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.
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.
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.
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…..parts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While a straight Factory Five 65 Coupe replica of the Shelby Daytona is an awesome machine it is not without its issues as a potential cruiser on a hot summer’s night.
It is a race car, and as such it’s loud, hot, and built to function with a basic interior well suited for work on a track. We are interested in a car that while not a daily driver can be driven in relative comfort for a weekend outing or to a friends cottage. This doesn’t mean we make the car vanilla flavour. It needs to turn heads, look like all the pieces belong, fit it’s character, and still be able scare the crap out of passengers when the “go” pedal is called to order.
Our first thought was to go with all the modern high tech toys, fancy instruments, big wheels, and all the possible creature comforts typical with almost any new higher end coupe or sedan today.
In retrospect, we could have not been more wrong. Our buddy Mark Bovey of Targa Truck fame set us on what we think is the correct and most reasonable course. As he pointed out – if the car is just a collection of all the latest and greatest in fashion gizmos and technology it will loose its identity and look like some strange collection if this and that. Very quickly it could become this “thing” that looks sort of cool, but not really.
The Targa Truck……a crazy machine. I highly suggest you check it out.
Hence came the notion of building a super car of the 60’s and early 70’s – the era of this car – the way Pete Brock or Caroll Shelby himself may have envision this machine if they were to make it for the select few who could attain a super car.
With this vision always in the back of our minds, selecting and marrying features and modern components and even styling queues, is much simplified.
Two examples –
The engine is a Ford SB 347 stroker – straightforward, simple. We are installing throttle body fuel injection by way of an MSD Atomic system (works great in our BMW project). Old school pushrod with some high tech for economy/drivability, but still in character. A Coyote would have crossed the line. In later entries we hope to show the dyno runs of this lump.
The next extremely important item is the interior. This can make or break the vision. We are still working on it, but here is a first pass of the dash.
The inspiration comes from my high school dream cars of the era –
As you can see, the “fashion” of the day had many very similar interpretations – speedo and tach in front, row if critical instruments in centre, with a row of control switches/toggles below. Slide heater vent controls and straightforward round vents. An AM/FM radio would have been the highest electronic tech at the time. Woodgrain or leather on essentially a flat dash would have been typical.
A possible first pass layout for our Coupe could then look basically like this –
I only listen to CBC Radio 1 so for me a simple AM/FM radio is fine, but I need to satisfy my partners high tech needs. A hidden Bluetooth unit with bells and whistles is probably (certainly) going exist. In the radio spot we may put in an eyeglass cubby. Nav is possible, but that has to be a pop up – only in view when being used. A rear view camera can display on the interior rear view mirror – easy, these days.
No cup holders – drivers need to drive and passengers have little to do, so they can hang on to their own cup if they must slurp in the car.
Back in 2009 Jonas took a fateful ride in a hopped up Subaru Legacy on an Autoslalom course and he was hooked. I happened to have a disassembled Ford 5.0L SB and a T5 tranny from a 1985 Mustang GT that was left over from a project that never saw the light of day.
“Hey – that SB will fit into an E36 you know” he said.
“What’s an E36?” I asked.
After about 3 years of throwing money and bloodying knuckles, the result was this –
A 1997 328is donor with an bad auto and lots of miles, but not too rusty.
The final (never final, as anyone who’s done this well knows) turned out to be this –
The original SB lump never would quit throwing oil, thanks in no small measure to my engine building skills, so the second transplant is a Ford Racing 340HP 5.0L crate motor. We grenaded the BMW rear end, so now there lives a Quaif Posi. And this past summer third gear of the old T5 parted company with the living, so a TKO500 awaits installation for this summer’s campaigning. If you, the reader, want to see more, go to jonascar.imgur.com to see build and track photo’s, or visit YouTube and search jonas jasinskas for video from the last 5 years of trying to learn how to drive.
So – what has this got to do with the VJJ Factory Five Daytona? – you may ask –
It’s a clinical condition we are dealing with. Also, a street car build has been on my bucket list for some time, and at 63 and nearly retired, time is running short. The Shelby Daytona Coupe was a dream car in my high school days – and I never forgot it.
So, how would Shelby have done a modern super car in the late 60’s based on his Lemans winning Coupe? This is the story of our version of such a mythical super car.