Top 10 of 2018

Customer Erik Treves highlights a great year of customer accomplishments with his twin-turbo Gen 3 Coupe laying it down for charity at the 2018 London Cobra Show. This year, the company and customers made a huge difference for charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Wide Open Throttle Towards 2019!

What a year it has been! It was both great and terrible, perhaps the expected highs and lows that define life.. but this year the highs were really high and the lows were equally low. It was a year of great accomplishment on the business side, and great loss on the personal side. I will always remember 2018 as the year I lost my mom. As sad as that has been, I know she is proud of her children and our accomplishments as we go forward without her.

And speaking of accomplishments, I’ve put together a top ten list of the highlights of 2018! As you’ll see, the company and our customers have excelled at grabbing the brass ring… and if 2018 was great, 2019 is going to be even better!

One of my personal highlights from 2018 was 3-days of riding in Nevada with my 17-year-old son Adam, who is now building a Mk4 Roadster.

On behalf of everyone at Factory Five, have a safe and joyous new year!

Dave Smith

#1: All-New 2nd Gen ’33 Hot Rod Debuts in 2018

We launched our ’33 Hot Rod at the SEMA Show 10 years ago! The car was unveiled in the Ford booth, and promptly earned Best Engineered Product Runner-Up and the Global Media Award for Best New Product.

Now, 10 years later, we went back to the drawing board, and re-designed it. From big changes to small, we made the car better looking, easier to build, increased interior space, and added more options to make it easier to build your custom Hot Rod your way. The 2nd Generation Hot Rod is now in production, and was a major accomplishment for 2018

Click here for more.

#2: Factory Five Purchases Rat’s Glass

As part of our investment in our Hot Rod line, in 2018 we launched our Hot Rod Truck and also purchased Rat’s Glass Bodies. I got to know George Long, a.k.a. Rat, as he was getting ready to retire, and was interested in selling his company after almost 40 years in the business. Originally, George developed his composite hot rod bodies with his childhood friend Bobby Alloway. Alloway stayed with the chassis and Rat provided the bodies. Rat’s designs have earned two Riddler Awards and a lifetime of industry accolades. I hope to add the Speedstar and some of the other Rat’s bodies to the Factory Five line-up in 2019.

#3: St. Jude’s Charity and Ohio Cobra Club Raffle Car

In 2018, we sponsored two charitable builds. We donated a car that was built by the pilots of FedEx, and auctioned at the FedEx/St. Jude PGA Classic gala dinner and charity auction. The car would raise $95,000 for the kids at St. Jude!

Also this year, we sponsored the annual Ohio Cobra Club London Cobra Show raffle car. The car was built by Chris Relyea and his team at FormaCars, and you can buy a raffle ticket to win it! The drawing will be at the 2019 London Cobra Show in June. Buy your raffle ticket here.

#4: All-New VR Design and CAD/CAM Process

For almost 25 years we’ve been shaping composite automobile body panels the same way, by hand. This slow and laborious process of shaping with foam, bondo and clay is tough dirty work that requires great skill. Once the substrate shape is finalized, the mold making process is equally difficult and time consuming. The big news is that this process is rapidly becoming a relic of the past thanks to some serious technology that is becoming a routine commodity and filtering down to small companies with limited budgets. This is our story of how we’ve accomplished this dramatic transition.

The 818 was the first Factory Five designed to be developed in CAD, but the full integration of VR from computer screen and 3D development to output has not been completed until now.

#5: 2018 was the Year of the Customer

This past year, customers raised money for charity, won car show awards, earned top finishes on the track, and helped each other on the forums and in garages across the country. In February, customer Bill W. scored ink with his royal blue and white Mk2 Roadster. Customer Don S. was profiled on Ford Performance’s website. Customer Greg R. won “Best Ford in a Ford” at “Back to the ’50s” in Minneapolis with his killer Hot Rod. Customer Trevor Poquette drove to a 4th place overall finish at the 2018 Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge. And, Rich M. and his Team PDG scored their highest finish ever at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

#6: Joey Logano and Snap-On Tools Build a Mk4-R

We didn’t know Logano was going to go and win a NASCAR Championship this year when we were building a Mk4-R with him and the crew from Snap-On Tools. The episodes are pretty cool, but the drift video is awesome!

#7: Truck Yeah!

It has been a heck of a year for the all-new Factory Five ’35 Hot Rod Truck! The Truck could have it’s own Top 10 list as so much has happened on this great new design. It was introduced at SEMA a year ago, and to the public in January with a PowerNation build episode (Click here to watch the episode). Also this year, Hot Rod Magazine is doing a series of build articles (Click here to see Hot Rod’s build video and more photos), and the crew at Barrett-Jackson has commissioned us to build a special edition Barrett-Jackson Garage Truck (Click here for more details). Factory Five Trucks were all over SEMA this year, and an LS-powered Truck was entered into the “Battle of the Builders.”

#8: Team PDG Top 3 at Grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill!

2nd in class, 3rd place finish overall! The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is the most demanding and grueling road race on the planet, and Rich M. with his Team PDG (Prototype Development Group) has been a regular at this event for more than a decade. This year, Rich scored a 3rd place podium finish with his Factory Five GTM race car, and a 2nd place in class! Rich ran his fastest lap time ever, and ran more laps than ever in this epic race being bested only by a 996 ALMS Porsche and a full-race Radical! To underscore this accomplishment, Rich is running against professional American Le Mans and Grand AM caliber teams.

#9: Factory Five Coupe Nation!

2018 was the second year of Gen 3 Coupe production, and the design made news everywhere! As we entered 2018, the car was featured in the season finale of “Fast ‘N Loud” with now NASCAR Champion Joey Logano driving. The car would headline Ford’s PRI display at the end of 2017 as well. In 2018, production ramped up, and more Gen 3 Coupes began winning car shows and races. The year would end with a live Coupe build at SEMA punctuated with 8-minutes of drifting on the newly built car.

Watch the live build on PowerNation TV’s website.

#10: Build School Investment

There’s nothing like the Factory Five Build School at Mott Community College, and in the past year, we’ve made significant upgrades to the build vehicles, the demo fixtures, and tooling. A month ago, our own Dave C. and Dave B. travelled out to the Build School with the 2nd Gen Hot Rod. Each month, 12-15 students learn how to build a Factory Five. Our own crew has gone through the Build School, and it remains something no other company in our industry does.

Click here to learn more about the Build School.

Honorable Mentions

Apologies in advance for the HUGE number of customer accomplishments, show wins, and truly noteable moments that wouldn’t fit in a Top 10 e-mail. The Factory Five community continues to grow and make a difference in the lives of others. The story of the Hespeler family and their ’33 Hot Rod build tells it best. The episode called “Solid Car Guys” won a 2018 Telly Award. Congrats to thestealthcrew, and huge thanks to everyone in the Factory Five community for a great 2018!