SEMA 2013: Nate Johnson’s Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod


Whether you’re into sports cars, hot rods or classic racers, Factory Five Racing offers something for everyone. And while the base models are currently limited to less than ten, including the recently debuted 818R, there are countless options when it comes to customizing your car and truly building the Factory Five that’s perfect for you.

DSCN9549Last week, Factory Five Racing showed off a handful of possibilities for enthusiasts in their booth at the annual SEMA Show. Among the models on display was Factory Five Racing Operations Manager, Nate Johnson’s ’33 Hot Rod, which the long-time Factory-Fiver built for his father. And yes true hot rodders, it features a classic ’33 style even the more traditional folks can get behind.

Having worked for Factory Five for 17 years, Johnson opted for the classic stylings of the ’33 roadster when it came time to build a car for his father, a working man who always had an eye for some of the great cars of the past. But Johnson’s father wasn’t all too picky when it came to the car, only being set on an automatic transmission and fenders, so Johnson was able to run with his own styling preferences.

DSCN9548“I wanted to build something timeless,” Johnson told us when we asked about the car’s style. And with the deep and sleek black paint laid by Carl’s Collision Center in Fall River, Massachusetts, and some traditional pinstriping, the car certainly accomplishes this goal.

DSCN9518Under the hood of the Hot Rod, you’ll find a Ford Racing 302ci engine capable of producing 345 HP. This is backed by an A08 automatic transmission, which gives the car smooth, streetable control. And while the automatic transmission is certainly not everyone’s choice, Johnson told us that even though he too was skeptical of the decision initially, he now enjoys driving the car even more than he may have with a manual transmission.

Underneath, the car features standard Factory Five equipment, including a 3-link rear suspension system, Koni coilovers and a Moser 8.8-inch rearend featuring 3.31:1 rearend gears, which they might soon make the switch over to 3.73s.

DSCN9529Planting the car to the pavement are 18-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels from Billet Specialties wrapped in Toyo Proxes 4 Plus rubber. Adding stopping power to the car are Wilwood brakes. All of these features make the car extremely reliable and very street friendly.

“I would drive this home right now back to Massachusetts,” Johnson explained when asked how streetable the car really was.

Showcasing just a couple of the countless options one has when building a Factory Five Hot Rod, Johnson’s car features a soft removable top and modified motorcycle fenders. The fenders are a compromise between Johnson’s dad’s request for full fenders and Johnson’s preference of no fenders. Compromise or not, the fenders are so well executed that they almost disappear around the wheels, especially in the front, which is what Johnson told us was his goal.

Helping the fenders disappear like this is the tight spacing between the inner fender and the tires, which Johnson explained was determined by sticking a Bic pen between the two. As tight as this may seem, Johnson assured us and numerous inquirers that the tires have never hit the fenders in the last year and a half that the car has been on the road.

The ’33 Hot Rod built for Johnson’s dad came out so well that now Johnson is toying with the idea of building one for himself. Not a bad idea if you ask us – stay tuned right here for any updates if Johnson decides to pull the trigger!


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About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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