Work hard kids, and you too can have a cool col­lec­tion of Fords.

Fast Ford - - CONTENTS - Words DAN BE­VIS / Pho­tos ADE BRANNAN

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

Those banded steels suit the Mk2 Fez per­fectly

The RS Turbo re­cently had a health check and dyno run, where it re­vealed a re­spectable 183bhp

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