June 16, 2010


Your next Smart Car?

I was really into a documentary about ten years ago called The Cobra Ferrari Wars (alternate title: The Snake and the Stallion) from Spirit Level Films. Although I lean toward British cars, the gorgeous lines of the vintage Shelby Cobra and Ferrari GTO were irresistible. Suddenly struck with car-kit fever, I discovered Factory Five out of Wareham, Massachusetts. They have a number of kits that are really impressive and that bring retro design within reach for those with handy-man skills (or for those who "know a guy"). The kits take Mustang engines and other base parts. Now, if only they'd make a hybrid or electric, we'd be pro-environment and Spy Vibe styling!

"More than fifteen years have passed since we launched our first roadster kit. Back in 1995, kit cars were at opposite ends of the spectrum. There were well-built replicas that were laughably expensive on one end, and there were poorly built, cheap “kit cars” at the other end. This is still true today, except for a replica kit made by a small group of wing-nuts at a company called Factory Five Racing. Today, more people build Factory Five Racing roadster replicas than all others combined! At the heart of this revolution are some simple concepts: a better product at a better price… sold by a committed group of professionals who love what they do"

Type 1965 Coupe

"There were just six original Coupes built in 1965. Despite the fact that the design never entered production, those six cars won the 1965 World Championship for America. In addition to its racing heritage, the Coupe is one of the most unique and stunning shapes in automotive history. More than ten years ago we began designing the Type 65 Coupe as a pure replica, dedicated to the authenticity and artistry of the original 1965 World Championship Coupes. The Factory Five Type 65 Coupe captures the look and feel of the original 200 mph GT cars, but with today’s engineering, it is more reliable and performs better. Today you can build and pilot a car that is almost identical to those driven by guys like Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney and Ken Miles. The only difference is that these days, technology has enabled vintage lines to merge with modern comfort and performance."

"While the car is a steel and aluminum, wooden steering wheel, fire breathing monster vintage race car, it has benefited from a good amount of refinement and modern engineering. Like the roadster, we wanted to capture that vintage look and feel, but use modern running gear and enhance comfort and driveability. Today Factory Five Coupes have indeed become known as the most authentic and accurate replica, but now the design has grown to encompass a much larger role. What began as a replica of a track-only race car, has evolved into a chassis kit capable of delivering everything form open-track dominance to daily driver comfort. Customization has entered the Coupe world and today the Coupe you build is up to you."

Spy Vibers who are interesting in learning more should check out the Factory Five website. They will even send a free promo DVD and brochure about their projects. Images from Factory Five and Carl Edwards.

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