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Senior Charter Member
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Joined the forum 20 years ago today, and figured I'd share a few thoughts... :)

Some of the observations and thoughts I've had around my experience...

The kit is like an artist's palette - you do what YOU think is right
You learn something in every step you take - nothing will stop you if you just think, ask questions, and try again
You're going to break a few things, so don't sweat it - junkyards and classifieds are your friend
Good friend/family/forum relationships and support are key - don't worry, you weren't REALLY going to use that garage space anyway
The kit is a tool-buyer's dream - you "need" so many tools you never thought possible
There is no end to the options - adding, removing, changing is natural
Unless you've done it before, your schedule is wrong - don't freak out when someone completes their car in 6 months, it took me ten years
Perfect is not possible - every builder has something they wish they'd done differently, so just go with it, it's only a car
You can always update it later - in the ten years I've been driving it, I've frequently said "maybe this weekend I ought to..." then go off on another tangent - SQUIRREL
Your goal is your goal - don't think you need to meet or exceed someone else's efforts, this is YOUR creation
It's all about the journey - I built to learn, and it paid off
You never finish, but when it's done, it's good - once it's on the road, it's a unique way to go
Driving it is ALWAYS fun - for you, your passenger, and the people near you
Enjoy it - it's a life experience few people can have

Some funny stories over the last 20 years...

I drove the second completed FFR (the red car) in 1995, when Dave and his brother were on Elm Street in South Dartmouth (pre-Wareham). The car had a For Sale sign on it; I was driving to my Best Man's wedding, and there was a Cobra for sale... Stopped in, talked to Dave, got the keys, and off I went. INCREDIBLE. Took me 7 years to buy a kit.
Bought the kit (barely started by someone else) when my youngest daughter was 2 weeks old, picked it up in Martha's Vineyard via car ferry... Developed leaking fuel pump in my Explorer while on island, needed to have someone replace it immediately (part was flown in via Cape Air mid-day, had it repaired before I left with a car trailer FULL of stuff) that evening - this was Friday of Columbus Day weekend (YIKES)...
I woke up regularly at night worrying that my semi-legit paperwork (lots of used parts) was going to crush my registration process. And I mean regularly. Finally, after many trips to the registry, registered mails to different people, etc., I get to the Mass State Inspection station with the completed car on a trailer, a folder full of receipts. I'm literally installing the wipers while I'm waiting. First thing the officer says to me is - "Sorry, this can't be done, you only have an MSO"... I took a REALLY deep breath, explained to him because it was a kit, there was no title yet, only an MSO, and he'd be assigning the actual title. He just stared at me, then walked off to his office. Literally a half hour later, he comes out, sticks the blue sticker VIN number on the door pillar, and hands me the folder. YAY!
Mass legislature passed a law halfway through my build that required emissions that matched engine year of kit - totally threw me off course. Thanks to many people on this forum (my recollection is OldGuy668 was the MAN), Mass revised the law to allow people who finished before April 30th, 2012. I had my car through it's final state inspection ON THE AFTERNOON OF SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2012. If there was anyone in MA that sneaked in before the deadline, but after me, there weren't very many...

GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU - ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE!!!
 

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great to hear some perspective from one of the OGs!
titling and inspection had me worried as well since I acquired a 65' 289 and T5z from a buddy with nothing more than a bill of sale written on a piece of paper.
turns out that I found a loophole in my state's system and got it titled with no inspection.
my kit delivery day was the day after MLK day in the middle of a snow storm. I live off of a reasonably busy 2 lane road and the Stewart truck blocked one lane for at least 30-45min. I was so stressed trying to hustle boxes into my driveway that in retrospect, I never formally thanked the truck driver for his services. Something that I do regret to this day.
my build helped me through the early pandemic where I was off work for 6 weeks during the quarantine and probably was a good mental health break from worrying about finances, health, family, etc.
 

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Nice write up. My MK IV purchased Sept. 2011 took me 6 years to complete, and after that another 3 years for paint...after a failed attempt to have it done at one place that kept it for 11/2 years without touching it.

My favorite part of the build was working out every little detail...do it this way or that? What happens if I put this here? Is this a safe place to run a wire...the list is endless. And yes, stuff will break...windshield anyone?

And finally, no matter how long it takes you, it's never done. There's always room for improvement. This forum has been a great resource, and the vendors on here are awesome. Big shout out to Forte's and Breeze...there are many others...Cheers..
 

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Excellent post. I've also been here 20 years. I got the kit (5262) in June of '04 and was on the road about Thanksgiving of '07. I have enjoyed every minute of it. As an addition to the "You are going to break things" point always, always, always, be pleased with what you've done. If it doesn't seem right it probably isn't. Never hesitate to take it apart and do it again. There is nothing worse than driving one of these things wondering "did I get that bolt right?'
 

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@wickershaw...totally agree...nothing wrong with doing it over 'till it's right. Many hours and $$ spent on building your dream...don't settle for "good enough".
It took me over a year to get this thing handling right...turned out I had too fast of a steering rack...changed it to a slower ratio, as well as replacing 10 year old tires, with only 2K miles on them...what a difference..don't skimp the safety details...
 

