The SCCA Foundation thanks SCCA member Ben Lambiotte for his generous donation of a Factory Five Racing Type 65 Daytona Coupe in support of the Foundation’s programs. The sale of the car raised $55,000 for the Foundation. Lambiotte made the donation in the fond and proud memory of Wade Chamberlain of the DC Region SCCA. Chamberlain joined the SCCA in 2005 and enjoyed running a Factory Five Roadster he built himself at events prior to his passing on April 2, 2016. “Wade was the heart and soul of our little band of irreverent homegrown Cobra racers. Fiercely competitive autocrosser, burnout champion, devious prankster, talented engineer, brewer of fine beer, inveterate DIY problem solver, and loving husband and father, he was one of the finest men I ever knew, taken from us all too suddenly. He was an inspiration and an important part of the impetus for the Coupe project,” said Lambiotte.
Lambiotte purchased the Type 65 kit from Factory Five Racing in August of 2008. He relied on Fred Kelley of Fast Freddies’ Fabrications in Maryland for much of the meticulously executed assembly and fabrication work, along with amazing work by Larry Casey of Casey Designs on the custom dash and other components, including a pair of custom hi-flow stainless Burns sidepipes whose perfect welds are a work of art. The BDC was the test bed for many innovative parts Fred Kelley developed, including full rod end adjustable suspension components, electro-mechanical power steering, and Lexan rear hatch. “It would still just be a big pile of very nice parts without Fast Freddie’s fabrication and Casey Design, and I am grateful and in awe of their talents to this day,” said Lambiotte.
Going from the shipping crates to the car’s first run on the street took roughly 11 months, with its official unveiling to the Factory Five fan world on July 3, 2009. Those watching the progress of the build were rewarded with photos of the completed Coupe featuring a dazzling paint job in House of Kolors custom paint for everything from primer to clear coat. The blue is Shimrin Fine Metallic Stratto Blue, shot over HOK KS10 white sealer. The meatballs and stripes are Snowhite Pearl, also over white. “They look ivory from a distance, but you can see the translucent pearl up close,” explained Lambiotte.
The car features a 347 cubic inch stroker on a Ford Racing Boss block, with RaceTec pistons and Mahle H beam rods with ARP 2k bolts (Chevy pins), Jesel shaft rockers, Ferrea intake, and Mahle exhaust valves. The team added double Ferrea valve springs, titanium retainers, mild ported Canfield 195 cc CNC 58 cc combustion chamber heads, with a Jay Allen custom solid roller cam and solid roller lifters, and a Vic Jr. manifold. “It’s built to spin up to 7500 redline and back down to corner entry speed, all day long,” explained Lambiotte. The car rides on 17-inch CCW Classic 3-piece race wheels, 11 inches wide in front and 12 inches wide in back. The custom power steering system makes all the difference maneuvering all that tire in small spaces.
“I feel like I ate an elephant. Quite a project,” said Kelley. “Everything works great. Can’t wait to see if it will do what we/I hoped…the fastest track Coupe ever.” After driving it for the first time, Lambiotte attempted to describe the experience: “The sound in the cabin is unbelievable. It’s like being in the engine room of a dreadnought battleship. As you wind it out, you can hear the solid roller cam, rockers, and gears, all working in sweet mechanical harmony, and, above all, that lion’s roar of the exhaust.”
He enjoyed the car on the street, at autocrosses, and at track days, often pulling a tire trailer behind the Coupe to get to events. After continuing to make improvements to the car while driving it over the next seven years, Lambiotte found that life changes were keeping him away from the track and with less time to devote to keeping the Coupe ready for action. In fact, the car sat sleeping and covered for nearly three years before he decided it was time to hand his passion project on to another driver that would appreciate it. Aware of the SCCA Foundation’s programs providing teen drivers with advanced training through the TireRack Street Survival program, as well as its support of veteran motorsports programs, women-in-motorsports programs, and the SCCA Archives, Lambiotte decided to donate the car to the Foundation.
Lambiotte explained: “Over the years I was involved in motorsports, I received great instruction, mentoring and fellowship from members of the WDC Region, and saw firsthand the good work the organization did to promote safety, sportsmanship, and automotive knowledge among people of all ages from all walks of life. I also very much appreciate SCCA’s legacy and storied role in American amateur road racing, stretching back to when open top Cobras drifted around haybales on makeshift tracks across the country. It is fitting that the BDC return to this fine organization a small part of the benefits I gained in my affiliation with it.”
Several individuals and companies donated generously to bring the “Bottom Dollar Coupe” back to life. Foundation Chairman Jeff Jacobs drove down from Philadelphia to Baltimore, Maryland to pick up the car. “Even after the car sat under a cover for three years, the expense and effort Ben put into the build is evident just looking at the car,” commented Jacobs. “And while he was doubtful about the ease of getting her no choke, carbureted race motor running again after so long, Tony Savini and I installed a new battery, poured in some fresh fuel, and with a little coaxing it sprang to life with a satisfying growl coming from the exhaust pipes.” Jacobs took the car to Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, PA, where Joe Aquilante’s national championship winning race team went over all mechanical systems and fluids necessary to have the car ready for street and track use once again at a significant cost savings on parts and labor to the Foundation. As a long-time title sponsor of the SCCA Foundation’s teen safe driving program — TireRack.com Street Survival — the TireRack donated a brand new set of Toyo Proxes R888R tires for the auction winner to enjoy on the track.
With the mechanicals sound, the car underwent a full detail by Tim McNair of Grand Prix Concours in Philadelphia. McNair graciously donated his services to the Foundation, too. Ordinarily you can find his detailing work on cars that win prestigious events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Villa d’Este, Amelia Island, The Quail, and many national marque-specific concours events. Vehicles prepared by Tim have been photographed in magazines such as Forza, Porsche’s Excellence, Automobile Magazine, Octane, The Rodder’s Journal, Japanese Nostalgic Car, and Classic Motorsports.
The car was transported from Philadelphia to Florida by Reliable Carriers, Inc.
The SCCA Foundation thanks everyone who supported this project. “With the COVID crisis preventing us from being able to do our usual big fundraisers in 2020 — typically sweepstakes for fantastic trips to major racing events — this generous donation allowed us to fill a big gap in our annual funding,” explained Foundation Chairman Jeff Jacobs. “The proceeds of this auction along with the increased donations we’ve seen from SCCA members in 2020 kept us right on budget for the year, really an amazing result under the circumstances.”