By Dean Larson

While the design might have some years under its belt now, the Factory Five 818 still represents a goal for the low-volume auto industry — modern propriety vehicles. Unlike the majority of FFR’s offerings, and the industry as a whole, the 818 uses modern donor cars and is not a replica. The 818 is really a story about seizing the moment. Subaru Impreza WRX and STI cars have an extensive fan base, offer exceptional performance and are well built with tough components. But the all-wheel-drive, rally racing spirit of these cars has led to many backward-sliding and ditch-smashing incidents by backward hat-wearing youngins who spend more time on the forums than perfecting their driving skills. So with all these stout components rusting in the scrap yards, a lightweight, no frills performance car utilizing Subaru parts is really a stroke of genius.

FFR offers three different 818 configurations and the model for sale here on eBay is an open-top R version. All three versions share the same basic chassis, but the street and coupe versions have standard door openings, while the R has a no-compromise cage. While you’ll have to work harder and step over the roll cage to get in, Factory Five has made this much simpler by cutting the roof off. While the R version might not be as practical for grocery getting, its more rigid cage and weight savings from going topless pay dividends on the track.

As stated, the 818 concept was built on Subaru running gear thanks to its performance, durability and worldwide availability. Scoop up a totaled WRX, STI or basic Impreza from the scrap man and you’ll have a turbo or NA flat-four engine in the two-liter range, a five- or six-speed transmission, an ECU, and steering, cooling and braking components. The finished 818’s performance far surpasses the Subaru donor thanks to is 818 kg (or 1,800-pound) finished weight. 3.8 second 0-60 times and 12 second 1/4 miles are achieved by standard builds. While these straight-line figures are impressive, it’s really in the twisties that 818 excels.

The R-model 818 here was completed back in 2014 and has logged about 2,000 miles since then. There’s no doubt that many of these are track miles, but the car has also been registered for the road through SB100. The seller reports that the Japanese domestic market EJ20 engine was rebuilt 800 miles ago and has been stroked and fitted with forged pistons and rods, 750cc injectors, ported and polished heads and a Dominator 1.5xt ball-bearing turbo. The seller’s dyno sheet-proven 310 hp might not sound too crazy, but bear in mind that this engine probably made around 200 hp when new, assuming it was turbocharged from the factory.

If the engine wasn’t serious enough, you need only look at the rest of the running gear to see that this 818 means business. On the corners you’ll find 12-inch, drilled and slotted Wilwood brakes, Enkei wheels, and Hoosier A7 and R6 rubber keeping the 818 planted. The body has also been treated to a full aero kit including a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser and frame-mounted rear spoiler. 

The seller is asking $25,000 for the car, which is said to be turnkey and ready to rock. How’s the price? Pretty standard. $25,000 has been the going rate for higher-end 818 builds for the last few years, however this car does offer a performance edge over some of its competitors.


It looks like the seller lowered their reserve on the last day of the auction, allowing a lucky bidder to haul the 818R home for just $16,100.