Flight Service PowerDork
April 4, 2013 9:58 a.m.

FFR 818 - Body by GRM. Imprezza base, so NA or Turbo available, mid engine

VS.

Smyth Performance - built by FFR co-founder Mark Smith. VW Jetta/Golf base which includes VR6, 4 cylinder, and TDi. mid engine (Pic is pre-production prototype that has already had 10 sold. Final changes [a few scoops and such] are coming.)

What say you GRM?

tuna55 UberDork
April 4, 2013 10:18 a.m.

Based on looks lone (and that's really all I have to go on) I'll choose the Smyth, but the use of Facebook as a website and no real history as a company make buying a kit car like that a very scary thing.

fanfoy Reader
April 4, 2013 10:19 a.m.
tuna55 wrote: Based on looks lone (and that's really all I have to go on) I'll choose the Smyth, but the use of Facebook as a website and no real history as a company make buying a kit car like that a very scary thing.

+1

alex UltraDork
April 4, 2013 10:35 a.m.

Mark Smith co-founded FFR and only recently sold his shares and (amicably) split to do his own thing. His company may be new, but he's by no means green in the world of business or even specifically the kit car game. I've been following Smyth Performance on FB for a while now, and he has some great insights about business in general, not to mention interesting ideas about kit car builds.

He's also planning to release a kit to turn a Jetta/Golf donor into a mini-truck. Which is just ridiculously awesome.

I'm anxiously awaiting the results of some customer G3F builds. It looks really promising.

bravenrace PowerDork
April 4, 2013 10:40 a.m.

That Smyth car doesn't look finished. I'm not a huge fan of the 818, but I'd choose it over the Smyth for looks and it's powertrain.

Adrian_Thompson UltraDork
April 4, 2013 10:43 a.m.

For looks alone Smyth hands down, but until there's a few dozen happy customers with finished units and the company has established a decent rep, I'd have to say FF818.

Swank Force One MegaDork
April 4, 2013 10:44 a.m.

I think that particular picture of the Smyth looks berkeleying hideous and i'd choose the 818 any day over that.

But it also doesn't look finished. I'd have to reserve final vote until then.

I'd rather have a MR mounted VR6 than the Subie motors, though.

Ian F PowerDork
April 4, 2013 10:45 a.m.
tuna55 wrote: Based on looks lone (and that's really all I have to go on) I'll choose the Smyth, but the use of Facebook as a website and no real history as a company make buying a kit car like that a very scary thing.

Yes and no. I agree the Smyth looks much better. While Smyth doesn't have a company history, Mark Smith does as one of the founders of Factory Five and I don't think anyone can argue with their success.

He chose to post everything on FB for the simple reason it's easy and allows him to focus resources on developing the kit vs. maintaining a website. They sold out of the beta kits, so the system seems to be working fine for now. As the mid-engine kit starts to wrap up, he's working on a MkIV-based pick-up kit as well.

Personally, I had major reservations about the mid-engine kit when it was first proposed a few years ago, but he's proved me wrong and made it happen at the price he said he would. I'm really looking forward to finally seeing this car at Carlisle as well after 2 years of waiting.

April 4, 2013 10:48 a.m.

Whichever the blue car is in the top pic... I'll take that one. Probably because I can't see it real well in the pic.

The red one looks like a toyota product that got riced up with hood scoops.

JThw8 PowerDork
April 4, 2013 10:50 a.m.

Visually Smyth, donor choice FFR. Not a fan of watercooled VWs

Adrian_Thompson UltraDork
April 4, 2013 10:52 a.m.
Ian F wrote: Yes and no. I agree the Smyth looks much better. While Smyth doesn't have a company history, Mark Smith does as one of the founders of Factory Five and I don't think anyone can argue with their success.

The thing is non of us (I assume) kowo Mark Smith. He may be the best Engineer since Colin Chapman and the next Bill Gates when it comes to running a business. But being part of a succesful (kit) car company doesnt mean you can run another otherwise DeLorean or many others would still be here today

tuna55 UberDork
April 4, 2013 10:57 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
Ian F wrote: Yes and no. I agree the Smyth looks much better. While Smyth doesn't have a company history, Mark Smith does as one of the founders of Factory Five and I don't think anyone can argue with their success.
The thing is non of us (I assume) kowo Mark Smith. He may be the best Engineer since Colin Chapman and the next Bill Gates when it comes to running a business. But being part of a succesful (kit) car company doesnt mean you can run another otherwise DeLorean or many others would still be here today

Yes this. John Delorean is an excellent example. He was very smart, had awesome success, and built a pretty good car. He just completely missed the market.

