FAST FORD TRIO
Work hard kids, and you too can have a cool collection of Fords.
The lottery wishlist. Everyone has one. For some people, the fantasy shopping would centre around all those aspirational models that they’d never otherwise have a hope in hell of affording; the concours RS500s, and GT40s, and RS200 Group B survivors. For others it’d be a case of getting the band back together, tracking down mint versions of all the cars they owned or aspired to when they were younger, or amassing a retrospective showcase of the cool cars their parents had when they were kids. For Darrell Hobbs, it’s a concerted effort to pull together the finest examples of Ford’s hot hatches across the generations – but we have two caveats here: first of all, this is no pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, he’s actually making it happen for real. And secondly, he didn’t ensnare the Thunderball to make all this come true – it’s all down to hard graft and working his fingers bloody to build up the car collection of his dreams.
“I’ve always been into Fords, ever since I was a kid,” he says. “I clearly remember my dad’s red Series 2 RS Turbo, that was immaculate – since then I’ve been hooked, so I guess this expensive hobby is
his fault!” Sounds about right, but Darrell certainly doesn’t begrudge his old man sending him down this automotive path. After all, just look at the splendour that surrounds him.
Let’s take them in chronological order, shall we? The Mk2 Fiesta is the most intensive and radical build among the collection, made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s based on a mint, original 33k-mile shell.
“It all started with my previous project, another Mk2 Fiesta which I had to sell due to the loss of storage,” he recalls. “I’d had the whole thing resprayed including the underside, a rollcage fitted, all I had to do was get the engine in – but annoyingly I had no choice but to sell. I regretted it straight away, and when I saw this Mk2 a couple of months later I just knew I had to finish what I started!”
This was around seven years ago, Darrell buying the solid low-miler as a bog-standard 1.1, from a local guy who’d saved it from the Kia dealership where it had been traded in. Thankfully this pristine shell wasn’t destined for the ignominy of scrappage!
“I still had a lot of parts from the previous build, so this was perfect,” says Darrell. “For the first couple of years the car sat in the garage while I saved up the money to afford the remaining parts and all the labour to get it done the way I wanted it. I went all over the place for parts – Birmingham for the exhaust, Southampton for the rollcage, everywhere! Wherever possible I got the bits brand new, there was no expense spared.”
That’s a contentious phrase, ‘no expense spared’, as it often implies people detached from the build with more money than sense, but Darrell’s a grafter and every penny that’s gone into this build has been carefully considered. And once the requisite funds had been amassed, the Fiesta was sent to Danny at Stellar Paintwork to remove the rubstrips and weld up the holes they left, roll the arches, and spray and fit the rollcage. On getting the car home, Darrell fitted some coilovers and stuck it on XR2 pepperpots, and it was all starting to look pretty tasty.
“After all this, I took it to my good mate Lee Warren, dumped it on his drive along with a vanload of parts, and got him to do the conversion from the stock 1.1 it was to the little weapon it is now,” he laughs. “He did a fantastic job, it’s so much fun to drive and it’s never let me down!”
The teeny 1100 was ousted in favour of a 2.0-litre Zetec on twin 45 Webers, running an Ashley 4-branch and Magnex system, which rather alters the car’s character; with its restomod appearance and racy upgrades, Darrell was pleased as punch to be haring about in this hilarious creation… and then it got even better. “I managed to persuade a mate to trial-fit his banded steels to the car,” he smirks. “Safe to say he never got them back! I just had to buy them off him.” And that was that, job jobbed – a fastroad tearaway that gets used hard at every possible opportunity.
…but this wasn’t the end of Darrell’s Fiesta odyssey. Around a year after the Mk2 was completed, he spotted a Mk3 Fiesta RS Turbo for sale, and immediately knew that he had to make it his own. The only minor obstacle was that it was in Dundee, and he lives near London. But all these people who reply to ‘for sale’ posts with ‘if only you were closer’ clearly don’t realise that cars themselves are means of moving about the place; Darrell’s got the right idea, and having interrogated the seller on the phone for over an hour, he decided to go up the following day for a look-see. After a 3:30am start, he’d arrived in Dundee in his van by 11am and, having been mighty impressed by the test drive, slapped down a deposit and arranged to come back and collect it the following weekend. The next journey up was taken by plane from Luton Airport, and Darrell and his brother Max drove the RS Turbo all the way back down again in one hit. “It was a beautiful day,” he smiles. “The sun was shining, the windows down, that T3 turbo spooling away. We had a few little tear-ups and she didn’t miss a beat.”
This all happened during November, and by the time the sun was really blaring the following summer Darrell was starting to make plans. A little age-related remedying was required here and there, to repair rust in the sills and around the boot lock, plus the front end was pretty stone-chipped, so all of this was taken care of and it came back looking like new.
“Again, my mate Lee took care of the servicing and cambelt and everything, it always runs spot-on,” he says. “This summer I took it to Chris Todd for a fine tune and setup and it made a healthy 183bhp on the rollers, which I was pretty happy with. I
The RS Turbo recently had a health check and dyno run, where it revealed a respectable 183bhp