July 1, 2008

Each week we'll update our Web visitors on our progress right here with photos, video, and diary entries. Check back weekly as we share our progress, tips, anecdotes, and more while we assemble our Factory Five Racing roadster right before your eyes. And don't forget to get the full story in an upcoming issue of Mustang & Fords.



March 11, 2007
Total Build Time: 388 hours

As mentioned in our last entry the Roadster has finally gotten to the point where we can drive it. With about five laps around the block on its odometer I've maybe put a half-mile on it so far. I really want to put several more miles of road testing on it before buttoning up everything and shipping the project off for paint, so I'm going to start taking it for a lap or two each night after work and make sure the engine gets up to temp, the cooling fan comes on, all lights work, and so forth.

Being out of town last weekend didn't help our lateness in getting the project off to paint either, but I'm just getting into the travel season for the magazine (events, shows, races, etc.) which is why I wanted the project off for paint by now. I was gone this past Friday and Saturday as well, leaving me only Sunday to work on the car. As I also mentioned in my last entry I had a small brake line leak in the rear. My replacement braided brake hose arrived during the week and today I installed the new hose with new pre-flared hard line on the axle housing. I'm happy to say I'm rid of the leak and now I just need to bleed the brakes a few more times to get all of the air out. The remote reservoir system I installed works great too!

With the leak fixed I'm clear to permanently install the trunk floor and finish off the interior aluminum. I installed the Dark Water Customs (www.darkwatercustoms.com) trunk storage boxes for good with rivets and silicone and the lower trunk floor as well before I ran out of daylight. Hopefully next weekend I can finish the remaining aluminum and put a few more laps on the car, then it will be off to paint! I also received our trick column mounted turn signal kit from Russ Thompson's Russ's Garage (www.norcal-cobras.com/store/russ_garage/russ_garage.htm). Russ's kit uses a VW switch like the early Cobra, but he modifies it to work with the Factory Five steering wheel hub (you have to provide your hub to him) and he also converts the bent turn signal arm to a straight arm to keep the steering wheel closer to the dash--all in all a quality piece. I hope to install the turn signal setup next weekend as well.

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March 18, 2007
Total Build Time: 391 hours

I thought I had all of our wiring handled, but with the decision to use column mounted turn signals I had to break out my wiring tools once again and wire up the Russ Thompson turn signal kit I mentioned last week. The wiring is really not that bad and Russ provides several wiring diagrams so whether I was using a stock Mustang harness or something aftermarket, I was covered. The switch itself requires three mounting holes to be drilled in the dash bearing support to mount the switch tube. This of course means I had to open the steering column hole in the dash a bit as well. I picked up the dash trim bezel from Mike's Replica Parts (www.replicaparts.com) to finish off the dash.

One last wiring chore I almost forgot was mounting the inertia switch for the Mass-Flo EFI system. During the engine testing and wiring phase I simply had it wedged up in the dash harness, but it needs to be secured to a solid portion of the body for the inertia switch to open upon impact against the car and shut the fuel pump off. I found this little out of the way spot worked nicely without having to extend the wiring and it can be reached from behind the corner of the dash if it needs to be reset.

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March 25, 2007
Total Build Time: 395 hours

Knowing the time to transport the Roadster was coming up fast I wanted to finish all of the remaining aluminum this weekend. Unfortunately, with a 14 year old son, you often end up at the mercy of their schedule (when it should be the other way around). So after a trip to Best Buy and then dropping him off at the skate park I didn't even get to start on the Roadster until about 2:30 in the afternoon. Way too late to pull the body off and finish riveting the driver's side foot box aluminum. I did get the remaining panels in the passenger compartment done (rear bulkhead, corners, and trans tunnel top), which I did with the body on I might add.

One thing I noticed when sealing up the panel gaps was the large gap around the roll bar stubs in the trunk. While the smaller gaps can easily be sealed with silicone caulk (note the seat belt tab next to the roll bar stub) the roll bar stub opening in the trunk floor was simply too wide. I had some left over DEI Reflect-A-Cool (www.designengineering.com) from wrapping the foot boxes and I cut a square patch from the leftovers, which I then cut a small circle into with relief cuts around the perimeter. Carefully sliding the patch down over the roll bar stub while slightly rotating it, allowed the patch to slide all the way down and meet up with the trunk floor. Now I have a good seal against the roll bar stub, even before the trunk gets carpeted.

While it's too soon to mount it, I did test out various mounting choices for our H3R Performance HalGuard fire extinguisher. Using H3R's custom billet mounting bracket and quick release mounting base not only will add some bling to the cockpit, but allow for quick removal of our HalGuard unit in the case of emergency. Other locations I am considering include hanging it from under the dash, between the seats, and the top of the transmission tunnel at the rear. Once the interior gets carpeted and seats installed I'll have a better idea of where the unit will fit. I just need to pull the body one more time to wrap up the foot box aluminum and the Roadster can be shipped.

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