Not saying any of that will happen, but kit cars manufacturers seem to pop up and close up overnight. When he has a real live website with customers actual cars that have actually shipped and actually been completed we'll see.

Frankly, not even the 818 has this, but the company making it has had longstanding success so they can be trusted a bit. Like pre-ordering new new i-thing, you can generally be assured it will be delivered and won't suck.

pinchvalve UltimaDork
April 4, 2013 11:11 a.m.

Looks: FFR
Performance: FFR
Fun Factor: FFR
AWD Turbo Goodness: FFR

SCARRMRCC Reader
April 4, 2013 11:18 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve:

FFR is not AWD....

bgkast Reader
April 4, 2013 11:19 a.m.

Option 3: Locost

fanfoy Reader
April 4, 2013 11:26 a.m.

Option 4: this.

It's lighter, has the option of bike or Ford power and I think it's better looking than all previous choices.

yamaha UltraDork
April 4, 2013 11:38 a.m.
Swank Force One wrote: I think that particular picture of the Smyth looks berkeleying hideous and i'd choose the 818 any day over that. But it also doesn't look finished. I'd have to reserve final vote until then. I'd rather have a MR mounted VR6 than the Subie motors, though.

If I needed a subie motor mid mounted I'd say berkeley FFR, and would then call Beck for a 550 spyder replica. Can't be too different in price.

jv8
jv8 New Reader
April 4, 2013 12:04 p.m.
yamaha wrote: If I needed a subie motor mid mounted I'd say berkeley FFR, and would then call Beck for a 550 spyder replica. Can't be too different in price.

A Beck 550 is much more expensive (starts at $37.5K according to their website). Of course that is complete with paint. Do they even sell a barebones kit?

It does have timeless looks.

Adrian_Thompson UltraDork
April 4, 2013 12:07 p.m.
jv8 wrote:
yamaha wrote: If I needed a subie motor mid mounted I'd say berkeley FFR, and would then call Beck for a 550 spyder replica. Can't be too different in price.

A Beck 550 is much more expensive (starts at $37.5K according to their website). Of course that is complete with paint. Do they even sell a barebones kit?

It does have timeless look.

And time gone by aero. For a track toy I'd rather have the FF

yamaha UltraDork
April 4, 2013 12:26 p.m.

Wait, how much does a FFR 818 fully dressed and ready to go cost? My friend already has more than $30k wrapped up in FFR options for his type 65 coupe he is building. He is actually considering a Beck 904 replica next.

Ian F PowerDork
April 4, 2013 12:36 p.m.
tuna55 wrote: Not saying any of that will happen, but kit cars manufacturers seem to pop up and close up overnight. When he has a real live website with customers actual cars that have actually shipped and actually been completed we'll see.

From what I've read, he knows and accepts this. For where he is right now, the FB presence seems to be adequate.

I also agree seeing customer-built cars will mean a lot. So far there are a few beta kits in customer hands and a couple of those have made it to "go-kart" stage and are waiting on Smith to finalize the body design.

I also write all of this with minimal insterest in building either kit. When I'm at the point of being able to build a kit car, whether the kit costs $10K or $20K or even $30K is irrelevant. I have zero interest in building a track car that conforms to no racing class and neither is interesting enough to be a fun occasional driver, which is what a car with no roof will be. So this is all just interenet bench-racing...

Bobzilla UltraDork
April 4, 2013 12:37 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: I think that particular picture of the Smyth looks berkeleying hideous and i'd choose the 818 any day over that. But it also doesn't look finished. I'd have to reserve final vote until then. I'd rather have a MR mounted VR6 than the Subie motors, though.

To me, this is like choosing between having your eyes poked out with a glowing poker, or having your toes smashed with a hammer.....

But I would likely have to pic the FFR because they have a history of making solid kit cars.

April 4, 2013 12:46 p.m.
fanfoy wrote: Option 4: this. It's lighter, has the option of bike or Ford power and I think it's better looking than all previous choices.

Nice from the front. Heinous from the side.

kreb SuperDork
April 4, 2013 1:06 p.m.

It's kinda funny how much time we spend dithering over styling. That's the very definition of internet emptiness. I remember a famous artist/printmaker (David Lance Goines) who hated being called an artist. He said that any fool can call themselves an artist, whereas a journeyman printmaker has actually accomplished something (been through a training/apprenticeship program).

bgkast Reader
April 4, 2013 2:21 p.m.
fanfoy wrote: Option 4: this. It's lighter, has the option of bike or Ford power and I think it's better looking than all previous choices.

Cool, it's like the Midlana's baby brother.

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