Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Delivery Day

On Tuesday 14-October we took delivery of the Factory Five kit. This was a really fun day, as I traveled to the Factory Five factory in Wareham, MA with a UHaul to pick up the kit.

The Factory Five World HQ is located in a somewhat non-descript facility at the end of the road in an industrial park. I was pretty sure I had arrived when I hit the cul-de-sac and the pavement was full of skid marks. This transporter pretty much gave it away too:

The showroom has really stunning examples of the various models sold by Factory Five. I was particularly excited to see the Type 65 Coupe close up. I’ve seen one running example of this car on the street (for about a minute as the guy motored away), and I’ve seen the Factory Five DVD. But it wasn’t until Tuesday that I actually put hands-on the car itself:

There was also an excellent example of the GTM Supercar. I’m very interested in building one of these some day. We’ll have to see how the Coupe build goes first, but the GTM is an amazing car.

I met with Jason Lavigne, who gave me a tour of the facility. It’s a very cool place – a combination of straightforward and sophisticated, industrial and high tech. Everybody there is fired up about cars and racing and downright friendly. Judging from all the build blogs out there Factory Five must be one of the most photographed factories in the country. Nobody seemed to mind as I snapped pictures during the tour.

Stack of main tubes for coupes:

Vehicle chassis on rotating frame:

Roadster bodies stacked up:

Aluminum panels ready for use. These are pre-shaped, with cut-outs, and ready to go:

Coupe dashboard panels:

Coupe doors under construction:

After touring the facility and meeting people at Factory Five it was finally time to meet the kit. It sounds corny, but seeing this sign attached to the body of my kit was really exciting:

Next it was time to load the kit into the truck. Here’s the stack of boxes on board:

Here is kit, on a rolling frame, ready to go on the truck:

When you pick up the kit the body is on the frame, and several of the aluminum panels are on the frame. The windshield and rear glass are taped onto the body. In order to load the car the guys removed the windscreen and rear glass, and then guided a boom into the cockpit. This allowed them to raise up the car by the roll hoop and put it in the truck.

Once I got the kit loaded, I headed back to the showroom to take some technical photos of the front suspension. As I looked around, Dave Smith (President and founder of Factory Five) wandered over and introduced himself. This led to a great discussion of chassis setup, car philosophy, etc. He showed me the Roush Coupe, which can be seen on the Factory Five web site photo gallery. Dave is a committed racer and passionate about cars, and really seems to enjoy his job. Meeting him was totally by chance and was pretty neat.

With the truck loaded up I stopped a nearby Lowes and bought some tie down straps to secure the chassis for the ride home. Then I headed for home to unload.

Meng and Marc came over to help unload the car. The photos we took of the off-loading process did not come out, which is unfortunate. Sufficient to say, however, you really want 4 (or maybe even 6) people to help out with the unloading process. The 3 of us struggled a bit, but ultimately we got the body off the chassis, the chassis into the garage and on stands, the boxes into the garage, and the body propped up on wood outside in the driveway.

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