Suspension in, frame modifications begin……

Once the car chassis and assorted parts were moved into the garage and organized we took an inventory of all of the parts and removed the fiberglass shell and inner aluminum panels to start work on the suspension and frame modifications.


The suspension assembly was a very straight forward process using our new QA1 coil-overs supplied by Chrome Paint’n’Rods out of Montreal QC


The 8.8 inch Ford rear end required a single hole drilled to align and fasten the 3 link suspension kit supplied by Factory Five – everything else went together like a giant Meccano set.




As we found on our two visits to FFR the interior of the 65 coupe gets a little cramped if you are well above the “average” male North American frame size of about 5′-10″ and under 190lbs with feet a size 10 or smaller. This probably stems from the cars development as a close cousin to the Roadster.

For someone with a 6′- 4″ frame of generous proportions and size 14 feet something needed to be done.

Close examination of the engine placement showed that it restricted foot box width and length to make room for the exhaust headers. etc. There appeared to be at least 6 inches of free space in front of the engine before any serious interferences would occur. At first blush it may appear that a significant engine forward move may negatively affect the car’s weight distribution. A few calculations revealed that the weight distribution approaches a more favorable 50/50 with a rather large engine move forward.


This image shows the cut of the rear of the original engine mount.

Engine mount cut.jpg

Using the original removed mounts as templates, new engine mounts are fabricated and welded onto the chassis.

Mounts 1.JPG

Here you can see where the old mounts were cut and ground down and the new mounts are welded in place 4 3/8″ ahead of the original location.

Mounts 2.JPG

This large an engine move makes the engine mount mods fairly easy since the original forward support webs of the mounts can be retained. This makes precise mount alignment straightforward.

Mounts installed.JPG

After fitting a dummy foam engine block and looking at the chassis engine mount design, a 4 3/8″ move (one axial cylinder pitch) forward yields a lot of benefits. The foot box can be lengthened by 3 inches and widened by 1 1/2 inches by relieving part of the top half of the main 4 inch chassis tube in the foot box area. A vertical partition web partially restores the section modulus of the frame tube.

floor widen 2.jpg

floor weld.jpg

widen reinforce.jpg

The new foot box has a full 1/8 inch think floor and added structure on the outside, on the end, and overtop add to the stiffness of the area. This heavy outside structure also allows the partial removal of the frame strut that goes to the front suspension structure. This provides the room necessary for an electric power steering unit to be installed at the top of the box – out of the way of external heat sources. The outside lower foot box corner is cut away to allow the exhaust pipe to exit the body in its intended location.

new floor.jpg

Reference point to point measurements of the chassis structure showed no distortion after the rather extensive amount of welding.

Dash move.jpg

The steering shaft position and angle remain stock. We did move the dash bar position 1 1/2 inch forward so the steering wheel could be pushed forward if needed.

Rough Footbox.jpg

The dash to firewall volume needed for wipers, AC/heater unit, instruments and wiring can easily be doubled with the engine move. More on this as the build progresses. The transmission goes forward as well, so now the typical center back placement of the T56 shifter will end up at just about perfect reach form the driver’s seat. A longer driveshaft is a good thing as well since this reduces the drive angles a bit.

Pedal Mock 1.JPG

We designed custom foot pedals with spacing and placement almost identical to my Subaru STI.  It’s easy to build in side to side and fore and aft adjustability so that the right pedal feel can be dialed in. More on this later.

Pedal Mock 2.JPG

Next major step is seat placement and adjustability. We are looking at an 18 inch wide Kirkey as a starting point. Unfortunately, floor mods look to be out of the question given the required rearmost position of the seat and the location of the rear suspension trailing arm pivot points. We are not that tall seat to head so headroom should not be a problem, but wearing a helmet is probably not going to work.

Pedal Mock 3.JPG

5 days till order pickup!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this site but finally I have some updates to share.

In five days, I’ll be hooking up an 18’ trailer to the back of my truck and hitting the road for Wareham MA with my father. 11 hours there and 11 hours home, not counting the hours I will imagine we will need to spend at the border getting things sorted out. I would like to say a HUGE thanks to my buddy (and fellow Seaton grad) Matt Dailley over at DFS Projects for letting us use one of his many trailers for the job.



Although I know we’re going to have a huge amount of headache at the border getting things processed, I finally received our Transport Canada approval to bring the FFR Type-65 chassis into Canada from the USA.  This wasn’t something that just happened, I logged many phone calls and resent the information at least 4 times before I received a positive response from the TC offices nearly 9 WEEKS after my original submission.

Why is this paperwork necessary?  It turns out that under the current motor vehicles act in Canada, cars labelled as ‘KIT’ from out of country are considered illegal – however – it is legal to import parts of a car and assemble it on Canadian soil (scroll to the bottom of this blog for more of the story).  The paperwork that must be sent into Transport Canada is to prove that we are importing parts that do not constitute an entire vehicle, so we must not include in this import any drivetrain parts such as brakes, transmission, engine or driveline components or suspension parts.  If we did include any of these parts, it would be considered a vehicle import and would have to go through the vehicle registration process at the border.

