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…!
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…
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