Factory Five Racing first made its name on kits that made Cobras out of Mustangs. They’ve come a long way since then. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 818S show just how far they have, but will this completed kit have too big a caboodle of a price to take the day?
Being a Ford guy, and having an irrational attraction to Merkurs of all kinds, I was both surprised and chagrinned at the 67% Crack Pipe loss earned by last Friday’s 1986 custom Cosworth Tribute XR4Ti at its fifteen-grand asking price. Oh well, ’tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, or so it goes.
I think you might just love today’s Factory Five Racing 818S as it’s a kit car that redefines the kit-car genre. You probably best know Factory Five Racing as that Cobra kit-car company, as they have cranked out more of the repli-roadsters than Shelby ever did real ones.
FFR’s early cars required the cannibalization of a Mustang for suspension, steering, braking and other parts, rendering the donors immobile and irreparable. On the whole, that’s a win-win trade-off as it meant one less old Mustang in the slow lane, and one more fiberglass Cobra to make little kids and grown men alike go whoa! upon seeing it.
The company has not rested on its Cobra laurels (do snakes even have laurels? where do they keep them?) and has, over the years, branched out into… well an even better Cobra - the Mk4. The Warham, Mass company also offers a Daytona Coupe kit, a ’33 Ford Roadster, the balls-out GTM super car, and, putting performance in the hands of the proletariat, the 818 in both S (street) and R (racing) models.
Much like the Cobras required the sacrificing of a Mustang in their creation, the 818 derives its non-kit parts from Subaru’s 2002-2007 non-STi Impreza. The donor Subie has to give up its spindles, steering, pedals, braking system, engine, tranny, forward exhaust, fuel pump and a bunch of ancillary bits to complete the new car.
To do that you could buy the $9,990 basic kit and spend a lot of weekends and work nights putting the bad boy together, or you could bite the bullet and buy this one which has had almost all the work already done.
The ad says this is kit #67 out the factory and it was built by a guy while he was in Arizona. If you’ve got a couple of hours to waste, check out the build thread. That’s some pretty sweet car-pron right there, and it gives a pretty good idea of the hours and work that goes into building one of these, even with all the engineering that FFR has undertaken in the kit’s design.
Speaking of that design, the 818 name derives from the finished car’s target weight - 818 kilograms or about 1,800 pounds. As the ad notes, this one tips the scales at about a ton, but with 341-bhp on tap that’s still only 5.86 pounds for each of those ponies to carry.
The engine producing those lightly stressed ponies is a 2.5-litre turbocharged and intercooled B1 that sports B25 heads. The air-to-air intercooler has been replaced by an air-to-water one, and according to the ad, the whole ball of fun has received both its BAR sticker and CHP sign-off so it’s good to go even in that state.
That ’s where the car is located now, and while it’s gone through a number of updates to meet roadworthiness requirements, the seller notes a few things that the next owner might want to tackle to make the car a little more complete/civilized. Those are some sort of an exterior finish - the car looks to be wearing nothing more than a white gel coat now - and some throw rugs or something on the interior.
Alternatively, you could just rock it (get it, rocket?) as-is. To do so, you’d need to come up with $25,000. That’s a hella’ lot of Miatas, but then again this ain’t your grandma’s roadster. Also, you could live by the rule to never walk in another man’s (or woman’s) shoes, in which case you could spend the ten-grand and whatever it takes to get an 818 kit to this level of completion.
There’s a certain level of self satisfaction in that, but not everybody is up to the task. This 818S represents a lot of work both by FFR and the guy whose garage birthed it. What’s your take on its present value - does the blood sweat and gears that have gone into it make it worth $25,000? Or, is this completed kit not worth not worth that kind of caboodle?
H/T to imprezanoturbo for the hookup!
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