FO­CUS RS MK1

Fin­ished in Frozen White and pack­ing sen­si­ble up­grades, this FRS is now ready to take on the con­cours judges...

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words and pho­tos JON CASS

Con­cours-clean Mk1 FRS re­sprayed in Frozen White.

We’re used to Ford heav­ily re­strict­ing which colours are avail­able on some of their RS badged cars in par­tic­u­lar and the ques­tion is of­ten asked, “Why didn’t they do one in that colour as well?” The Mk1 Fo­cus RS is typ­i­cal of this, hav­ing only been avail­able in Im­pe­rial Blue dur­ing its brief pro­duc­tion run, but if you don’t like the colour, there’s al­ways the op­por­tu­nity to change it, even if that does come at a cost.

This stun­ning Mk1 RS of Darren Men­zies was sub­jected to a re­spray in Frozen White with no ex­pense spared by its sec­ond owner back in 2006, solely be­cause he loved the car, but wasn’t a fan of Im­pe­rial Blue so ru­mour has it. See­ing this car today surely begs the ques­tion why Ford never made Frozen White an op­tion when the RS was new, maybe that one is down to their ac­coun­tants or per­haps white wasn’t such a pop­u­lar colour back in 2003?

As the Mk1 RS has al­ready man­aged to gain mod­ern clas­sic sta­tus with val­ues

ris­ing rapidly, we’re un­likely to see many more re­ceive a dras­tic change of colour, so Darren’s white ex­am­ple is sure to re­main a pretty rare beast!

Now Darren’s no stranger to a more than po­tent Ford, in fact his list of pre­vi­ous cars re­ally sets the juices flow­ing and would make a truly awe­some sight to be­hold should they all have ap­peared to­gether. “I used to fol­low the Lom­bard RAC rally and BTCC back when I was a kid, that got me into Fords, the RS500s were of­ten class lead­ers and I’ve been hooked on the badge ever since,” Darren re­calls, “my first car was a Mk1 Es­cort and that soon gave way to a white Mk1 1300 Sport.” The mod­i­fy­ing ad­dic­tion be­gan with the sec­ond Es­cort which re­ceived bub­ble arches, a 1600 en­gine and twin carbs among its up­grades.” I had to go sen­si­ble for a while and bought a 1985 Sierra 2.0is, but even that had to be mod­i­fied so on went gen­uine 3-door Cossie parts in­clud­ing a rear spoiler, front bumper, bon­net and vents and RS wheels,” Darren laughs. A Mk2 RS2000 came next, though this had to be reshelled due to ex­ten­sive rust, Darren happy to tackle the work him­self and he even man­aged to source an­other gen­uine RS shell! “I had a highly mod­i­fied Se­ries 1 RS Turbo in red, then went through Sap­phire Cos­worths, be­fore buy­ing a 3-door Sierra Cosworth and an Es­cort Cosworth,” Darren re­mem­bers, “that had to be sold to fund a new garage, but I was soon back on track with a Se­ries 2 RS Turbo.” His only move away from the Blue Oval was a Porsche 911 which he ad­mits he loved, but soon sold as Darren missed the Ford scene so much! “I re­turned to Fords with a Mk1 Fo­cus RS and then went on to have my well­known Se­ries 2 RS Turbo which picked up plenty of tro­phies in con­cours events.” We wouldn’t nor­mally elab­o­rate on some­one’s pre­vi­ous cars to this ex­tent, but in to­tal that’s one im­pres­sive list worth shar­ing!

“Af­ter I’d sold the Se­ries 2, I fan­cied an­other Fo­cus RS and be­gan search­ing for one on the usual fo­rums,” Darren ex­plains, “I found a nice ex­am­ple fairly quickly and made ar­range­ments to view, but as you do, I still kept look­ing out for other suit­able cars.” Then this Frozen White ex­am­ple ap­peared on eBay, rather than on one of the RS dedicated fo­rums, “I loved how it looked straight away and had to have it,” Darren laughs, “I quickly had to can­cel my view­ing of the first car, which I’m sure the seller wasn’t too happy about.”

