The new XTF truck has had me thinking quite a bit about the early days of Factory Five. It really feels the same.. the excitement, the new adventure, the feeling of knowing a secret that the world is just starting to discover! But it’s even stronger today with the new XTF.
Back in 1995, I KNEW our innovative concept of a single donor Mustang Cobra was revolutionary. What we were building in a small shop in Dartmouth, Massachusetts was so much better in so many ways than what was out there in the kit car marketplace. I remember Phil Gaudet (President of ERA Replicas) walking past my car at Carlisle in 1996 and saying “A Mustang engine in a Cobra? Good luck!” What he didn’t see was the single donor concept and the commitment to CNC process that was fundamentally better than everything that was being done at the time in the Kit Car world. We would go on to become the best-selling Cobra replica of all-time and even more, Factory Five would build on that to become a truly iconic American motorsports company far beyond what I was excited about in 1995! That was almost 30 years ago and I have the exact same feeling today about the XTF.
Today our new XTF Truck is better than anyone knows! It is definitely more revolutionary in concept than our first Cobra replica and the engineering and technical skills of the company are far beyond what we could do 28 years ago. With the XTF, we’ve invented, not just an all-new product, but an all new product category. While there was a kit car industry that offered different models of Cobra replicas with different features and prices, there is no “build-it-yourself” pre-runner truck industry. Right now there are tons of lift kits and body kits and every bolt-on accessory imaginable to modify an OEM Truck like the F-150. Other companies like Hennessey and Shelby modify an already impressive OEM Truck like a Raptor and add more bells and whistles along with a monster price tag. There are also hardcore shops that will custom build you a tube-frame off-road capable, pre-runner or extreme truck (usually above $250K) that goes beyond the OEMs and modified OEMs. But there is nothing like what we are building! It is our best work and the category of a “build-it-yourself extreme truck” is really completely new.
The XTF really is what my friend and editor at Car & Driver Magazine Ezra Dyer said, “What a Raptor wants to be when it grows up”.
It is 1995 all over again. Beyond the obvious of building a true pre-runner capable “Raptor on steroids”, our first XTF customers are doing what our first Cobra replica customers did in 1995. They are helping us introduce one of the most revolutionary new products in the truck aftermarket and they are working with us at the headwaters of something even larger than what we did in 1995. So these new truck kits are really special and the guys who build them are partners in building not just awesome trucks, but an entire new company and community.
So back to 1995 and that first Mk1 Cobra Replica. I really wish I could zoom back in time and badge those first 100 Cobra kits with a Founders Badge since those early customers really did start the whole party.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I realized that I don’t have to miss the same opportunity twice! The XTF is at the very beginning of its lifecycle, and the guys who are part of this early adventure should get some recognition and value!
So I got with the crew and we decided to serialize the first 100 XTF trucks with special “Founders Edition” badging. Tesla did this with the first model S cars and looking down the road years from now, these first XTF’s should have the distinction they deserve! I also loved the carbon panel we added to the red XTF when it went to Car & Driver, so we are including this with all Founders edition trucks. We’ve already sold about 15 XTF’s, so if you already have yours, we will send your badging and carbon panels shortly.
Only time will tell how far this new design takes us. Jim and his crew in Engineering are well into the evaluation of the GM platform for the next XTF variant and this coming new year will see us racing and doing all sorts of crazy stuff with this awesome truck! I remember 1995 like it was yesterday. I want to make sure our customers who help us in this new adventure know that they are Founders in the truest sense!