Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
July 16, 2006

It was a chilly 26 degrees when we got off the plane in Flint, Michigan, as we prepared for the three-day build school that Factory Five sponsors at Mott Technical School in nearby Howell. The weather was a stark contrast to what we left behind in Tampa a few hours before, but nothing we haven't dealt with before in our travels.

Honestly, the cold didn't even represent a problem since we were so jazzed at the thought of getting elbow deep in building a Factory Five Racing Roadster with 11 other like-minded individuals. The Flint airport was a nice change compared to flying into Detroit (and closer to Howell as well). A quick stop at the rental-car counter to pick up a Taurus and we were on our way.

Factory Five's build school is, in our opinion, the perfect way to determine whether building one of its Roadsters in your garage or home shop is right for you. It's not every day someone is willing to pull the trigger on a $13,000 purchase of a pile of parts that will someday become a running and driving car. Sure, the school itself is an expense, but wouldn't you rather spend $700 for the school to determine if a Cobra replica like this is something you really want and will enjoy-or will even fit in? Factory Five will give you $500 off the purchase of your kit when you attend the build school. That means your three-day build school would cost you only $200 out of pocket in the end. Besides, you'd learn so much (as we did) and meet such great people, we can't see why you wouldn't do it if you were at all interested in the Factory Five replica.

Tonight's Special Guest Is...
It was quite a surprise when shortly after class began Friday morning, FFR's Mark Dougherty walked into the classroom to sit in for the weekend. Mark (one of several "Marks" at FFR, so you have to make sure and ask for the right one) has been instrumental in helping Primedia with various projects, most recently the Quakerstate/UTI build challenge with our big sister Hot Rod magazine. Mark also helped us get the ball rolling at FFR when we decided to move forward on our project, and walked us through all of the options. He is hands-down a great guy to deal with, as is everyone at FFR, and we thoroughly enjoyed his company during the build school, where he was able to give everyone answers regarding FFR's latest product changes and optional parts. Mark has owned several Roadsters and is currently building one of FFR's Coupes.

Speaking of meeting people, the attendees of the weekend session were from all over the map. With students as close as Detroit and from as far as Hawaii, and with such diverse backgrounds (from contractors to engineers and even retirees), we quickly made friends and had plenty to talk about between class sessions at dinner each night. By the end of the weekend, we had all traded e-mail address and phone numbers and became "build buddies"- asking each other questions via e-mail or a phone call while we build our Roadsters. These are friendships that will last, and we hope to see many of our build buddies at shows next year and see their finished projects.

Be sure to check out more photos and video from our build-school experience online, and don't forget to read our weekly updates with our online build diary.