This 2003 Frozen White RS pre­vi­ously be­longed to Iain Wil­son, who was more than happy to an­swer Darren’s ques­tions about the car and send de­tailed pho­tos. “There were no prob­lems re­gard­ing rust or cor­ro­sion,” Darren points out, “it had been de­tailed just two days pre­vi­ously, so the car was pretty spot­less through­out.” All good so far then, and once the funds had been trans­ferred, the three-hour trip home thank­fully re­mained dry too.

Iain had al­ready be­gun to mod­ify the

“The hard work has cer­tainly paid off as Darren’s Fo­cus has al­ready picked up a string of con­cours tro­phies...”

RS hav­ing car­ried out a fair amount of work on it and Darren was ea­ger to con­tinue that theme, putting his own mark on the car too. The 2.0-litre Du­ratec RS mo­tor now ben­e­fits from Roose hoses through­out along with a ce­ramic coated Mill­tek man­i­fold and sports cat. A Bluefin remap also helps to im­prove the RS’s im­pres­sive power de­liv­ery while a Sachs clutch, bil­let ther­mo­stat hous­ing, stain­less oil cooler and stain­less power steer­ing pipes add to the up­grades too. Okay, at 280bhp, this is no silly-power mon­ster, but still a very rapid car and that en­gine bay looks stun­ning and spot­less from any an­gle.

It was the unique exterior that had caught Darren’s eye ini­tially and its easy to see why. With that Frozen White paint­work com­bined with those an­thracite Rota D154 al­loys, no one could ar­gue this isn’t one eye-catch­ing Mk1 Fo­cus. Sub­tle de­tails have been added too in­clud­ing the Pu­maspeed front split­ter, ST170 head­lights, smoked in­di­ca­tors and side re­peaters and US-spec rear lights. The bal­ance here be­tween re­main­ing faith­ful to the Mk1 RS’s orig­i­nal lines and adding a touch of in­di­vid­u­al­ity seems to be just right.

Iain had in­deed done a top job, but Darren was keen to en­sure the un­der­side would be just as spot­less as the rest of the car. “I’d al­ways in­tended for the Fo­cus to take part in con­cours com­pe­ti­tions just as my Se­ries 2 had done,” Darren ex­plains, “to reach that goal, I knew I had to strip down the whole back end un­der­neath along with the front legs.” The un­der­side could then be prepped and re­sprayed in Stealth Grey, “I’d not done any spray­ing be­fore and was sur­prised how good it turned out!” Darren laughs. The sus­pen­sion could then be re­fit­ted once pow­der coated in black and grey while new wish­bones, up­per and lower arms along with ex­haust heat shields and rear brake hoses were sourced and se­cured

into place too. Eibach low­er­ing springs, Pow­er­flex bushes and new drop links also help to make this RS han­dle to the best of its po­ten­tial, while the front brake calipers have been stripped and re­built, then painted in Ni­trous Blue to stand out against the an­thracite rims. “I also up­graded to braided brake lines, two piece rear discs and bought brand new rear calipers,” Darren points out, “even the front discs are en­graved with the RS badge.” A quick peek un­der­neath would have you guess­ing this was ac­tu­ally a brand new car!

Inside, it’s fa­mil­iar Fo­cus RS as Darren’s quite happy to keep things fac­tory, and once again it’s to­tally spot­less to keep those judges happy; “the only part I had to re­place was the steer­ing wheel as the orig­i­nal one had be­come worn,” Darren adds.

The hard work has cer­tainly paid off as within six months of com­plet­ing his project, Darren’s Fo­cus has al­ready picked up a string of con­cours tro­phies, “the ic­ing on the cake was com­ing first place at a re­cent show, beat­ing the sec­ond place car which had been placed above my old con­cours Se­ries 2 in a pre­vi­ous com­pe­ti­tion” Darren smiles.

Hav­ing achieved his tar­get so soon, the only pos­si­ble change on the hori­zon would be to hark back to his ral­ly­ing roots and opt for a Colin McRae liv­ery, but Darren’s not sure on that one yet!

Ei­ther way, we sus­pect his RS to con­tinue pulling in the sil­ver­ware, but we wouldn’t be sur­prised to see that en­vi­able list of cars owned to ex­pand in the com­ing years!

Rota D154 al­loys com­ple­ment the white body colour to re­ally make this RS stand out

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