The odd part with these rules is that we will be sourcing many of the same parts required to build this vehicle, but through Canadian vendors…..who get it from the same place we would anyway.  Thank you bureaucracy.

Engine bits:

As mentioned previously in this blog, we have our friend Venice Perno, owner of the The Performance Cellar working on our engine build.  Venice is an active competitor in the NHRA/IHRA circuit, meaning that Venice is essentially building this engine in between working on his own race machine and touring the competition circuit.  The good news is that we’re not in any rush for the engine just yet, with the chassis showing up next week and a whole ton of things to sort out, the engine is quite far down the list of priorities.  Venice did however send out some pictures of the initial progress, the bottom end is together and Venice is working meticulously on each phase of the build to make sure the engine delivers strong reliable HP.


Suspension bits:

As mentioned above, we have to source parts from places other than Factory Five Racing – fortunately, I found a very helpful shop out of Montreal called Chrome Paint N Rods.  Spiro Papas (owner) has helped many in the Montreal area source and complete their Factory Five Cobra builds in Quebec, he was kind enough to contact me through the official Factory Five Forums to assist in our build.  Pictured below are the rear upper/lower control arms, upper control arms/ball joints and a suggestion from Spiro, upgraded from the standard kit – double adjustable QA-1 coil overs.  Getting those home on the train from Montreal to London Ontario was….an experience.


Rear End:

I managed to find a source in Windsor Ontario for this through a guy named John Homenuik.  I found John in an online forum and at first I was a little skeptical about his experience, until I drove down and saw his shop – this guy lives eats and breathes differentials… everywhere from just about every configuration I could imagine, and he could name every last one of them.  I pulled the trigger on a 3.27 ratio 8.8inch with a housing from the 86-93 Mustang as it works the best for aftermarket disk brake kits.  New 31 spline 5-bolt axles, a 1350 yoke and a carbon fiber traction-lok from a late model Shelby Mustang.  Perfect. 


I’m still in the process of sourcing brakes and wheels.  For brakes, I’m leaning towards BAER – they make a nice kit that fits the 8.8.  Wheels…….so much choice, not sure how to narrow that search just yet.  Stay tuned.

Parts arriving, planning continues…..

Door Handles.png

Flush door handle design concept 1.

Winter has finally arrived in London Ontario, dealing with 40+CM of snow, thought I would take a break from the shoveling to share what’s been going on in the background.

Completely unable to sit still and without decent weather or a chassis to wrench on, my father has been madly scheming and drawing concepts for various parts of the 65 build.  The title picture is a concept drawing for a flush handle design that I saw on the internet.  This handle design could be brushed or painted to match the body color (yet to be decided), and should hide in the body work nicely.


Handle pic.jpg

Also in the works are some of the interior components that can be sourced early.  After an exhaustive search online, we finally found some heavy duty rocker switches from a marine application that can be used for dash controls.  This nice part about these particular switches is that they can handle 25amps, so we can cut down on the number of relays required in the electrical system.Panel Rocker Switch.jpg

The pedals are another area that we’re playing around with at the moment.  There are some drop in pedal kits on the market that are recommended for the Factory Five Cobra cars, however our research shows many of them require some modification of the frame components – also we need to take into account my size 14 feet and may require some adjustability in the overall design that the pre-made pedals can’t provide.


The kit chassis is set to be picked up late May of this year with the goal of having a rolling chassis mechanically complete by the end of this summer.  Venice (our engine builder) has ensured us that we should see our completed 347 Windsor some time around the end of March – plans are in the works to get a bench dyno and hopefully capture some video of the process to share with everyone.

Our T56 Magnum has arrived as well as some of the pieces required to get the car moving when things get warmer.



We also managed to find some front spindles/hubs via a local wrecking yard.  We considered purchasing these new, however the landed price in Canada after currency conversion, shipping and brokerage was just a little ridiculous – these came in a 1/4 the cost.  They might not be the prettiest things in the world, but no one will see them behind the rather large brake rotors I have been shopping for……..more on those in a future update.


Factory Five ROADTRIP

Before starting this project my father and I decided that we have to see the actual machine in person, not only to see the quality of the products and what we were getting for our money, but also to see if my 6’4” not so slim frame would fit into the cockpit.


May 2015, we set out on the 1000+ KM trip spanning southern Ontario, New York and Massachusetts arriving in Middleborough MA just in time for dinner at a place called Harry’s Bar & Grille where we had perhaps the largest quantity of deep fried food I have ever seen for the money.  After a few beers and some discussion about how we hadn’t even made a dent in the plate of fried ‘stuff’ in front of us, we then checked in to the local Holiday Inn for some rest.

The next morning, we set out for Wareham MA – the home of Factory Five Racing.

