Ford Fi­esta

What’s the Thai mod­i­fy­ing scene all about? Ladies and gen­tle­men, you’re look­ing at it…

Fast Car - - Ed Speak -

Thai­land is fa­mous for many things, some of which we can’t men­tion in this fam­ily-friendly mag­a­zine. We can men­tion this awe­some Fi­esta though!

When some­body men­tions Thai­land, what’s the first thing you think of? Ex­trav­a­gant cock­tails on sandy beaches? Leonardo Di­Caprio frol­ick­ing in blue la­goons? Fat el­derly Amer­i­can men wolf­ing down sticky rice while watch­ing ladies do tricks with ping-pong balls? For us, the first place our mind goes to is the car scene.

That’s right – be­hind the ve­neer of is­land-hop­ping and wa­ter­sports and world-class cui­sine at poverty-line prices, there’s a vi­brant mod­i­fy­ing cul­ture in that South­east Asian par­adise. Its roots are just the same as in the UK – young guys and girls meet­ing up af­ter dark at drive-thrus and on seafronts, the odd bit of mis­chievous driv­ing (but not rac­ing, of­fi­cer, def­i­nitely not), and that peren­nial keen­ness to make the cars cooler, faster, louder, dif­fer­ent.

In Thai­land, the main fo­cus is on Ja­panese rides – Civics, Sky­lines and S-body Nis­sans are par­tic­u­lar favourites, along with oo­dles of In­te­gras, RX-7s, Evos and Im­prezas. There’s a mas­sive drag rac­ing scene, with il­le­gal street drags draw­ing in huge crowds, and diesel tun­ing is a re­ally big deal too.

When it comes to street cars, Thai tuners re­ally love to put car­bon fi­bre all over ev­ery­thing; there’s a cer­tain fond­ness for VIP builds, but the over­ar­ch­ing head­line story right now is wide-body ex­ten­sions. Thai­land has a keen eye on the fash­ions of the rest of the world, draw­ing in­flu­ence from the likes of Rocket Bunny and Lib­erty Walk, as well as RWB Porsches, state­side SEMA trends, the Clinched range from Rus­sia – big­ger is bet­ter, that’s the key, and Thai­land loves to make its own ver­sions that of­ten don’t get a lot of ex­po­sure else­where in the world. It’s like a mi­cro­cosm of mod­i­fy­ing that bor­rows ideas from across the globe, stirs them to­gether into its own melt­ing pot, then cre­ates unique and ex­cit­ing things that the rest of us would never ex­pect to see.

That’s why we’re bring­ing you this Fi­esta: it neatly show­cases the ar­che­typal Thai mod­i­fy­ing style of 2018, while throw­ing in a few curve­balls to boot. You see, if there’s one thing you can ex­pect from this colour­ful scene, it’s the un­ex­pected. Yes, Thai folks love Ja­panese cars, but this is a Ford Fi­esta. Why take a Euro­pean-built hatch­back and throw their own style at it? Well, why not?

It’s worth point­ing out, of course, that this isn’t ac­tu­ally a Euro­pean-built hatch­back at all. Ford has a man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Thai­land, where they churn out huge num­bers of Fi­es­tas for the do­mes­tic mar­ket, and their spec is a bit dif­fer­ent to what you’d find in the euro­zone. There’s no ST model over there: in­stead, the top-of-the-range vari­ant is the Sport you see here, which comes with a 1.6-litre Ti-VCT mo­tor and a

dual-clutch 6-speed Pow­er­shift trans­mis­sion. Bizarrely, Thai Fi­es­tas have a 100mm PCD in­stead of the 108mm of global ver­sions, the same as the Mazda2 – and the bod­ies also share var­i­ous Mazda paint shades. But fun­da­men­tally, it’s a Fi­esta as you would recog­nise it… at least, it was when it came out of the fac­tory. But one or two things have changed since then.

