The Next Factory Five – Project 818

All-New “World Platform” Factory Five Design

Based on tough Subaru WRX running gear, Factory Five’s next car has been in development for almost a year. With a space frame designed and tested on SolidWorks software, this single donor car will sell for $9,900. We will use our 15 years of accumulated design and manufacturing skills to deliver a “world car” that can be COMPLETED for less than $15,000.

• Single Donor Subaru WRX Running Gear

• Factory Five Space Frame Chassis, 95″ Wheel Base

• Mid-Engine, Rear Wheel Drive Configuration

• Target weight – 1,800 lbs./818 kg.

• Two Seater Sports Car Design

• No Paint, Gel Coat Panels

• Target Kit Price: $9,900

• Target Vehicle Completion Cost Under $15,000

• Design Partners: SolidWorks Software, Hewlett-Packard, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, The Factory Five Community

• Production Target Dates 2012-2013

Concept drawing by Murray Pfaff at

Automobile Magazine wrote the following:

“Have you ever wondered what would happen if you stuffed a Subaru WRX motor into something that’s mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, and weighs less than 2,000 lbs.? Because that’s the next Factory Five car – a two-seater built around inexpensive and indestructible Subaru running gear. The styling isn’t finalized, but I’m imaging something that looks like Lancia Stratos. And if you don’t break into a creepy serial-killer smile every time you imagine an affordable, WRX-based Stratos, then you are some kind of weirdo. The car’s new wheelbase is locked in at 95″ which is a little longer then an Exige.”

Ezra Dyer, Automobile Magazine

The Theory of the 818 by Jim Schenck, Director of R&D

While it is still early in the design process, I wanted to provide more information and some background on the donor car and design theory of the new 818. The reason we have been quiet on this is because so much is still subject to change. We’ve been working on the base chassis and running gear to build a “go-kart” while we host a very public body design competition that is wide open.

Let me talk about the running gear. Factory Five is famous for our strong and light chassis. In this case, we have designed a space-frame consistent with our tradition. Owing to the fact that this is a “World” car, (which means we intend to export this car, and it will be built in both the U.S. and around the world), the running gear HAD to come from a vehicle that is available around the world. We decided to use parts from the Subaru Impreza/WRX product line, wagon and sedan, model years 2002-2007. Some parts from earlier year cars will work but not enough to be true single donor.

The main reason the Subaru was chosen was the layout, a longitudinal mid-mounted flat 4 with a transaxle attached gives fantastic balance, low center of gravity and most importantly a very low total vehicle weight. Some guys have questioned our decision to use the WRX parts, asking why we didn’t run front wheel drive parts from a Civic or a Focus, etc.. To accomplish our aggressive target build cost, the car needed to be a true single donor. Using a FWD chassis such as a Civic or Focus would only provide suspension and brakes for one end of the car adding cost. Other reasons for choosing the Subaru parts is that Subaru is known for making big power reliably, the aftermarket is enormous, and the customer base is strong and passionate.

Subaru Front Spindle in SolidWorks

Subaru Front Lower Control Arm in SolidWorks

In all likelihood the flat 6 boxer will not be part of our plan because any amount of extra space will be incorporated into the cockpit. 2-4 Inches may not seem like much but in terms of leg room it can be all the difference.

The design goal behind this car is very straightforward, the car must be simple, lightweight, affordable, and easy to build in countries around the world. The emphasis will be on handling and driving fun rather than on the 200 mph exotic or the everyday commuter. The majority of the cars we sell are street cars and this will not be an exception, so full lighting, covered wheels, and safety items will all be incorporated but not much beyond that in terms of luxury type stuff. To keep things simple this will be an elemental performance based street car first but with a roll bar/structure sufficient for track days. The suspension is a double A-arm/multilink with Koni coil-overs on all corners (we will not use the Subaru struts). In terms of what we will use from the Subaru, the goal is everything possible that doesn’t compromise the design goal. We won’t utilize the unibody but at this point every other piece is fair game (ok, probably not the headliner either).

The design competition is exciting and it is WIDE OPEN. The likely design due to the price targets will be a roadster, but all designs (coupe, targa, dedicated track car, etc.) are encouraged and have an equal chance of winning.

The success of this 818 project depends tremendously on the full integration of CAD technology, the application of our accumulated street and track experience, and the input of our talented and passionate customer base. It is our largest challenge to date and yet, I am confident we will deliver on the lofty goals.