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Discussion Starter #1
I have wanted for a long time to build a Cobra or Stratos replica. The Cobra of course uses much of the mechanicals of an old Mustang and the Stratos uses an Alfa V6 engine. (Hawk seems to be out of business but Lister Bell has the Stratos). Funds were always just out of reach.

Well cruising across the internet with my son who wants his first car soon, we stumbled across the Factory Five website with Cobras. I started to prefer the Type 65 Coupe but then found the 818. Much more Euro sports car looking. Seems to like like some sort of Porsche from the front and some sort of Lotus from the back. Frame designed with Solid Works and mechanicals out of a Subaru Impreza. Street kit starts at 9,990 and Coupe at 12,990.

I'm sure many here would prefer to spend their money on their Alfa and so would I. My son wants his own car and though he does love my cars, they aren't his first choice. My thinking is his first car be a Subaru and a few years later we take it apart and build this.

Does anyone have any experience with these kind of builds? I certainly don't want to get into a money pit. I've seen some videos on youtube about the builds, but they seem to be professionals with all the parts ready and they just bolt things together. I'm sure the average experience will be different.

818s.jpg CAM10101B.jpg
 

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Calling the price $12,990 seems a bit optimistic. Scanning the 818 configuration list on the Factory Five website indicates that some pretty basic components are excluded from that price (oh, you wanted pedals?). This doesn't look like the VW-based kits from the 70's where everything but the body came from a cheap donor car. Of course, the resulting product is a lot more sophisticated too.

Building a car (as opposed to restoring one) can be expensive since you need to buy every blessed component individually. Each CV joint, brake caliper, wheel, etc. has to be sourced. This adds up.

I would quiz Factory Five pretty hard about what it takes to register an 818 in California for street use. And make sure your insurance company will cover it. I'm sure others are driving them here, but it would be interesting to see what hoops they needed to jump through (Montana plates perhaps?).

On the other hand, the opportunity to do a father-son project is priceless. The hot rod in my avatar was one of those, and I really got a lot out of the experience.
 

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It is a fun, challenging, and often frustrating build. Expect to drop around $30k on it depending on your skill. I have insurance with Hagerty as my 3 Alfa's are also insured with them. There are a number of them in Ca., so there must be a way to do it. Donor vehicle is the worst part in my opinion. I spent extra to get all the parts needed on a pallet. I also had the engine and tranny rebuilt before starting. Costs more, but why build a car using an engine with, most likely high miles and unknown abuse. I would not call an 818 a daily driver, but it sure is fun! I have lots of pictures and can offer more, just message me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, I didn't expect someone on this forum had built one. I expected a lot of oppinions for and against which would be both fun and helpful.

I have thought about the registration and insurance. I was planning on asking FF that question. I think CA has a specialty or special built car registration provision. It may also be smog exempt due to the low volumn of cars. Or it may be that they establish the smog levels based on the donor car.

I do expect it to end up higher than the base price by several thou. Tom, did you take everything from the Subaru that their base model list suggests? You said you got extra parts from them. Are the Subaru parts not as usable as they say? I have also thought rebuilding the engine is the best thing to too, as all the 2002-2007 Subarus on Craigslist in my area have 200+K miles on them.

I would love to know more and see some pictues. Do the panels come unpainted? Did you truck them over to a paint shop for a quick spray, or did they have to do a lot of prep first?

Thanks,
 

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Way too much for me to write about, but would be happy to talk about it. I would suggest you check out the ffr 818 forum,

It is way more informative than contacting ffr. I'm sure you can find a built one you can check out in person.

I will say it is probably not the best choice for a new driver. It's pretty much a street legal race car. I'm putting down close to 300whp in a 2000 pound car. Do the math!

Car comes gel coat red, there are some nasty seams on the front fenders which I will eventually clean up. Unpainted it is a decent 10 footer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the link. I have registered for an account. Seems like quite a lot of info there.

For registration I gather that CA SB100 rules allow a kit car based on the model year the kit is based on. Most seem to just say it's based on a 1965 car. No smog. That's nice. There are some fees, and sales tax on the purchased items, or the value of the car; not clear on what people are saying about that. Some paid tax on the donor car too, and others said they should not as the tax had already been paid on the donor car. I wonder if you bought the donor car, but never registered the sale with the DMV, since you junk the body when stripped of parts.

One guy has estimated he spent $20K total. I guess it depends on how much you have to buy vs how much you get from the donor. It seems there are performance parts for Subarus that lots of people enjoy as well, which will add $$. Even stuff like seats - the kit says the Subaru seats will fit, but most pics and videos I see have some aftermarket seats. Stuff like that would add to the price, so I'm curious if someone were not to use any non-Subaru donor parts at all. In other words, what would the minimum possible cost be. I would not budget a project on the minimum though, don't get me wrong.

One guy said he ordered all the stock suspension from Rock Auto to have new parts. Not aftermarket upgrades, but new stock parts.

Anyway, this is of course several years away and anything can change by then.
 

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Do your research. There are lots of ways to approach this. The most straightforward way is to stick to the original design, but that hasn't stopped some from engineering other engines etc. I spent extra on getting a pallet of parts already removed from the donor. Plus I went with a custom wiring harness, shifter, seats. Not to mention again the engine rebuild. That's where the $$ add up. Yes, you can do it for 20k, but I was in the position to spend a bit more for a quicker, slightly easier, and enjoyable project. You get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do plan to ask a lot of questions on the forum. I've read some of the individual build threads. There is certainly a lot of variation to what people do with choosing what parts they use.

Thanks,
 
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