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Stalled Project: Factory Five 818 S

It seems that no matter what brand the kit car is, or how well built it may be, there’s always a strong likelihood it ends up an unfinished project in someone’s basement. The car seen here is sold by the highly regarded kit car shop, Factory Five Racing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they don’t even like being called kit car, given the association that terminology sometimes has. But when it leaves the Factory Five workshop, it’s up to the purchaser to make it look – and go – like the car on the website. And right now, this 818 S isn’t going anywhere fast. The seller has listed it here on eBay with an opening bid of $16,000 and no takers yet.

I find the world of kit cars and replica cars to be a difficult one to sort out, at least in terms of the emotions it stirs up. When we featured the fake Lamborghini Countach a few days ago, I legitimately felt pangs of wanting to build my own. If I had known you could make a replica of Lamborghini’s mot iconic supercar that didn’t look half bad, I would’ve tried to hunt one down years ago when the Countach was still in its prime and multiple vendors were vying to create the most authentic replica. This 818 S isn’t really a replica of anything, but it is a significant departure for Factory Five from the usual Cobra replicas it builds.

The 818 was considered an entry-level model into the world of Factory Five ownership. On its own website, the company acknowledges younger enthusiasts may not have the same spiritual connection to the Cobra cars, so it built this lightweight (and relatively affordable) kit that uses Subaru WRX running gear. Grassroots Motorsports actively campaigns an 818 in track-day events and autocrosses, and usually has good things to say about it. Certainly, Factory Five is well regarded in the DIY community, and for building kits that can become formidable performers on the track. With WRX running gear, this 818 should eclipse 60 MPH in 4.0 seconds.

The seller claims this 818 is almost finished, and benefits from numerous upgrades that were planned as part of the final build. These include: upgraded wheels and tires from Factory Five; Wilwood brakes; aftermarket wiring harness; adjustable Bilstein shocks; aftermarket lower control arms; the Corbeau seats seen in the above photo; and much, much more. The seller claims this model cost $16,000 to buy, which I’m guessing takes into account some custom configurations as the base kit is right around $10K from Factory Five. Would you finish the seller’s 818 or start with your own project?


  1. alphasud Member

    I had to read the eBay description to understand the asking price. It looks like they have most of what you need including the drivetrain. Not sure if that also includes the parts needed to convert the 4wd transaxle to 2wd. Seems like a fun project that I would take on if someone purchased and needed to hire someone to finish the build. The end result would be a track focused car that you could enjoy on weekends provided your state allows it to be titled.

    Like 4
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    A good looking car when finished correctly. The imitable Ezra Dyer wrote a great piece in Automobile Magazine (now defunct, unfortunately!)
    Could be a great project though inasmuch as it’s a complete kit the seller may not get his price anytime soon…good luck anyway!

    Like 2
    • Al

      good article. Came along way since the Bradley GT of my youth lol

      Like 4
    • PRA4SNW

      Ezra still has a regular column in Car & Driver.

      Like 2
  3. ROARRR Member

    It’s the same with hot rods, restorations etc. people get into these BIG projects without first computing how much spare time they’re going to have in the next year–or so! For someone that has the enthusiasm, it is an enjoyable and profitable way to spend your life, especially with you tube one can learn how to do whatever’s needed, it won’t necessarily be perfect the first time but again–with enough enthusiasm and time one can end up with their dream car, I did my first starting at 15, STILL doing them 70 years later.

    Like 8
  4. Glenn C. Schwass

    Might be easier to add more studs, wall it off and leave it for the next owner to find? Just kidding…

    Like 7
  5. ACZ

    The concern with one like this is that not only do you have to build it, but you need to correct the previous owner’s mistakes. If he were that good a builder it would not be for sale. What hidden screw-ups does this one hold?

    Like 5
  6. DuesenbergDino

    If I understand this article correctly, he has an $16k investment. Now it sits languishing half built and yet he still wants his entire $16k back when it sells? Seems like it should be on the chopping block for a whole lot less. Just go to Factory Five and buy one unmolested or find one built and running.

    Like 3
  7. Bones in AK

    gets to the 85% mark and stalls… never understand how this can happen. it has the parts to convert to 2wd already installed. Want one of these but this would stall my M3 project at 85%…

    Like 0
  8. Gerard Frederick

    You are very literally buying another guys problems here. Only those problems are probably monstrous.

    Like 0
  9. Len Spina

    Is the car still available?

    Like 0

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