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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

Checking in to the forum here before the open house so that I can touch base with as many of my old friends as I can on saturday. Let me know if you are coming and grab me as I walk around...I am actually going to try twitter today...bold new world:)

As a select few of you know if you have bumped into me at ffr over the last years I have had the luxury of having a big building all to myself down the street from the ffr factory and have been enjoying a terrific ole time for a motorhead. My job/life has been to make and design some machines that i have always wanted in the hopes that it may be a new business(but as you will see that is not reeally true...fun counts for a lot still....

I did a 33 foot fast fishing boat from drawings to tooling, repowered my 50' scarab with 2 750hp biodiesel seatek diesels with twin surface drives(I will try to get a picture of the rooster tail for you guys...tooooo fun), Built a stewart 51 3/4scale all metal p-51 mustang, designed a fabulous harley drag bike chopper kit(more on this later), helped a really smart guy named jay rogers start local-motors.com next door to ffr(way more on this at www.local-motors.com).

I have been driving a biodiesel powered 2002 vw jetta wagon with injectors and a chip to 140hp and am drawing a mid engine chassis and body for this drivetrain....you can see the biodiesel theme here i hope....I am so done with foreign oil...I kinda snapped and am going biodiesel on all my high use vehicles...toys like cobras and gtms don't count...they just don't use that much fuel when you add it all up...but 300 gallons at a time in the scarab..or 30 gallons a week in my navigator..that just felt wrong....the biodiesel is amazing....I don't mind 70 gallons an hour at 60mph in the scarab when what i am burning used to be french fry oil...)

As I go to move all this learning and designing into the next stage as a business I would like your input and feedback. I usually do the mad scientist thing as a habit so this is pretty new for me....so you must cut me some slack...so here goes if you are interested.....

1)33 foot boat with single 400 hp diesel and a surface drive...launch in the fall with my boat building partner or wait for better timing?

2)drag bike 130hp vtwin drag style chopper..should I launch it in the fall or wait for better timing?

3)diesel/biodiesel vw mid engine kit car(i call it the mini me 60 miles per gallon and a rippin 300 lbs feet of torque)


Obviously I do not have the pics posted yet but I will get them to you here on this forum or twitter so you can give me some feedback, but in the meantime I just want to thank the ffr community for all the help along the way.

Being a member of this group is a rare privilege and it is not lost on Dave Smith or me how blessed we all are to be able to fuss around with toys and meet great friends doing it. See you soon.

Mark Smith
 

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Mark mark mark....

Pictures pictures pictures!!!

I want to see the Scarab!!!!!

And would like to hear more on you bio diesel vehicles!
 

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Hey Mark great to see that you are still having fun. :wave:

Not a boat guy myself but a comment on the VW based kit car. If it's designed with everyday use in mind it could well be a successful volume seller, if it's more of a weekend car due to practicality (or rather impracticality) then the volume will be low if not very low. I for one could use a 60 mpg fun but practical commuter car. :yes:
 

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Hey, good to see you checking in -- some of us just assumed you had drifted out to sea in the boat project years ago!

Kudos on the biodiesel thing! I've been doing it myself for over two years, including a two-tank WVO conversion on a '98 Benz E300 turbodiesel. I run B100 in the main tank and pure waste oil in the spare tank. It's a ton of fun. I have also built a modified appleseed reactor and brew my own B100 in the garage. I'm averaging about $.82/gallon right now.

I don't know or care much for boating, but it's WAY PAST TIME that someone built a mid-engine chassis for a FWD drivetrain. Using a Jetta donor is easy and cheap -- crashed TDIs are everywhere, and as you've learned, it's easy to get surprising torque out of them. Let's hear more about that one... I would be very interested.

Cheers, John
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Put a couple of scarab and chopper pics on twitter but will try putting them here tonight if I can.

Love the home brew biodiesel...guy in rhode island does the work for me so garage space continues to be for cool cars...

mark
 

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In my experience, and in talking to my customers who own large businesses, sometimes the best time to start out is when the economy is a bit slow.

This may sound counterintuitive, but they tell me that is the best time to start to build the contacts and business partners and get your products out in public view. Once the economy gets back into full swing you will already be familiar to people who then have the money to spend and they will come looking.
Start small, ramp up as the economy (and orders) start pouring in. Then, continue on as Factory Five has always done- take care of your customers and sell high quality items for a fair price and everything else will fall into place.

If you have done your market research, you would have a better idea than most of us which of the products you listed will have a ready market (or not).

The 33 foot boat and the VTwin dragster bike seem like good-time toys, which don't really seem to be selling right now in large quantities- unless the price is right.

The mid engine kit car sounds like the best idea of all. I think it would appeal to a lot of the younger crowd out there today that was brought up on foreign cars and want something a little bit different than their dad's old time muscle car. These kids also seem to know how to get the most out of these engines/drivetrains- performance wise.

Of course, we need pictures before making any final recommendations. I'm sure you know already this forum isn't shy about giving you advice on how to run your business....;)

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
twitter username is smyth_ffr_lm :)

You know you have been away too long when your ffcars name and email are long gone..had to re register... way too long away from here.
 

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Mark, can't help with the questions, but the S-51 makes me a bit envious!

Pic please!!
 

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Especially the Scarab. I always wanted a 22 Scarab, and may just get one.
 

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Mark,

I would be very interested in a VW based mid-engine RWD kit car for my next build. I started a post about this a few years ago in the OT section.... I think something that handles like a Lotus Elise/Exige, has a targa top or practical soft-top and decent windows would sell like hot-cakes. I also like the single donor car concept and a relatively inexpensive kit. A poor man's GTM that gets great MPG and is a blast to drive.

-Jon A.
 

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Exciting Projects

I hope to see ALL of these on my next visit to Wareham. I saw the Local Motors name pop up in my alerts, so I wanted to stop by and comment. Hope you don't mind me crashing the ffcars party :)

I am inspired that you've taken the time and focused your efforts on turning your max fuel usage vehicles into biodiesel.

I think Bob has a really good point. Ideally you can launch these vehicles on a minimal budget/pr driven strategy (kudos on joining Twitter!). The VW project has legs and market potential NOW, but I can't speak to the others. I do know that you can build demand even when people aren't buying, so my suggestion is share, share, share. Spread the word - we will help.

p.s. Now I know why you smell like a french fry.

p.p.s. Just kidding. :)

Ari

[email protected]
Twitter: @LM_Ari
 

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Hi Mark, You really do exist. I was begining to wonder if you were just a CGI creation of Dave's for the promotional DVDs.

I'm not realy into the boat sceen, but I do love the idea of the small, mid engine car from a FWD donor. I would love to see some drawings of what you're thinking about. The Bio-Diesel part is a neat addition too.

jj
 

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Discussion Starter #15
first pic

 

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I would order and build a comfortable, quiet, fuel-efficient commuter, that holds two people, in a heartbeat.

Must be comfortable and quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
50' scarab...promise thats it for the boat talk:)..bike to follow

 

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Discussion Starter #20
ha...i will try again in a few hours:) back to the racks..or is that back to the rack..
 
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