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All in the Family

Factory Five Forum hosts the Huntington Beach Cruise-in

By Karen Salvaggio

Photos by Steve Temple and Grant Hodgkins


Springtime in Huntington Beach, California (aka “Surf City, USA”), with its white sandy beaches, seemingly endless blue ocean and a never-ending set of perfect waves, is every young man’s dream. Long a mecca for surfers, hot rodders, and dreamers from virtually every walk of life, this sunset town has also become the go-to place for the annual west coast gathering of builders of Factory Five Racing cars.

The event began more than a decade ago as a grassroots get together of owners and builders, and had grown in recent years to being factory-sponsored. But this year it was in jeopardy of cancellation due to the many projects in development back at FFR’s headquarters in Massachusetts.

Hearing that the event might be canceled, David Hodgkins, a local builder and Factory Five forum developer, rallied the support of his fellow builders. With the assistance of his incredible family, The Factory Five Forum hosted this year’s event.

Reflecting afterward, David shared, “It was an incredible event,” he relates “A coming together of a fellowship from Australia, New York, Detroit, Alberta, and many, many places in between.”

The FFR community is unique because of the shared experience of building these cars, and the variety of customization is immense. Fords of all types, Chevy LS engines, Subarus, Mopar Hemis, and even an electric monster with 1800 lb/ft of torque. What other marque encourages such variety? The owners of these cars show incredible ingenuity and passion for what they create.

“This community is inspirational,” David adds. “And I am honored to be one of them.”

Notable in this year’s more than 100 entries was the large number of Type-65 Coupes (18), which is certainly among the largest gathering of Coupes in anyone’s memory. These were not “trailer queens” either, with many logging hundreds of miles driving to the show. Most notably, one Coupe was driven (in true Cannonball Run form) non-stop from New York to Huntington Beach. In addition, Mike Moen’s weathered Coupe graced center stage as awards were presented for innovation, exceptional workmanship, finest paint, and overall best examples of each model. The spirit of the event reflected a camaraderie and fellowship among builders, a passion for excellence, and the joys of building in the Factory Five Racing community.

Factory Five president David Smith mentioned that as a young man living in SoCal, he could never have imagined that one day he would return with cars of his own design filling three full city blocks of Main Street. 

While getting some refreshment at the Long Board, a local watering hole on Main Street, Dave Smith noted, “This year was especially important to me, as we were so committed with the new product work and launch of our new ’35 Hot Rod truck, that we didn’t have the manpower to support this year’s show. It looked like this year’s show wouldn’t happen. But then, Dave Hodgkins, his entire family, and the rest of the Factory Five community stepped up to lend a hand, and the show became a reality through the good hard work of the Factory Five community.”

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