Factory Five’s Top 10 of 2016

2016 is in the history books and it was another banner year for Factory Five and our ever-expanding community! We’ve made huge investments in the company, from new facility upgrades, new equipment, and new property to our exciting new Gen 3 Coupe and all-steel ’33 Hot Rod body, the company is growing and improving at breakneck pace.  As impressive as the accomplishments of the team here are, the successes of our customers are even better! Show wins, magazine covers, and high-end builds are too many to highlight. So here are just some of the highlights from 2016 (make yourself comfortable, this is a long one) with apologies to all of those whom I failed to mention.

Looking ahead into 2017, I am more excited and more motivated than ever. Factory Five cars have woven themselves into the stories of our lives, and the coming year promises to bring more great builds, more wins, more excitement, and the chance to build even more great memories!

Dave Smith


1. All-New Gen 3 Coupe! In just over a year we re-designed the car from the ground up. An all-new frame complimented an all-new re-worked body. We added the new IRS from the 2015 and later Ford Mustang. The new Coupe debuted at SEMA 2016.

The brand-new Type 65 Coupe entered production at the end of the year.

Check out this video from SEMA 2016 showing off the new Coupe.

1965 World Champion driver Bob Bondurant checks out the new Coupe with me at SEMA 2016.

The new Coupe is also available in an R version, the first chassis was made just before the end of the year.

Click here for complete information on the new Coupe.


2. Investments in the Company: Doing something better everyday means better tools, better equipment, and better processes. In 2016, we did all of these, and the investments we’ve made are having a direct effect today. Inside the building, we’ve purchased a new CNC cutting machine, upgraded the entire air handling in welding and molding, improved the admin area, and added efficiency to our solar array by converting all of the lighting in the building to LED. Facility improvements even included three new bathrooms!

Outside of the building, we purchased property next door to build an additional facility. We also made a major investment in our road trips with a brand-new show & event truck with new graphics. For kit deliveries, we added graphics to all of Stewart Transport’s trucks that deliver Factory Five kits.

The brand-new Factory Five big rig hit the road in 2016 to a record number of shows, events, and races!

Khalid from Eastman Company helps Matt and Mark install and program the new Eastman CNC cutting table in the composite molding area at the beginning of the year.

To compliment our solar array, we converted all lighting in the building to LED (over $54,000 of light fixtures!). We also upgraded the air handling system in the welding and molding areas this year.

Every Factory Five Racing car is welded and made using sustainable solar electric power.


3. All-Steel ’33 Hot Rod Body: The biggest investment by far in 2016 was the all-steel body ’33 Hot Rod. With tooling costs approaching $1 million and just shy of a year of development time, the all-steel ’33 Hot Rod debuted at the 2016 SEMA Show and production cars are scheduled to leave first quarter of 2017!

The Factory Five crew is planning on building an all-steel ’33 Hot Rod at the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Show in Scottsdale, AZ. The steel body brings the great Factory Five chassis to steel body purists and opens us up to a new market in the hot rod business. Click here to learn more about the new all-steel ’33 Hot Rod body.


4. Customer Race Wins: In 2016, our customers put the “race” in Factory Five Racing. Here are some of the highlights.

Factory Five customer Trevor Poquette has been competing in the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge for several years now. This year Trevor lapped Virginia International Raceway’s 3.27 mile full course in an amazing 2:01.572!

Factory Five customer Hugo Rodriguez from Puerto Rico placed 3rd in the standing mile at 165.4 MPH with his beautiful white GTM.

Chris Tapp at Tapp Auto in Ontario, Canada built this remarkable electric Factory Five 818C with Chevy Volt batteries and Tesla S electric motor. The car has 420 RWHP, and runs a 10.1 quarter at almost 130 MPH seriously embarrassing a 911 Porsche. Click here to check out this awesome video.

Factory Five customer John George would pick-up a slew of wins in 2016 including NASA’s ST2 National title. Along the way, John would prove the toughness of the Coyote 5.0L/Tremec TKO/FFR IRS running gear combination in a long year of competition.

While John George was winning races on the East Coast, Richard and Yvonne Miglori and Team PDG scored consistent podium finishes with their GTM endurance racer.

Also on the West Coast, customer Karen Salvaggio finished the season first in class and fourth overall in the Big Bore Historics group with the Society of Vintage Racing Enthusiasts (SOVREN) in her Challenge Car!

Huge congrats to customer Dennis R. who continues to campaign and win in his Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod! Dennis won the Hot Rod class at the 16th Annual Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals Autocross.

Customer Paul Arnold scored a nice profile of his Factory Five Challenge Car with PowerNation TV’s host Katie Osborne!

The Factory Five community is always known for the great fellowship between customers, and that’s even more true in racing. I started off the year racing with the guys at COM up in New Hampshire at the new Cannan Motor Sports Park. When I was down in Nashville filming with PowerNation, customer Mitch Wright set me up with some hot laps at the Corvette National Track in Bowling Green. If you want to see Factory Five fellowship on full display, take your car to the track and see how many new friends you have.


