license agreement with Hot Rod Magazine. The cars will be built as completed vehicles to the exact specification as the #001 car shown at HB Cruise-In. The cars will be built to spec by select Factory Five approved builders and will cost $89,000 each (tentative).

Each car comes as shown with optional hood, side covers (not shown at HB), soft top, and second set of racing wheels/tires (salt flat rims on Toyo drag radials).  Also, sponsor Waterloo tools is providing a fully stocked serialized tool box and tool set with each car.

The Special Edition ’33 is powered by Ford’s 5.0L coyote engine with a polished Whipple supercharger producing 625 crank HP. The automatic (or avail manual transmission) is linked to FFR’s race-proven 3-link suspension using a 4.11 ratio 8.8″ solid axle rear with high end Koni 8012 aluminum body double-adjustable shocks all around. Custom Wilwood brakes are nickel-plated with 13″ cross-drilled and slotted rotors up front with four pot calipers, and two 11.65″ rears with 2 piston calipers. Wheels will be salt flat specials from “Hot Rod by Boyd”,  designed by Christopher Coddington.  All suspension control-arms are nickel-plated to match. Frame is custom deep red powder-coated and interior is fully custom with red on black accents. Gauges show the Hot Rod logo and car serial number 001-033.  Special edition vehicle plaque on center console arm rest shows model and serial number.

Sponsors include:  Hot Rod Magazine, Summit Racing, Ford Racing, Performance Accessories, Sherwin Williams, Wilwood Brakes, Koni Shocks, Toyo Tires, Rod Tops, ididit steering columns, Speedhut, Seamless Customs, Wheels by Hot Rod by Boyd.

The car will be featured on the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour and also at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Heading from the coast up to Burbank with two Hot Rods and half a million of our closest commuter friends.

The two Factory Five Hot Rods secured primo spots at Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant Cruise-In.  Guys from GM were there with one of the new 600+ HP Camaros!

How many local cruise-ins will you see an original slab-side 289 Cobra and an original GT350 Shelby?!  The cars at Bob’s were incredible, and once we arrived, we understood why the guys at Hot Rod wanted to take our Hot Rods here first.

We got back from Bob’s late Friday night, loaded up the trailer, and everyone headed south to Huntington Beach.  As soon as the trailer was loaded, the skies opened up and a heavy rain started falling.  We were a bit worried about the morning Cruise-In.  At this point, we had been awake for 24 hours straight, and needed to get a few hours sleep before set-up at 5 AM the next morning on the HB Pier Plaza.

Honey Badger drove the big Factory Five rig onto the Pier Plaza at 5 AM sharp, and while the rain was mostly south, the wind was blowing 40 MPH on shore.  The event looked grim!  Notable mention: Factory Five customer Doug Deffenbach was on the pier plaza with us helping unload at 5 AM and didn’t stop working until 5 PM!  There’s no way this event would be possible without volunteers like Doug.

The two Hot Rods were first off of the trailer.  The wind was howling and the Pacific Ocean would be described by surfers as “victory at sea”, which means storm driven, nasty, unrideable surf.

After we got the cars unloaded and helped Chris and the city workers from HB set-up barricades and cones, we scored a quick breakfast at The Sugar Shack (the finest breakfast establishment in the entire world) and by 8 AM, the wind had died down, the sun had come out, and southern California delivered another amazing day for the Factory Five Huntington Beach Cruise-In. Some of the people from down near San Diego would have to brave the rains that we got the night before, but for the most part, the event was picture perfect weather.

Left to Right: Tony Zullo, Honey Badger, Jim Schenck, and Doug Deffenbach enjoy some breakfast before the start of the Cruise-In.

Factory Five customers started arriving around 8 AM.  By 9 AM, there would be about 100 cars occupying the first three blocks of Main Street, Huntington Beach!

The majority of cars at the Cruise-In were Factory Five Roadsters.

Some very well done Type 65 Coupes made the cruise.

Weather prevented at least two show-winning GTMs from attending.  Joe Valencic’s white and carbon GTM was the sole standout.

There were about ten ’33 Hot Rods and Bob Warren took delivery of his Hot Rod at last year’s HB Cruise-In.  This year, he walked away with “Best in Show” with this Candy Apple Red super-charged monster!

The Cruise-In included vendor tents, live music from “The Fabulous Nomads” surf band, and car show awards.  One of the highlights of the event was the unveiling of the Special Edition ’33 Hot Rod and the All-Womens 427 build.

The Fabulous Nomads set-up on Main St. to play all day and Factory Five Event Coordinator Sally Bean’s daughter Anna, who is an accomplished drummer, was invited to sit in for a few songs.  She opened up with “Mustang Sally” as a tribute to her mom.

Below: Karen, Cherielynn, and Jo photobomb Anna.


Long standing Factory Five customer Russ Thompson introduced me to his new wife.  Russ has helped countless people with parts that he sells for Factory Fives from his company Russ’ Garage.

There were thick crowds around the Womens Build 427 and the Special Edition ’33 all day long.

The Special Edition ’33 was one of the last cars to leave the show area and still attracted a lot of attention.

Tech leader Tony Zullo with Karen, Jo, and Cherielynn at set-up.  Special Edition ’33 and Women’s 427 are under wraps in the middle of Main St.

“Overhaulin’s” Cherielynn took time to describe the all-womens build car.

The All-Womens 427 build is a car that was built by five women in five days on the set of Detroit Muscle TV. The team consists of…

Karen Salvaggio, an SCCA and NASA regional and national roadracing champion

Jo Coddington, broadcast celebrity from American Hot Rod, American Icon, Bidding Wars, and wife of the late Boyd Coddington

CherieLynn Westrich, formerly of Overhaulin’

Nan Gelhard, Director of Advertising at Summit Racing, Inc.,

Courtnie Provencher, a mechanic from Factory Five Racing

The car was built in one week on the TV show Detroit Muscle that airs the weekend of May 17-18 on Spike channel power Nation.

