As of April 22nd, 2013, we have received 222 orders for the 818 sports car! The S-model (street) has 184 pre-orders and the R-model (race-competition) has 38 pre-orders. Current production plans call for the S-model to enter production first, with the very first kit shipping to Grassroots Motorsports Magazine on June 15th, which is our Open House here at Factory Five.
This month, we are ending April with more testing on the track. Jim and his crew are down in North Carolina with the boys from KONI Shocks getting final valving and shock testing completed for both S and R models. We should have performance testing completed by the first week in May. One of the biggest differences from many of the kits we’ve developed over the years has been the degree to which we’ve asked for, and received help from partner companies. I cannot say enough good about the crew from KONI, but they’re not the only ones. Hewlett Packard and SolidWorks Software, Wilwood Brakes, Toyo Tires, Sherwin Williams Finishes, AJW, SMG Motoring, the Factory Five community, and Grassroots Motorsports Magazine are among the development partners that have made this car so good.
Production tooling is also on target with molds being in their 3rd generation and the main chassis jig nearly complete. We’ve scheduled the month of May for the completion of our third street car and completion of our 818 assembly manual. A lot of people have asked about whether we would have an 818 at either Huntington Beach or Carlisle Replica Nationals. Huntington Beach is out since both cars are undergoing track testing, but we are planning on bringing an 818 to the Carlisle show in May.
Big plans are in store for our summer Open House, where we will be showing (and shipping) 818S kit number 001 to Tim Suddard and his crew at Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. We will also have a street car and race car on display for people to sit in and check out. Since there are a good number of orders already scheduled, we are transitioning from design/development to a careful and planned production ramp up.
Look for a comprehensive evaluation of the 818 in a major magazine soon. The test results were exciting and we can only report that the car ran under 4.0 seconds to 60 MPH and performed above all of our expectations. The car was tested by a top tier magazine and the communication I got from the editor after he drove the car at full-tilt was this:
“$#!* that car’s a rocket! It’s like driving a mini can-am car. Job well done!”
That was a private note to me but knowing the source it speaks volumes about the competence of the design, and its extremely satisfying after all of the work we’ve done on the chassis and suspension to get that kind of feedback from an experienced driver/editor.
I’ll continue to communicate as we are now less than 8 weeks away from the production launch of the next great Factory Five.
Chassis Jig Entering Production
Engineer and chief tool-maker Colby Whipple has been hard at work finishing the 818 welding jig and related sub-assembly tools.
New-New Laser Cutting Machine!
About the only thing running late with the 818 project is our laser cutting operation, which is now close to cutting production 818 steel.
3rd Generation Body Panels
The fact that we have worked through three generations of panels speaks volumes about the team’s commitment to paint-free, perfect fit composite panels.
Factory Five engineers spent a day at the Mott M-TEC Build School in Michigan. The current plan is to offer build school classes for the 818 next year in 2014. The 818 will join the Mk4 Roadster and ’33 Hot Rod at the famous 3-day Factory Five Build School.