Stunning, well-specced ST was built in and imported from Oz...
Andreas Tatt shipped his Focus ST project halfway round the world to avoid selling it. Want to know why? Read on…
Living large, sparking with the purple-orange-bronze tints of a 3M Satin Flip Volcanic Flare wrap, there’s nothing ordinary about this Mk3 Focus ST. The colours drag you in, accentuating each curve and tweak with a satin flourish, but it’s the shapes that
keep you staring. Up front, an SS-Tuning splitter punches out to its end plates, lacquered carbon fibre teasing up under the lower grille while, out at the rear bumper, the same styling house provides a rear diffuser which wraps around the twin loudhailers of a three-inch Custom Exhaust Specialists system. The tinted LED tailights might grab you next, or the high rise rear spoiler, or the 19-inch Niche Misano alloys, and there’s only conclusion left to reach: this build is fire. Once you’ve seen it, you’re hooked. There’s no way you could leave it languishing on the other side of the world.
Luckily, Andreas Tatt – the build’s owner and mastermind – completely agrees. After five years in Australia, during which he bought the car and added most of mods you see today, he recently returned to the UK and the Focus just had to come with him. “I’d considered selling it locally in
Western Australia before I left,” he says, “but I’d put so much money and so much time into the build, I had to keep it!” Bundled into a shipping container with most of the Tatt family furniture, the Mk3 ST has since floated a full 9000 miles to arrive at its new life in England.
Before the Focus could touchdown on UK soil, bringing a month-long voyage to a close, Andreas was confronted with the full weight of British bureaucracy. “The paperwork for leaving Australia wasn’t that bad,” he says, “all the difficulty was in trying to get it registered in the UK.” Andreas’ first attempt at passing an IVA was unsuccessful, forcing some alterations and a hectic turnaround to get the car successfully reassessed, registered and granted an MOT to achieve road legality. Oh, and did we mention Andreas had to handle all of this just weeks before his wedding?
Now the Mk3 can finally get back to what it’s good at: snapping necks and inspiring serious Blue Oval envy. Andreas checked in at Ford Fest and a recent Midlands STOC event, but the car made its British debut a couple of months earlier at Ford Fair 2018. Standing on the Car Enhancements UK display, it wasn’t left wanting for attention. “A lot of people have been following my progress in Australia and were asking about the car. It got a lot of attention!”
Four years earlier, Andreas had never even seen his ST. It didn’t take long for the pair to meet though: on arriving in Perth, Andreas immediately started looking for a new car. He wanted a hot hatch, he wanted to buy new and, if possible, he wanted something in his favourite colour, orange. All of which led him to a two car shortlist; it was time for the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTi to face off against the Mk3 Focus ST. A pair of factors swung him towards the Ford: it felt like a better car for the money, and it was available in Tangerine Scream. Brand new and completely standard, the ST swiftly settled into the role of enjoyable daily driver.
Then Andreas joined WA 5 Pots and EcoBooST 4s. Populated by local XR5, ST and RS Focus owners, the group turned Andreas’ head with all the possibilities to modify his motor. “I was one of those guys who thought ‘I’ll wait until the warranty’s over’,” Andreas laughs. “That didn’t happen!” Just three months after taking delivery, our guy was splitting international shipping costs with a friend to buy the Custom Performance Engineering cold air intake, Cobb intercooler and Cobb rear engine mount that are still on the car today.
Visual changes came next, thanks to an SS-Tuning bodykit which included a front splitter, side skirts and a rear diffuser. Rounder and less aggressive than the car’s current kit, it nevertheless added substantial aesthetic interest and kickstarted a relationship with the firm. “As soon as I’d fitted that kit, the SS-
Tuning team offered me the chance to be their representative in Australia,” Andreas explains, “I took them up on it, marketing their products and co-ordinating sales, so that’s why the car wears so many of their parts. It’s always easier to sell the stuff when it’s on your own car!”
As 2018 arrived, so did a new bodykit from SS-Tuning. The build was about to go big. Sharper and more exaggerated than before, the new kit adds flared wheelarches to the splitter, skirts and diffuser combo. The result is a hardcore track car aesthetic, yet the fitting process also pushed Andreas to consider a colour change. “Tangerine Scream isn’t easy to match,” he explains, “and painting the kit was the same cost as wrapping the car.” After speaking to a couple of friends, one of whom happened to be a 3M rep, Andreas was choosing between the latest vinyl shades. “He had access to all the new samples and I really liked the chameleon colours. It made the choice pretty clear! Even though it’s darker than the orange, it turns way more heads.”
Andreas’ work with the Ukrainian tuning house extends to the interior. The carbon fibre gear knob and the carbon fibre and alcantara handbrake provide a high gloss lift, as do the Streamline Carbon carbon fibre door sills, yet it’s just too hard to tear your eyes from the steering wheel. Featuring a flat top and bottom, both wrapped in lacquered carbon, it evokes the GT hypercar and invites comments wherever the car goes. “It was a gift from promoting sales,” he says, “and it’s one of those mods that, though it’s aesthetic, really makes you want to drive the car more: it’s so nice to use!”
Away from shimmering weave, Andreas has also injected the cabin with a shot of his personality, commissioning Gaugeface to customise the instrument binnacle with the logo of the New Jersey Devils, his favourite ice hockey team, and the outline of Martin Brodeur, one of the team’s greatest
SS Tuning flat-top steering wheel really sets off the customised interior