The ar­chi­tect of all this mad­ness is proud owner Pak­takrit Ban­tip, the Bangkok res­i­dent who chose lo­cal tuner out­fit Garage Unique to make it, well, unique.

They have form with this sort of thing – be­spoke Garage Unique wide-bodyk­its have been mak­ing rip­ples across the in­ter­net when ap­plied to cars like the se­cond-gen Toy­ota MR2, BMW Z4, four-door Honda Civic sa­loon and E92 BMW, and their eye for an ag­gres­sive wide-arch de­sign is matched by the qual­ity of the ex­e­cu­tion. The kit you’re see­ing here is the cus­tom ‘Street War­rior’ de­sign, and you’ve no doubt spot­ted that the base car is a five-door. You can get three-door Fi­es­tas in Thai­land, but this base makes more of a state­ment as it’s not al­ways easy to go wide-arch when you have rear doors to grap­ple with. It ei­ther works or it to­tally doesn’t (the lat­ter be­ing the case more of­ten than not), but Garage Unique has re­ally nailed the look here.

The kit com­prises the wide arches along with sideskirts and skirt ex­ten­sions, front split­ter, bumper in­serts and wing vents, rear dif­fuser, and, to all of this lu­nacy, they have also added their own cus­tom de­sign rear spoiler. It’s just nuts, isn’t it? Have you ever seen a road-le­gal Fi­esta so wide? Or one run­ning 10-inch wheels with 255-sec­tion tyres at the back?

Oh yes, and we’d def­i­nitely bet­ter talk about the wheels. Pak­takrit had his sights set firmly on the Thai scene’s JDM in­flu­ence here, crav­ing the in­ter­net-break­ing majesty of WORK Wheels, and a key ad­van­tage of this de­ci­sion is that the wacky PCD didn’t re­ally mat­ter – WORKs are be­spoke, crafted to your own specs, so they can be made to fit what­ever you like. In this in­stance, he’s gone for the cel­e­brated Meis­ter S1 de­sign, 8.5x17-inch up front and 10x17 out back, which is a frankly mind-blow­ing foot­print for such a small car. The rub­ber is race car ag­gres­sive too – Yoko­hama Ad­van A050s make a real state­ment about your stree­tracer in­ten­tions. Per­fect for those warm Bangkok nights, with their sticky tar­mac un­der­neath.

Thai tuners love a bru­tal ex­haust, and the lat­er­ally-ex­it­ing af­fair you see here was knocked up by Tho Kun Art; it fuses the mod­ern en­thu­si­asm for rorty and ex­tremely vis­i­ble pipes on JDM builds with a cer­tain early-2000s throw­back to the UK scene. Re­mem­ber when ev­ery Saxo had 5in pipes pok­ing out of the back? This is in the same ball­park. And in a fur­ther flash­back from the 2000s, just check out Pak­takrit’s in­te­rior.

The air in­stall takes cen­tre stage of course, as we’re see­ing across the globe (and yes, ob­vi­ously the Fi­esta’s run­ning a cus­tom air-ride setup!). But the rest of the in­te­rior treat­ment is some­thing that used to be ev­ery­where but you re­ally don’t see that much of these days: whack­ing great amps, huge subs, loads of high-end speak­ers, all art­fully pre­sented in cus­tom en­clo­sures.

Bride Stra­dia buck­ets and Takata har­nesses bring it all back to the here-and­now. This is a car that draws in in­flu­ences not just from mod­ding trends around the globe, but also across the decades. And that’s Thai car cul­ture in a nut­shell – it’s a sort of great­est hits of world­wide ideas, span­ning a broad timescale, and bring­ing it up to date with the coun­try’s unique style.

It’s not just Pure Shores, pad thai and sex tourism: Thai­land is about provoca­tive, mould-break­ing cars. So now you know.

One flip­pin’ fierce Fi­esta

Cus­tom sidewinder pipe is a work of art

Don’t make it an­gry... Jap-in­flu­enced in­te­rior

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.