The car is a Factory Five Mk4 Roadster. It is powered by Ford Racing’s 535 hp small block 351W based 427 stroker. A TKO 5 speed delivers power to the 3.31 solid axle 8.8″ rear end with FFR 3-link suspension from our race series. The shocks are Koni 3012 double-adjustable coil-over units. Brakes are Wilwoods 13″ cross-drilled and slotted rotors up front with four pot calipers, and two 11.65″ rears with 2 piston calipers.  Tires are Toyo R888’s roadracing rubber on custom wheels designed by Christopher Coddington and Hot Rods by Boyd.  Paint is Sherwin Williams Planet Color Midnight Black with off white vintage stripes.

The car will be sold for a women’s charity yet to be announced. The car will be featured on the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour with women from the build team at stops along the way. The car will also be featured at the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The volume and quality of the cars at this year’s Cruise-In was remarkable!

It was nice to see so many Factory Five ’33 Hot Rods and every  one of them was unique and different.

The Womens build car was always surrounded by people checking it out throughout the day.

The judges commented that this year’s winners were extremely tough to pick.

The Factory Five 818S was parked and on display complete with soft top and license plate.

Factory Five Forum owner Dave Hodgkins worked tirelessly Saturday on car show awards and he presented the Factory Five Legacy Award… this after hosting a huge crowd at his house the night before.

2014 Factory Five Huntington Beach Cruise-In Award Winners:

Best of Show, Overall – Bob Warren, ’33 Hot Rod

Best of Show, 2nd Place – Mike Casey, Roadster

Best Roadster – Mike Casey

Best Roadster, 2nd Place – Paul Scott

Best ’33 Hot Rod – Bob Warren

Best ’33 Hot Rod, 2nd Place – Greg Grant

Best Type 65 Coupe – Fernando Vivero

Best Type 65 Coupe, 2nd Place – Mike Pace

Best GTM – Joe Valencic

Best Use of Chrome – Marv Kea

Best Paint – John Lipka

Best Interior – Britt Fussel

Best Engine – Rob Barron

Most Innovative Design – Erik Hansen

Highest Accrued Mileage – Ralph Jungk

Womens 427 Build Team Special Award – Lynn Howell

Hot Rod Magazine Editors’ Choice Award – David T.

Kit Car Builder Magazine Editor’ Choice Award – Bob Warren

Factory Five Racing Legacy Award – Mike Brassfield


Most Innovative Design – Erik Hansen

Best Interior – Britt Fussel


Lynn Howell earned a special award from the Womens 427 Build Team for his absolutely perfect Mk4 15 Year Anniversary Edition Roadster.

Above (Left to Right): Lynn, Jo Coddington, Karen Salvaggio, Cherielynn Westrich.


This year, Hot Rod Magazine presented an Editors’ Choice Award.  Jeff Dahlin (left) and Hot Rod Magazine Editor David Kennedy presented the award to Factory Five customer David T. for his Coyote-powered, super clean red Mk4 Roadster.


Factory Five customer Bob Warren received the Editors’ Choice Award from Steve Temple at Kit Car Builder Magazine.

Factory Five Forum guru Dave Hodgkins presented the Factory Five Legacy Award to Mike Brassfield who has contributed tremendously to the community and has been the official voice and DJ of the FFR HB Cruise-In since inception.

Factory Five Racing Legacy Award – Mike Brassfield

2014 Factory Five Huntington Beach Cruise-In ended at 4 PM and there were a lot of sun burned faces and smiles all around.

This year, I was unable to surf due to recent hip surgery and the closest I came to the water watching the pros on the south side of the HB Pier.

Next year will be our 20th Anniversary as a company and we plan on hosting regional events like the HB Cruise-In in different parts around the country.  If you’re on the west coast, we hope to see you at next year’s event.

The day ended with clear skies and a perfect southern California sunset.

Saturday night, I was lucky to have dinner with the members of the All Womens Build Team ( left to right: Karen, Jo, Dave Smith, and Cherielynn) and they presented me with a very nice signed plaque.


The HB Cruise-In event was over Saturday and the Factory Five crew spent Sunday working on the Hot Rods for a Monday road test.  On Monday morning, we returned to El Segundo for an all-day tour of LA with Hot Rods courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.  After three days of sun, we weren’t anxious to take the tops off of the cars, but the editors wanted to see the cars in both roadster and soft top formats… so Jim and Tony covered their heads in sunscreen (I got to be wheel man in the photographer’s chase van) and proceeded to drive almost 200 miles from the coast to the art district in south LA to Chinatown and then back on the highways and out to Venice Beach for a late afternoon photo session.

We set-up at the circus known as Venice Beach and the locals seemed to dig on the Hot Rods.
Lastly, we were all treated on Tuesday to a tour of Jay Leno’s Garage that was arranged by Cherielynn.  There are no photos allowed and I’m still trying to remember each of the 165 amazing cars in Leno’s collection (and over 100 motorcycles).  Jay is a super, regular, normal guy and we were all excited to meet him and honored to be able to spend a few hours in his ultimate garage.

The crew headed back to Boston after five great days in LA.  Huge thanks to all of the customers who helped with the event, the Huntington Beach Cruise-In is one of those events that each year we say we really cannot afford financially, but one of the events that we cannot afford to miss!

Dave Smith

Special thanks also to Koni Shocks, Wilwood Brakes, Summit Racing, Ford Racing, Hot Rod Magazine, Kit Car Builder Magazine, and RodAuthority.com.

More miscellaneous photos from the event.








For even more event photos, check out this article of RodAuthority.com.