Our Factory Five Roadster's...
Our Factory Five Roadster's front suspension uses all new parts from several sources, but what's great about the FFR design is that you can easily use parts from a donor Mustang, optional parts from Factory Five's catalog, or any number of aftermarket sources (as we did). No matter what your budget may be, you can build your own replica any number of ways. Spend big bucks on an engine and go donor with the suspension, or put a simple carbureted small-block in it and go gangbusters with the suspension. Have it your way, as Burger King says.
Things are moving along nicely with our build, even if we are juggling many subsections at once so they'll (hopefully) fall into place as we need them. Besides the many hours spent drilling rivet holes--compounded by documenting our work with digital cameras, written notes, online diaries, and so on--we've been on the phone getting our drivetrain and brake systems figured out. As we write this, our Technical Editor, Wayne Cook, is in California following the engine build, the brake parts are in boxes at the office, and the rearend is being built in Michigan. We've got parts coming from all over.
In our second installment, we went to Michigan for the Factory Five build school with our project barely two weeks old. As soon as we returned, we got started on many of the early build steps, including drilling rivet holes, mocking up parts, and assembling the suspension. While the aluminum panels and frame have been drilled, we'll hold off on the installation of the panels as long as we can to give us access to the frame for fuel and brake-line routing, drivetrain installation, and more.
We'll go over the aluminum panel fitting and drilling steps next month, and possibly start on the brakes or install the rearend, depending upon what we've got here on the shelf ready to go on the frame at that time. Stay tuned for that, but for now check out our suspension installation, including Factory Five's 3-Link rear suspension and tubular control arm upgrades.
The Factory Five Racing (FFR)...
The Factory Five Racing (FFR) frame uses the stock '87-'04 Mustang control arm as its lower arm (the upper arm is included with the kit). Because we wanted to run wider 9-inch front wheels, FFR suggested its tubular lower control arms as an option. They come complete with mounting bolts, the ball joint installed, and are powdercoated as well.
On the Hunt for the Perfect Parts
While the Factory Five Roadster frame is designed to use late-model Mustang donor parts (brakes, suspension, drivetrain, and so on), let's face it, these cars are going on 20-plus years old. We're talking worn bushings, tired springs, and damaged parts from accidents. You might still find a good donor car at a decent price, but more than likely you'll want to choose your donor items individually.
We're using a few donor parts from various years--spindles from a '95 Mustang, a fuel filler neck from a '92 Mustang, and so forth. Buying these parts individually isn't difficult. You can work with a local pick-a-part type salvage yard or you can go right to one of the Mustang-only salvage yards like All Mustang Salvage [www.ampperformance.com; (602) 437-0720] in rust-free Arizona, where we found many of our items.
The rear mounting bolts require...
The rear mounting bolts require a small amount of material removal or a washer to space the bolt away from the frame. We felt it was worth the labor to trim the bolts properly for the right fit.
All Mustang has built several of its own FFR Roadsters, and has sold individual parts and pallets (everything needed to build a Roadster, minus the body) to hundreds of FFR customers. Of course, if your budget allows, there are plenty of Mustang aftermarket products to choose from, including performance brakes, control arms (front and rear), wiring, gauges, transmissions, engines, and more.
Many of our classic-parts advertisers like Texas Mustang, Stainless Steel Brakes, and Mustangs Plus also carry late-model Mustang parts. So if you're considering building an FFR Roadster, you can still purchase many of the items you need from your favorite classic vendors you've come to trust for your other Ford projects.