The Subaru WRX has always needed a dash more style, and the do-it-yourself carmakers at Factory Five are looking to accomplish a lot more than that with their new mid-engine, rear-wheel drive 818. The sports car started with a contest in 2011 to create the shape for the company's next vehicle, while sticking within certain limits. A designer named Nouphone Bansasi had his entry chosen, and first cars were completed last year.
The 818 is named after its target weight of 818 kilograms (1,803 pounds), and it's offered in two forms. The S starts at $9,990 and is meant for street use, with two seats and a basic interior. The R model for $10,990 is more track-focused and features a tiny windshield and full roll cage. The company claims that complete cars can be built for around $15,000, after factoring in the donor Subaru. Performance is very brisk, with acceleration to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, according to Motor Authority.
The kits are meant to be something that even a relative novice could put together. All the builder needs to provide is a 2002-2007 Impreza or WRX. The car donates its turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine, transmission, axles, brakes, steering and other major components. Factory Five supplies the spaceframe, body, suspension, lights, windshield and some interior trim. It doesn't even need paint, thanks to its gel-coated fiberglass body panels. The company also offers a laundry list of options, including carbon fiber aero components, upgraded suspension parts, improved brakes and more. Kits can be ordered in either left- or right-hand drive.
For the mechanically inclined buyer, the 818 seems like a unique alternative to the Miata-based projects that many sports car fans take on. Scroll down to watch a video that goes into deeper detail and shows the 818 on track.