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Only 19 years for me but many of the same observations and stories here too. Like driving home the first donner I was going to use from Knoxville, TN back to Columbus, OH with a bad clutch, and later found out, bad voltage regulator. Turned a 6 hour drive into a 9 hour life lesson!

I was on my own schedule too, young kids in sports, no heat in the garage(At first. Added that to my tool purchasing excuses). It took me 8 years from delivery to registration. There were a few stages that just overwhelmed, or intimidated me. Wiring, was a big stumbling point. There were just so many circuits and I could not test them as I completed each one until I had the whole harness in. When I turned the key for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. Smoke? Fire? Some how by the grace of God I had no smoke and everything worked! Now I need to finish it. I still have yet to paint it. I have had too much fun driving it to tare it apart to make some of the changes I want to do, power steering and brakes.

Everything on my car has been built, dismantled, and then rebuilt at least 2 times. I would recommend Build School if you want to limit this part of the process. I didn't and had to teach myself a lot of the lessons I could have learned there.

The fun part is the journey. It will frustrate the hell out of you one moment and then make you proud of your triumphs the next. Once on the road, a bad day stands no chance when cruise down the road and get a thumps up from a total stranger complimenting your creation.
 

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Helped my old man build FFR 2662 in high school. He sold it in 2009 to build a 33 hot rod. Last year he passed away suddenly. I found the car and got it back last weekend. These cars represent the best of times. Opportunities to learn and bond over successes and failures. My brother drove it on his wedding day and I took it to my senior picnic in high school. Happy beyond words to have it back.
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FFCobra Fanatic
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My dad met Chris Richards at the Rhinebeck show and came home all excited with all the info on Factory Fives. I had seen the ads in Muscle Mustangs magazine for years but never gave it much thought. My dad was so excited so we ordered the assembly manual and planned a trip to Kendrick Rd. I secretly brought $1000 and surprised my dad when I said lets order a kit. Took delivery on my sisters birthday on June 17 of 2000. Completed and registered the car in October. Lots of memories along the way and still making more! Thanks to FFR for making it all possible. I am on my 5th kit as we speak and will always have FFR 2166 in the garage!
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2007 Calendar Cover Car
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2,825 Posts
Good stuff, great stories and memories. I’m coming up on 20 years on the forum in December. My MKII was delivered in 2003, was initially a donor build, EFI, highback seats, then supercharger via @5.8Cobra, now 331 with dual Holleys and traditional seats. I think I’ve swapped out everything at least once, except the transmission and driveshaft!

Crazy how time flies.
 

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It’s crazy how time flies.
I am also one of the OG’s. I’ve spent countless hours drooling over other builds and my own. I’ve had some great experiences along the way and loved every minute of it.
The one thing that is sad for me is some of the original members are no longer with us.
I can remember talking with them and getting help during my builds.
I currently own the last one I built and could never part with it. These cars were a project my father and I did together. He is no longer with us either.
I’d love to be able to spend more time driving than reading but you know life has a way of getting in the way.
I’m still giddy like a kid at Christmas every time I walk in my garage and see mine sitting there. Ahhh so many memories.
 

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It will soon be 16 years since I ordered my MK3, what a wild adventure it has been!

I had bought an ‘87 Mustang as a parts car for my ‘83 but didn’t end up using anything. I was looking for a Model A body to build a hotrod and somehow discovered Factory Five.
A few months later my dad and I borrowed a truck and trailer and drove from Niagara to Massachusetts on a snow storm to pickup FFR5886.
Not quite two months after that I was driving to my first cruise night.

Some of the more memorable experiences include winning a trophy at a corvette show, getting soaked on my wedding day, and being the most photographed car at my first track day.
 

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Middle aged member here. Building the MK4 was a huge step in my auto education. I had always been a pretty decent DIY car guy, but the FFR really puts it all together. I learned a lot about electrical and suspension alignment along with a bunch of other stuff. I haven't put a lot of miles on my car in 10 years, but it is very special to me.
 

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Had my MK1 since 2003. 3 paint jobs later (paint wears out), 3 engines later (engines blow up - currently have a Dart 454 Windsor Stroker), three transmissions later (torque destroys transmissions -not horsepower), two rear ends later (I wanted lower gears anyway). It’s a keeper. Still gives me thrills. I’ll get tired of it and park it for a month or two and then it blows me away again. Fun car.
 

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16 years on the road so far here. It never gets old. Open House this year was fun also, as always. I still catch myself walking by it in the garage still just in awe that it is really there, and I built it. The rides never get old either. Only sad part here in the Northeast is late fall and cutting back on our riding season. (a bit)
 

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1st RFM/FFR Legacy Winner
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28,657 Posts
It was only 18 years ago today when my MKIII arrived. I'd ordered a MKII but they ran out so FFR ask if I would take a MKIII. Sure, why not? The build took 2.7 years and it was fun as heck. Flash forward 18 years and here we are. A great looking, fun, fast, crowd pleasing, reliable car to enjoy. What more can one ask for? As far as reliability, in 16 years on the road, the only two things that have failed me are the MSD6AL box lasted only 15 years, and the clock set-stem no longer moves the hands on the Autometer classic gauge clock. I have changed the dizzy, the carb and rear end gear, added ABS, my choices, to gain some improvements over my initial setup. 30,000 miles later, we are still best friends and she's just as hot as ever.

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Hood

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