Well another year has come and gone! It’s time to look back and recognize the great work and accomplishments of 2015. It’s a also time to look ahead and set our sights on even higher horizons for 2016!
In May, I participated in a Global Business Summit hosted by Bryant University.
2015 was a great year for sure… Maybe the best ever for Factory Five. This year we invested tremendously in the company and in our futures. Our commitment to giving back was seen in our fundraising efforts as well as in our commitment to transition our operations to renewable solar power.
Looking ahead to 2016 its difficult for me to sleep at night! While our past has been remarkable, it is what lies ahead that makes each day so exciting.
Let’s make 2016 the best year ever! Let’s take the time to gather with the ones we love, let’s do our best for our friends, families, co-workers, and country… And let’s make sure that whenever the opportunity arises, we grab the keys and put some miles on these great cars!
#1. The Factory Five Community
The biggest story of 2015 continues to be the Factory Five community! Whether it was the teamwork that helped Team PDG’s GTM race car win on the track, work at charity events, or the fellowship on display everyday on the forums where customers help each other build their cars, the Factory Five customer community remains THE story of the year. There is simply no other community of car builders more helpful, positive, generous, and enthusiastic. When you build a Factory Five, you build so much more than a car.
Factory Five customer Garry Bopp passes on the stoke to a new generation of car builders!
#2. The 20th Anniversary Mk4 Roadster
One of the big highlights of 2015 was the development and launch of our Special Edition 20th Anniversary Factory Five Mk4 Roadster. Many of the parts that were developed for this car such as the all-new independent rear suspension from the 2015 Mustang, GPS Gauges, and all-new 18″ Halibrand replica wheels would find their way into production. Only 20 numbered cars were sold, and they represent a high watermark for 20 years of Factory Five Roadsters.
The 20th Anniversary Roadster was featured at the 2015 SEMA Show. Watch the video with Jessica Barton from Power Automedia (above).
#3. GTM Wins Numerous Racing Titles
Among the many track stories and victories of 2015, Richard and Yvonne Migliori and their Team PDG race group were true standouts. The team finished their best year ever winning the Western Endurance Racing Championship Series and the United States Touring Car Championship series for 2015. Team PDG also finished 3rd place overall at the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race!
Factory Five GTM racers from Team PDG earned a 3rd place overall finish at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, 2015.
#4. The 818 Coupe Launched!
In 2015, the 818C Coupe joined the 818S Street model and the 818R Race model to round out three distinct designs from the shared 818 platform and to close on four years of development work. The year also saw new options, parts, and refinements released for the 818 model. In the last days before the new year, the team from Factory Five headed down to Nashville, TN to film the installation of Ford’s EcoBoost 2.3L engine into the car on “PowerNation TV.” 2016 will bring us back to the track with the 818R, and promises to be the best yet for the newest Factory Five.
#5. All-New 2015 IRS Option Added
After 15 years of production, the Factory Five IRS got a major update. On the heels of the 20th Anniversary Mk4 Roadster, the all-new Factory Five Independent Rear Suspension was launched. The new design proved faster on the track than even the storied 3-link, and delivered the softest and most compliant street ride. This option was welcome news to hot rodders as the new design is available in the ’33 Hot Rod in addition to the Mk4 Roadster and Type 65 Coupe. In 2015, Factory Five also became a distributor for Ford Performance Racing Parts, which means that we can provide the 2015 Mustang differential and brake parts along with the new IRS suspension!
#6. Factory Five and Customers Come Together for Charity Builds
The Ohio Cobra Club donated an astonishing $111,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that put the club’s total to more that $1 million donated over the years. The first Factory Five 20th Anniversary Mk4 Roadster, #001, was donated to the club and raffle tickets are being sold now with the winner to be drawn at the show in June 2016. Click here to purchase a raffle tickets.
A week before the June Open House, Factory Five customer Bob McKee organized the MK4 seven day build with the help of dedicated FedEx pilots and St. Jude patients. The FedEx pilots raised nearly $50,000 in donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Mk4 kit was built at the 2015 FedEx-St. Jude Classic PGA Tour event in Memphis, TN. The finished MK4 was autographed by Fabian Gomez, the winner of the PGA Golf Tournament. The car will be auctioned at the 2016 Barrett Jackson Show in West Palm Beach, FL in April to raise even more money for St. Jude’s.
Turns out FedEx pilots can do more than fly planes!
#7. Factory Five Upgrades to Sustainable Solar Power
Factory Five’s Sandra DeBurgo turns the switch on the DC-power inverters to put us online with solar power!
2015 was a year for investing in the company and investing in our future. In May, Factory Five Racing’s solar array became fully operational! The system that we installed is a 181 kWh array of over 600 solar panels. The solar array provides all the power that we need for our manufacturing facility with a surplus on peak months. That means that every single Factory Five chassis is welded with 100% renewable power from the sun. How cool is that?! Read more.
#8. Factory Five Tools Up, Solves Wheel Problem, and Adds New Designs!
One of the low-lights of 2014 was the critical shortage of our Halibrand style wheels. The back orders were some of the worst in the history of the company, and as a result, all resources were brought to bear, to not only solve the back order problem, but to tool up with all-new wheel designs that would take us from last place to first. In 2015, following the launch of our anniversary car, we introduced an all-new line of wheels that included 18″ Halibrand style wheels, Bonneville style Hot Rod wheels, and a line of performance wheels for our 818 model.
The first set of Factory Five 18″ wheels headed for the Mk4 Anniversary car.
#9. ’33 Hot Rod Give-Away Car, “The Rattle Can Rod”
On the charity front, we donated the Fed-Ex-St. Jude’s Mk4 Roadster and the London Cobra Show Mk4 Roadster. But over on PowerNation, we sponsored a give-away car of a different type. PowerNation’s show “Engine Power” built a Factory Five ’33 called The Rattle Can Rod. The car was a budget build that came out looking like a million dollars. The car was given away at the 2015 SEMA Show. Click here to watch the episodes.
#10. Factory Five’s Business Grows Beyond “Build-It-Yourself” Car Kits in 2015!
While we have continued to hammer away at car designs, it’s fun to see the business growing in related directions. 2015 was the year that we became an official Ford Racing parts distributor. This was in anticipation of a major piece of legislation that was sponsored by SEMA called “The Low-Volume Manufacturer’s Bill” that will enable Factory Five to build completed vehicles.
We’ve also spent the last year working with the great folks at UTC (Universal Trailer Corporation) to design the ultimate Factory Five trailers. UTC makes trailers under the brands Wells Cargo, Featherlite, Haulmark, and others. We’ve finalized the design of three all-aluminum car haulers, putting our 20 years of experience with car trailers to work. The new line of trailers will debut in the first week of 2016!
There was so much more than this to 2015. We survived the coldest, snowiest winter in the history of New England, Barrington Irving and his team at Experience Aviation taught kids how to build Factory Fives and build skills at the same time. Speaking of building, the Build School added the 818 to their curriculum, and Power Automedia built one of the coolest Mk4 race cars anywhere. Customers made news from making the Snap-On catalog with their cars to winning “Best Ford in Ford” in Street Rodder Magazine. The company made magazine covers, ran in the Green Grand Prix, and sponsored the huge west coast Huntington Beach show again. Just too much news to cover and apologies to all of those we were unable to mention. With luck, 2016 will be even better!