Text: Wooley // Photos: Jonathan Walker
Factory Five Racing got their start in the mid-90s with their MK4 Cobra kits. Now – if you’re a child of the 90s, you might not be old enough to realize that before Factory Five, most of the ‘replica cars’ out there were more-or-less junk. Lots of Fieros trying to be Ferraris… they were obviously ‘less than’ the cars they were trying to replicate. Fool’s gold.
But Factory Five came into the industry with a different mindset. Why not be ‘more than’? The Factory Five Cobra was a modern performance-driven chassis underneath, and the exterior was not some comical, mutated version of the original. The Cobra spirit remained alive in the Factory Five, and the driving experience was as pure/raw as it gets – by any standard. It allowed an enthusiast to get his/her hands dirty & literally build the car they had dreamed about as kids. Took them back nostalgically, while also letting them ‘take part’ in the creation. If you look at the timeline, you could even argue that the Factory Five MK4 Cobra was one of the first full ‘restomod’ concepts.
To put it bluntly, Factory Five took the ‘poser’ out of the replica/kit car. Hell – even people who were fortunate enough to own one of the few originals… respected the Factory Fives for what they offered. A chance to build, own, and actually ENJOY an iconic piece of automotive history, without the stress/liability of damaging an irreplaceable original.
Then about 10 years ago, Factory Five released the GTM, which is a different chassis/animal all together. It’s an original supercar design (not a replica) that uses a mid-engine GM LSx power plant with a Porsche transmission.
Whether you’re talking about building the Cobra or the GTM, both chassis are centered around either Ford, or GM components. It’s a winning recipe for domestic enthusiasts who have easy access to Ford & GM equipment in the aftermarket. But for would-be international customers, it wasn’t as convenient or affordable. So in order to fill the void for the global market (America included), Factory Five developed this car a few years ago – the 818.
To put it bluntly, Factory Five took the ‘poser’ out of the replica/kit car.
The 818 is built around a Subaru drivetrain, which is more accessible across the globe. It’s a mid-engine chassis, requiring either an 02-07 Impreza, or WRX donor car. An STI engine & tranny can be used as an upgrade swap, but you do need the original Impreza/WRX donor for other required parts of the build.
The Subaru motor is mounted behind the seats, and uses the front-wheel-drive portion of the AWD drivetrain for RWD power delivery. The finished car can weigh as little as 818kgs (1,800lbs)… hence the name 818.
It comes in three versions: 818R, 818S, and 818C. The R is the stripped down ‘Race’ version. The S is the roadster ‘Street’ version. And the C is the hardtop ‘Coupe’.
The 818 kit sells for just under 10-grand, with a generous target of about a 20-grand cost for the finished/built car (less depending on your abilities to DIY).
The 818 pictured here is an R Model owned by Ron Ewerth of Hiawassee, GA. The R Model does not mean that the car is not street legal. But it is the stripped down race version. Ron used to do some SCCA racing back in the late 80s. He moved over to motorcycle racing in the 90s… and then got caught up in drifting in the 2000s-present. He’s been itching to get back into some road course events, and this 818R fills that purpose. But living up in the windy/lonely roads of the North Georgia Mountains, this is also without a doubt – a street car.
This 818R used a 2004 WRX for its donor car, but has been engine-swapped to the Version-8 EJ 207… the 2.0-liter with forged internals from the Japanese STI.
…As well as STI brakes.
It’s a bad boy. The Version-8 revs to 8,200rpm, but falls off peak-power a bit before redline with the stock turbo, so a Borg Warner EFR 7163 + supporting mods are in the works. Check the spec-list to see what makes up this 818R.
When you think about it, this is the essence of Tuner DNA: attainable cost, sweat-equity, killer performance, radical noises, total customization… and a serious head-turner.
Power output is 305 to the ground @20psi on pump gas and rev limit is 8200 for V8 EJ207. The car is a blast to drive… very well mannered on the street and a dream on the track. Excellent feedback and easy to drive fast, very confidence-inspiring with lots of grip and capable of 1.6Gs with slicks. Wet weight is 1960lbs.
Full photo set below.
2014 Factory Five 818R
2004 USDM WRX donor car, JDM V8 EJ207 engine, Factory Five carbon fiber dash, front splitter, canards and rear defuser, APR wing, Kirkey seats, Sparco belts, Safecraft fire suppression, Momo steering wheel, GX2 Race Pack, Always on back up camera, Sparco Assetto Gara Wheels, Nitto NT01 tires, STI brakes, Wilwood pedal box, Boyd fuel cell, Areomotive 340 stealth fuel pump, Aeromotive FPR, Air-to-water heat exchanger, Killer B oil pan, windage tray, pick up and oil control valve, 5-speed trans, ACT clutch. WRX power steering
In The Works
Borg Warner EFR 7163 twin scroll turbo
Moore Performance rotated twin scroll adapter for V8 EJ207 header and up-pipe
ID 1300cc injectors
Radium surge tank with Walbro 450
Element Tuning dry sump system
2005 STI 6-speed transmission
Exedy twin-disc carbon clutch
Driveshaft Shop axles
Projected power output is 450 to 500 whp on VP C85 race gas