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						Factory Five Gtm 6

Factory Five GTM build

As Told by Michael Ehrlich

Photos by Steve Temple

“This GTM wants to be built.” I must have heard that statement about 30 times over the course of the three years it took me to finish my Factory Five GTM.

I started the project in September of 2010, when a large tractor-trailer stopped at my house and delivered my kit. I watched in anticipation as the chassis and body were unloaded from the truck, placed on a dolly, and wheeled into my garage.  About 15 of my neighbors crawled out of the woodwork and looked on as well, curious as to what such a large truck was delivering on such a small street. Also in attendance was a guy named Ron Preston, who had contacted me through one of the GTM forums. He offered to lend a hand if I needed help. At the time, I didn’t appreciate just how much help he would end up providing.

Like most folks, I was eager to start the build once I had the kit in my garage (along with new parts from SMC Performance). Power would come from a Chevy LS3 crate engine, fed by an Aeromotive fuel pump and filter system, with a Jet Hot ceramic-coated Kooks exhaust. The LS3 would drive a G50/20 6-speed transaxle with a limited-slip differential, sourced from a 1996 Porsche 993. The power to the wheels would be managed by a Race Logic Traction Control system.

After my first official day of building, when I had hung my front and rear suspension without a single problem, I heard Ron say, “This GTM wants to be built.” Ron repeated that phrase day after day, week after week, when each milestone in the build was reached.

Master cylinders and brakes installed—“This GTM wants to be built.” Engine dropped in and mated to the transaxle—“This GTM wants to be built.” Coolant system installed—“this GTM wants to be built.” And so on and so on, like a mechanical mantra. 


My GTM didn’t want to be built, my GTM wants to be driven!

– Michael Ehrlich

And Ron was right. Almost everything about my build did go smoothly. The engine started and ran well the first time the key was turned, and ever since. No coolant leaks. No brake line or clutch line leaks. The wiring harness was straightforward, no sparks, blown fuses, or dead battery. I even charged the A/C system successfully on my very first try.

Ron attributed the smooth progression to an other-worldly characteristic of my GTM, that somehow it wanted to be built.  Like a benevolent Christine (that possessed Plymouth Fury from the movie of the same name). I, of course, was convinced that it was my careful planning, research, and support from Factory Five and other GTM builders out there that made the process smooth and successful. 

Certainly there were challenges to overcome. For me, those almost all arose from body modifications that I wanted. These included a functional roof scoop and upper body side scoops to help wash cool air over the engine; full side-body scoops for my cold air intake; GT40-style hood scoops to help evacuate hot air from the radiator; and shaved door handles. The list goes on and on (kinda like Ron’s mantra).

Eventually, though, my GTM was ready to be painted. I assembled a $119 wedding tent (from eBay) in my garage, added furnace filters at one end and industrial blowers at the other, settled on a paint scheme, and went to work. Or rather, Ron went to work. 

It turns out he is a retired body shop guy with years of bodywork and painting experience. And anyone who has seen my GTM can attest to his skills. As we buffed the final clear coat, marking the culmination of the project, I heard him say it one last time—well, you already know the words. 

As of June 2014, I have 2800 miles on my GTM. I drove it on a three-day, 1,069 mile road trip to attend the annual Factory Five Racing Open House. Over 400 miles were driven in a torrential downpour. The GTM performed flawlessly. And so I think that Ron was mistaken. My GTM didn’t want to be built, my GTM wants to be driven!

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Factory Five GTM