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With Sidepipes, No One Can Hear You Scream.

I'd driven at 80 MPH many many times before, but never in a small, crowded parking lot.  Around a right angle turn. In an opposite lock powerslide.  

I'm riding shotgun in a Factory Five Mark IV roadster in Wareham, MA, and Dave Smith the President of Factory Five is at the wheel.  He's driving with one hand and speaking to me as casually as a Sunday stroll through the park.  I am trying to look cool and not hurl all at the same time - but it isn't easy.

Photo Courtesy of Factory Five Racing Inc - Used Without Permission

We'd read about Factory Five for years,  and how their Mark IV roadsters and world-class business practices had revolutionized the formerly shady (to say the least) kit car industry.  One spring morning we finally decided to browse the showroom and grab some sales literature.  As we eyeballed the Factory Five cars (Mark IV roadster, Type 65 Daytona coupe,  1933 Hot Rod and their newest LS1/LS2 powered, Corvette suspended GTM Supercars)  Dave Smith came out to greet us.  And what a truly excellent guy he turned out to be.  Gracious, smart, passionate - totally tuned in to the soul of an enthusiast.

For over an hour he gave us a personal tour of the spotlessly clean Factory Five manufacturing and warehouse facility (that looked capable of passing any modern ISO certification). The tour concluded in the shipping dock, where Factory Five engineering leader Dave Riha's Mark IV roadster was parked.  Equipped with a 32 valve twin cam 4.6 Ford V8,  TKO 5 speed and the racing spec 3 link rear suspension - the car looked simply spectacular.  

Dave motioned me to jump in, and I buckled into the Simpson 5 point racing harness.  The 320 horsepower Ford barked to life and Dave lit out of the building with the tires ablaze.  I was probably screaming, but with the sidepipes blatting away just inches from my ears, I can't be certain.  For almost ten minutes, he subjected me to more lateral, accelerative and braking G forces than I'd ever experienced before.  At the end of the ride, I was broken - but positively exhilarated.

What the Factory Five team has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous.  They have built a successful company, reknowned for excellent customer service, an empowered, passionate staff and they have developed a product that is without compromise.  

For several years, my wife has been hinting that she might like a Mazda Miata as her  Sunday driver.  I'm going to start a grass roots campaign to convince her that what she REALLY needs is a Factory Five Mark IV.  Wish me luck friends - and stay tuned!  

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