FOCUS RS MK1
Finished in Frozen White and packing sensible upgrades, this FRS is now ready to take on the concours judges...
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