Tow Road essentially dead ends into a large parking lot where you can see a self storage facility to the left, and to the right a large tan warehouse with the Factory Five logo on the door.  I have to admit when I arrived my first though was “this is it?”.  The large black streaks of rubber scribbled all over the pavement should have been my first clue that we were for sure in the right place.

Fac door.jpg

As soon as we stepped in the front door we entered the Factory Five showroom where we could inspect examples of all of the available kits that FFR produced as well as some chassis/drivetrain combinations with no body.  The exposed chassis with installed drivetrains and running gear were great to see, I started filling the camera with as many angles as possible of various brake kits, gas tanks, pedal setups, suspension pieces and engine mount shots as I could.



It was amazing to see some of the cars in person, cars can look so different in person when comparing them to a photo.  In most cases, the pictures simply can’t do justice to the machine sitting directly in front of you.  There were some fantastic Cobras in vintage as well as modern trim, a 33 roadster kit with supercharged Ford block, a GTM supercar with an LS engine mid mounted as well as the newer 818 with a Subaru WRX drivetrain.  At the back of the showroom was the car we came to see, the FFR Type-65.


FFR 818:


FFR GTM Supercar:


FFR 33 HotRod:


Time for the factory tour – this was a somewhat informal process, we let someone at the front desk know we were ready and off we went behind the doors at the back of the showroom into the assembly/manufacturing and parts area.


Here you can see a stack of body and chassis combinations being prepared for delivery.  The Cobra kits, obviously the bread and butter of FFR, far outnumbered the rest of the kits on the floor or in the racks.

65 red mod.jpg

We also got to see some of the cutting tools and jigs that Factory Five uses to manufacture their chassis’.  Racks upon Racks of parts were on every wall as well as rows of 16 foot racking with parts all labelled for pick and ship.


Once the factory tour was over, we were brought back to the main showroom and had a look at some of the accessory pieces on display.  Overall, I really like the selection that FFR has for their kits and it was nice to have a chance to see how they fit with various style selections.


The good news of course is that my father and I both fit in the vehicle.  Was it worth the near 2300KM round trip?  Absolutely.

Factory Five recently posted a video on their Youtube channel, check it out to learn more about the company and the awesome cars they help their customers build.


Styling modifications, the REAR.


Updating or transforming a race car into a road car of “super car” status is difficult to when you don’t want the car to loose its character or its racing roots.

Looking at other ‘like’ cars of the era yields clues of how different treatments of the rear-end could be made to work. Engine and drivetrain are relatively easy. The more money you throw at those items the better the outcome in the majority of cases. Styling alterations are a totally different matter. Today we’ll look at something relatively simple tail light and rear end treatments.

Era Supercar Rear Styling.jpg

 The Daytona Coupe is styled after the early 60’s Ferrari 250 GTO. Folks who would argue that that’s not the case probably also believe that the new, yet to be released, Lincoln Continental is not a copy of the Bentley and the current Ford Fusion front end is not as copy of the Aston Martin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you consider that today’s hot selling boxes from the SUV segment are just copies of each other.

To me, both the 250 GTO and the Daytona are stunning cars – except for the rear tail lights. It looks like the folks at Ferrari pulled them out of a ready parts bin, and the Daytona followed suit.  Our other consideration here is safety, do we count on other drivers to see us in the dark and stop in time with those minimal button tail lights?

Looking at cars of the era some basic trends emerge. Tail lights were simple geometric shapes, either round or rectangular. The reason is simple. Manufacturing tooling used simple geometries to keep costs down. Complex shapes are very difficult to execute without today’s CAD/CAM, multi-axis machining, and 3D printing capabilities. Predominant shapes were round, and round “fits” the style of the Coupe.

Some brainstorming resulted on a number of alternatives – not all round. 

Tail Light Possibilities.jpg 

The FFR kit version can be seen in the upper left. The others were put to a vote on both Facebook and in the office. The vote returns selected the round tail light versions – maybe not surprisingly.  Design 1 is too “Corvette-ish” – won’t work. This leaves designs 3, 5, and 7.

Design 5 won the office vote and scored high on the Facebook pole. I don’t like it, so it’s dead me. 

Design concept 5:


This leaves design 7, which is similar in concept (but a bit bigger) to the FFR style, and design 3 which is a bit of a compromise bowing to the office vote.

Design concept 7:


We haven’t decided yet, so comments are welcome.

Design concept 3 could be an interesting mix:


The rear of the Daytona rakes at 60 degrees to horizontal so any round lights would be inset at the top to make the lens face more vertical.

An inset license plate would follow the inset light theme. This will hide the mandatory plate lighting. Plate location is still an outstanding question.

The rear spoiler will be integrated into the body with a mandatory stop light bar – not a riveted piece – a no brainer. 

We can “hide” back-up lights using high output LED’s, and a back-up camera will so small it won’t matter.

Something that seems so simple – is not simple after all.