From concept to production in two years! Project 818 is our best work to date.
May 22, 2013 Update:
These are exciting times at Factory Five as I bring you the final pre-production update on Project 818. It is hard to believe that only two years ago this car was a concept on paper. The development team has been exceptionally disciplined, and I’m proud that everyone has met or exceeded their goals.
Less than a month remains before the newest Factory Five joins our line-up of world class build-it-yourself cars. The 818 will debut in full at our big annual Open House event to be held this year on June 15th. We plan on displaying a variety of 818 production chassis. We will have production examples of our 818S and 818R. We will also have the first 818 kits in various stages of production. If you can’t make it to our Open House, we will have full details on our website.
There’s still a lot of work to be finished before the June 15th launch. In only a few weeks, Motor Trend magazine will carry the first comprehensive test drive/evaluation, and we’re all excited to read what editor Larry Webster will write about the car.
The production crew is slightly ahead of schedule. The welding department has pulled the first production chassis out of the welding jig and chassis production has begun. The composite molding group is also ahead of schedule with completed tools and high-quality parts now in production. The packaging area is almost complete, and in a few days, we will begin packaging sub-assemblies for the 818. By the first week in June, our website should be complete with highly accurate order forms, options lists, and detailed donor parts lists.
We are also developing a line of optional parts to be released concurrently with the chassis kit of June 15th. These options include a premium soft top, upgraded Wilwood brakes, carbon fiber aero parts, upgraded shocks, and custom wheels. Ron Francis is working on a replacement wiring harness and our soft top is being made by the great guys at Rod Tops.
Street car development is complete, and the team is anxious to begin helping customers build their cars. Currently, the guys in R&D are building a brand-new 818S to be displayed at Open House. This car is being built right now to QC the assembly manual and test all production tooling. We are building the car without paint to show the quality of the molded panels and the completed cost will be under $15,000.
Track testing and development continues with wind tunnel testing scheduled shortly after Open House to optimize downforce and rear difusser angles. Also, the guys have entered the 818R into the VERY competitive Ultimate Track Challenge being held at Virginia International Raceway.
Factory Five customer and test driver Wayne Presley has been selected to help build the first 818S kit with the team from Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. GRM is writing a series of articles detailing the build and the testing of the car.
We have completed our initial production plans and the guys from tech support will be contacting you in the next few weeks with updates on your production date, and once the final order forms are online, will review those with you.
The 818S has entered production in the welding department. The final production jig is in place, the welding area is set-up, and we are manufacturing one chassis per week currently.
The 818 development team is building the first production 818S for the June 15th Open House. The car here will be a driving completed street car for June 15th.
Initial 818 composite panels are hand-laid fiberglass with bright gloss white gelcoat. We are still working on thermoform plastic panels, but are launching with these white panels.
Factory Fives are not like any other kit cars in that we DRIVE and RACE our designs. The 818R is about to go up against the fastest open track cars in the country at the annual Ultimate Track Challenge sponsored by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, July 19-21!