5. Hitting the Road in 2016:  We really hit the road big time in 2016. Armed with our new show & event truck, we hosted, sponsored, and attended more shows, races, and events then in any other year in Factory Five history.

2016 started out cold and snowy, and the traditional Winter Open House, a.k.a. Moochfest, served to kick off a great show & event season. The crew would road trip to Texas in March for the Texas Cobra Club Spring Meet then head to Georgia for the Cruizin’ to the Coast event hosted by the Miranda Faith Foundation.

At the end of April, the 9th annual Factory Five Huntington Beach Cruise-In was the biggest and best yet with special guests Courtney Hansen and Jo Coddington. Click here for the full event report with tons of photos.

Factory Five’s Sally Bean and Tony Zullo show off trophies destined for the 2016 FFR HB Cruise-In.

A month after the Huntington Beach Cruise-In was the 19th annual Factory Five Open House event which kicked off a very busy summer including the Hot Rod Power Tour, the London Cobra Show, and the Snap-On Nationals. This year, was inaugural year for the Northeast Barrett-Jackson which we were able to attend.

The 2016 SEMA Show was a huge success. We debuted the all-new Gen 3 Coupe and all-steel body ’33 Hot Rod. The Factory Five 818C was featured in KONI Shocks booth and the Mk4 half car was showcased in BluePrint Engines booth.

Factory Five customer Wayne Presley joined the crew at SEMA. Here Wayne is (left) with FFR’s Tony Zullo (center) and Jesper Ingerslev (right).

The truck loaded up after SEMA, and on it’s way back to Wareham, it stopped by the Emerald Coast Cruzin’ in Panama City, FL where attendees could get a close-up look at the Factory Five SEMA cars. 2016 saw a major show or event almost every month, and it looks like 2017 is going to be every bit as busy.


6. Factory Five in n the News: 

“Of all of the various companies that produce Cobra replicas, I think Factory Five is probably the most successful and the most reputable. If you’re gonna buy a replica, Factory Five is probably the way to go.” – Bob Lutz, August 19, 2016, Dream Cruise Roadshow on Detroit Muscle TV

Customer Greg Clouse’s stunning Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod was featured in Street Rodder Magazine. The car dubbed “steampunk” would go onto be featured in our booth at the 2016 SEMA Show.

The guys from Boston’s WCVB channel 5 visited us in Wareham and featured the company in their show “Made in Massachusetts.”

Factory Five customer Andre Becker’s GTM makes the cover of the August 2016 issue of the UK magazine “Complete Kit Car”!

PowerNation TV’s show “Engine Power” featured the Factory Five 818C in a very unique build utilizing Ford’s EcoBoost 4 engine. The show premiered in April. Click here to watch the episode.

PowerNation cruised SEMA with Factory Five! The company was profiled on the show “On the Road”. The highlight of the filming was when I had to roll start the car with Katie Osborne in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard! Katie is an Indiana girl and quite the car chick. Special thanks to Karen Salvaggio and TC McNett for loaning me their “street legal” Challenge Cars for the segment.

The Factory Five 818C was built and featured on Snap-On Tools’ online show “From the Ground Up” and headlined the Snap-On Tools National Convention in August. This car was built with Ford’s 2.3L ecoboost 4 making 310 hp. Click here to watch the videos.

In 2016, Yahoo! Autos drove a Factory Five ’33! Check out the video here.

Customer Michael Leach built this beautiful red and black Factory Five Type 65 Coupe sporting a 5.0L Coyote. The car was featured on the website InMyGarage.com.

Factory Five customer Gene Bowling’s show-winning GTM (Best in Show – Huntington Beach Cruise-In) was profiled in Car Builder Magazine by veteran auto-journalist Steve Temple.

“…it’ll put a smile on your face each and every time you take it out for a drive.” – Andrew Maness, Boldride.com writing about the Factory Five Type 65 Coupe.


7. New Products: While the big news was our all-new Coupe and steel body ’33 Hot Rod, we did manage to make tons of improvements on parts and assemblies. In 2015, we launched our line of Factory Five trailers and by the beginning of 2016, we had received our new Bonneville-style aluminum trailer wheels. These wheels are now standard on all Factory Five trailers.

Tony and the boys in Tech build a running/driving half car to show off the brand-new BluePrint Engines crate engine/transmission package. The boys at BluePrint Engines now have an entire line of push rod motors that are available as drop-ins for Factory Five customers.

The trusty tubular steel rear lower control arms were upgraded to these new forged aluminum units this year.

Many Factory Five improvements come from customers and our partner companies. The good guys at Toyo Tires helped us launch a new line of wheel and tire packages to make it more convenient when building a Factory Five. We now have wheel and tire packages for the Halibrand style wheels popular on Roadsters and Coupes and the Bonneville style wheels popular on Hot Rods. Other part improvements and new parts include all-new long tube Coyote headers, a new molded dash for the Mk4 Roadsters, and now you can get the Ford IRS with 3.73 gears (standard is 3.55 gears).


