Factory Five ’33 hot rod circuit racer at Drag Challenge 2018

We check out a ’33 Ford kit car that took it to the strip for Drag Challenge 2018

Photographers: Michelle Porobic

STREET Machine Drag Challenge saw a wide variety of cars having a crack at the week of racing – from $100,000 show cars to scratched-up beaters. Jim Sakell’s Factory Five kit car is definitely on the higher end of that scale when it comes to show-quality build and finish, but that hasn’t deterred him from taking the thing out for a beating.

Ford 1933 hot rodThe’33 Ford hot rod that Jim has put together from a Factory Five Racing kit offers sleek old-school style with modern tech bolted on underneath. The beautiful body is painted in Mercedes-Benz silver and sits on top of a full tubular chassis, while the whole roof can be removed and a separate windscreen fitted for open-top cruising. Oddly enough the car doesn’t have any side window glass, so the drive in the rain from Swan Hill to Mildura on Day Two of DC was an interesting experience for Jim. “The day on the road was good, other than a bit of wet weather,” he said. “The car ran beautifully.”

Powertrain-wise, the car’s enjoying the LS life, with a standard 6.0L donk backed up by a T56 manual ’box.

1933 Ford hot rodDespite the car’s show-quality finish, it was built to be a street-regoed circuit racer, so bolted to the tubular chassis are inboard coil-overs all ’round and an IFS front end to keep the car nice and sticky in the bends. The brakes are up to the task of pulling the ’33 up smartly, with Wilwood six-piston calipers in the front and two-piston items in the rear. But with the ’33 tipping the scales at roughly 1000kg, they don’t have to work very hard to stop this silver bullet. Tucked underneath the rear arches are 18×10 wheels wrapped in 275 radials.

1933 Ford hot rodDespite Factory Five kits having a cult following in the US, Jim estimates there are only four or five examples running around Down Under. He bought the car around four years ago 80 per cent complete, finishing off the last steps (brakes etc) to get the car engineered and registered.

Drag Challenge was Jim’s first crack at taking his ’33 circuit racer down the strip. By the end of the week, he’d cracked into the 11s, with a PB of 11.95@111mph to finish in 15th position in Pacemaker Radial Aspirated. Nice!

Jim SakellJim spent the road legs cruising in tandem with Peter Haravitisidis’s black XY Falcon, which finished second in the same class. “We’ve just come to have a bit of fun with some mates and see how we go,” he said earlier in the week. “If I could get into the 11s by the end of the week that’d be nice, but the main goal is to be consistent and have fun.”

Done and done, Jim!


Class: Pacemaker Headers Radial Aspirated


Engine: 6.0L LS
Transmission: T56 manual
Diff: 8:8in, 3.5:1 gears
Power: 450hp
Previous PB: Untested