Un­de­terred by a lack of off-the-shelf af­ter­mar­ket parts for his Mon­deo ST220, Marc Neill in­stead used it as an ex­cuse to go a lit­tle bit crazy with his build. And the re­sults have left him with a su­per sa­loon you cer­tainly won’t be for­get­ting in a hurry…!

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words SAM PRE­STON / Pho­tos MATT WOODS

Modded V6 Mon­deo built for fast road thrills.

Re­gard­less of what brand­spe­cific car mag­a­zine or show you check out, there’s no get­ting around the fact that you’ll soon no­tice that some mod­els will be far more pop­u­lar than oth­ers in that par­tic­u­lar scene.

It even hap­pens in Fast Ford to a cer­tain ex­tent. As much as we like to mix things up and keep the awe­some­ness as var­ied as pos­si­ble through­out th­ese pages, be­cause we aim to rep­re­sent the Ford world as a whole, some spe­cific types of car in­evitably pop up slightly more of­ten than oth­ers as a re­sult.

Dar­ing to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent when choos­ing your next project car can cer­tainly help you stand out from the masses, then, but it also puts you in dan­ger of fac­ing a lack of ad­vice and be­spoke parts along the way. It hasn’t put Suf­folk-based Marc here off in the slight­est, though, who’s per­sisted with the trans­for­ma­tion of his of­ten-over­looked Mon­deo ST220 to il­lus­trate that some­times, it re­ally is best to not fol­low the trends. Trust us, the fu­ture’s bright, the fu­ture’s very, very or­ange…

Marc’s most re­cent ac­qui­si­tion was never orig­i­nally meant to go quite this far down the mod­i­fy­ing rab­bit hole, it’s im­por­tant to add. Pre­vi­ously own­ing a string of ar­guably more pop­u­lar Ford choices in the past, this range-top­ping, V6-pow­ered ex­am­ple of the firm’s mid-sized sa­loon was snapped up around three years ago as ini­tially noth­ing more than a re­li­able, sen­si­ble cruiser to add a lit­tle more ex­cite­ment to those mun­dane week­end tasks we all per­form.

“It was a tidy black ex­am­ple with that con­trast­ing red Re­caro in­te­rior,” Marc re­calls. “My idea of a per­fect week­end car that I wouldn’t have to mod­ify in the slight­est!” As seems to be the case wor­ry­ingly of­ten with us car nuts, though, it didn’t take too long at all for this in­no­cent plan to be thrown right out of the win­dow, with Marc soon bag­ging

“I found it dif­fi­cult for com­pa­nies to take the Mon­deo se­ri­ously, and the lack of be­spoke parts avail­able meant I of­ten had to start from a blank can­vas”

him­self a sun strip that rep­re­sented his favourite Ford club – The Blue Oval Project – as well as some sub­tle low­er­ing springs that helped sup­ply the Mon­deo with a slightly more show-friendly ride height.

From here on out, things only es­ca­lated, with the Mon­deo be­com­ing more and more se­ri­ous (and or­ange!) the more time he spent with it. Not that it was plain sail­ing in the slight­est, though… “I found it dif­fi­cult for com­pa­nies to take the fact I was mod­i­fy­ing a Mon­deo se­ri­ously, and the lack of be­spoke parts avail­able meant I of­ten had to start from a blank can­vas,” he ex­plains, each in­ci­dent merely act­ing as more fuel for the fire to keep push­ing on.

Within the first 12 months of own­er­ship, Marc had al­ready made some im­pres­sive progress, with his trusty sa­loon now sport­ing a tour­ing car-es­que Triple R Com­pos­ites front split­ter and a full stain­lesssteel ex­haust sys­tem. He’d also got the ball rolling with one of the most strik­ing touches ap­plied across the whole car – that bright or­ange theme – in the form of some epic hy­dro-dipped skull-ef­fect art­work that was per­formed to per­fec­tion by Es­sex Dip. “It was al­ready get­ting out of con­trol around this stage to be hon­est!” he tells us with a know­ing grin.

Show­ing no signs of slow­ing up, the next cou­ple of years of own­er­ship brought

“As you might’ve guessed from the graph­ics, I al­most al­ways show my car with this club; it’s more like a fam­ily to me...”

about even more se­vere changes than the first and re­ally be­gan to give the Mon­deo its unique iden­tity which we as­so­ciate it with to­day. Things started in the form of a full re­spray in the stock Pan­ther Black hue by pal Carl from CJ Oliver Body Re­pairs, be­fore a set of Inovit al­loys were snapped up – be­ing sprayed in con­trast­ing flu­o­res­cent or­ange colour be­fore be­ing bolted on, of course.

It didn’t take long for Marc to com­ple­ment the bright wheels that set off the ex­te­rior with a full cus­tom tiger-stripe graph­ics kit in, you guessed it… bright or­ange, de­signed by Blueprint in Not­ting­ham and fur­ther help­ing him to fur­ther spread his love of one of his dear­est pas­sions: The Blue Oval Project car club. “As you might’ve guessed from the graph­ics, I al­most al­ways show my car with this club; it’s more like a fam­ily than a club to me,” he re­veals.

But it wasn’t all cos­metic up­grades that were con­sid­ered, with Marc next pur­chas­ing some BC Rac­ing coilovers to re­ally help in the han­dling depart­ment when teamed up with the pre­mium Miche­lin rub­ber

that’d re­cently been fit­ted. “It re­ally feels like it’s welded to the road now with just th­ese sim­ple mods,” he says, ad­mit­ting it’s un­doubt­edly one of the most re­ward­ing cars he’s ever driven now as a re­sult.

And he wasn’t done just yet. The fi­nal piece of the puz­zle would re­volve around a com­plete trans­for­ma­tion of the in­te­rior, start­ing with those wrap-around Mirco bucket seats and fin­ish­ing with a cus­tom multi-point roll cage from GC Fabri­ca­tions, all of which were fin­ished in or­ange, it prob­a­bly goes with­out say­ing at this stage. Now giv­ing off a sav­age, squat, tour­ing car-for-the-road vibe, it strikes the per­fect bal­ance be­tween road-friendly com­fort and Sun­day-blaster ca­pa­bil­ity.

Like a par­tic­u­larly spicy curry or play­ing your com­puter game on its very hard­est set­ting, some­times it re­ally is bet­ter to give your­self a chal­lenge in life for the best pos­si­ble re­sults, and it’s some­thing that most def­i­nitely rings true with Marc and his loyal steed here. By per­se­ver­ing with the project whilst many oth­ers would’ve traded it in for some­thing that promised a more plain-sail­ing jour­ney, he’s now got one of the most mem­o­rable Fords in the coun­try on his hands, that prom­ises to be just as much of a hoot to drive as it is to ad­mire from a dis­tance. Just re­mem­ber this in­spi­ra­tional story next time you’re feel­ing a lit­tle dis­heart­ened that things aren’t go­ing your way…


OC­TO­BER 2018

The en­gine bay has cer­tainly been bright­ened up with some colour­ful hy­dro-dip­ping

Car­bon ef­fect con­trasts the or­ange plas­tics per­fectly

Mirco bucket seats and four-point har­nesses add to the ag­gres­sive na­ture - fin­ished in black and or­ange, of course

Tour­ing-car style roll cage dom­i­nates the in­te­rior, and en­sures this Mon­deo stands out from the rest

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