8. Customer News: From show wins to cross-country trips and everything in between, the sheer number and quality of customer accomplishments showcase the talent and depth of the FFR community. Here are only a few of the fun highlights from 2016. The Factory Five Forum is a great place to go to read about stories like these.

Factory Fives have a part of many weddings! I met Paul G. back in 2002 at the Bondurant School and again at the 2003 Factory Five Nationals in Las Vegas. This year, Paul and his wife Mary shared their recent road trip and marriage in their Factory Five Roadster! A better example of how Factory Fives become a part of our lives I cannot find. Paul and Mary’s car now has close to 100,000 miles on the clock! Paul is now building a Gen 3 Coupe.

Car show wins were too many to count this year for Factory Five customers. Customer Dale Anthony won “Best in Class” AND the O’Reily Auto Parts Choice Award at the Birmingham, AL World of Wheels car show! The car was also featured on the news and on AL.com’s Top 15 “Must See” cars of the World of Wheels. Dale’s car was also picked by Summit Racing to be featured in their showroom at their McDonough, GA location.

Fresh out of his garage, Mike T. from Beaverton, Oregon wins first place at the 60th Portland Roadster Show with his Factory Five Roadster.

You meet the coolest people when you build a Factory Five. This year, customer Sedden Temple saw a guy checking out his FFR Mk4… turns out if was Chip Foose!

Factory Five customer Bob B. and the teams from Designer Wraps and Skepple Design built this beautiful GTM powered by a built LS1 topped off with an LS6 intake. Their creative genius came up with this copper panel look with real rivets. The car is heading to the 2017 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, AZ.

This girl looks great in blue. So does the pin-up model featured alongside her in this photo by Jen Sprague.

Aussie Dave finishes his 818R in RHD format. The car would be the first registered and road legal 818R in Australia.

Factory Five customer Erik Hansen’s 289 USRRC Replica earned Picture of the Month honors on The Factory Five Forum and “Best in Show – Roadster” at the 2016 Factory Five Huntington Beach Cruise-In.


9. Factory Five Leadership: 2016 continued our tradition of leadership by example in the custom car industry. We hosted school tours, participated in regulatory efforts in Washington, D.C., and I took an active hand to help with SEMA’s sponsorship of the Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturer’s Act.

The next generation is important. We hosted a number of school tours at Factory Five this year, like this group from the Old Colony Vocational School, Automotive Technology Program. Factory Five has a great relationship with Old Colony, several current employees went through the Automotive Program. In 2016, we did more than 20 organized tours from schools.

Members of the Street Rodder Magazine Road Tour in the composite molding area.

Late last year, the SEMA-sponsored Small Volume Manufacturers Act was passed enabling small companies like ours to register and manufacture up to 325 custom vintage cars per year. In 2016, we worked with SEMA, NHTSA/DOT, and EPA on implementation of this exciting new law. I was part of panel discussion at the 2016 SEMA Show explaining the specifics of the law. The year’s ahead are going to be exciting for small volume manufacturers.

This year, SEMA sponsored an online petition against the EPA’s effort to outlaw the conversion of street cars into modified competition vehicles. Factory Five and our customers stepped up huge and helped defeat this regulatory effort. I joined SEMA’s political action committee and have been tremendously impressed with the passionate support of Factory Five customers to protect motorsports and our shared interests through the democratic process. The road ahead for motorsports is bright, indeed!


10. Partnerships: Every Factory Five has to be built. That means partnerships define everything we do. 2016 was a great year for partnerships. We work together with our customers and with a great network of partner companies who provide parts and services for Factory Five cars. 2016 was a year of strengthening these bonds and delivering more value for our customers.

The great guys at KONI Shocks (here with the Factory Five 818C at SEMA 2016) have consistently delivered high-performance shocks for Factory Five customers for many years.

Ford Performance Parts’ Jesse Kershaw and myself at Ford’s new tech center in Allen Park, MI. Ford has been a great partner for many years. Factory Five’s are frequently profiled in their parts catalog and our cars are used by them at shows and events around the country.

Pete and Chris from BluePrint Engines had the half-mobile Factory Five Mk4 Roadster with a brand-new crate engine/transmission package on display.

Huge thanks for a great year to our partners at Wilwood Brakes, Toyo Tires, Snap-On Tools, and Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Also huge thanks to the hardworking professional builders and hot rod shops that have built Factory Fives all year.

This past year, we lost some great members of the Factory Five community and none will be missed more than Wade Chamberlain. Wade passed away suddenly of a heart attack at only 47 years old. Wade left his wife Beth, their children, and the entire Factory Five community in shock. Wade was one of the original Capitol Area Cobra guys and a long time member of the Factory Five community. Wade was one of those guys that you were happy to call your friend. He was always one of the fastest autocross racers with his Factory Five Roadster. He was as helpful to everyone as he was selfless. My year in review post here is dedicated to Wade Chamberlain.