Ex­tra wide Fo­cus with tuned RS power, and ag­gres­sive looks.

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

Here are a cou­ple of facts for you to con­sider: the av­er­age gi­raffe, liv­ing out on the sa­van­nah and do­ing the usual gi­raffe stuff, will sleep for only twenty min­utes a day. The lion, on the other hand, can sleep for up to twenty hours a day. Same en­vi­ron­ment, and yet a to­tally dif­fer­ent ap­proach. Does this mean that the gi­raffe is hy­per­ac­tive and over-en­gaged, or that the lion is lazy and un­ad­ven­tur­ous – or both? Or nei­ther? One might ar­gue that the gi­raffe needs to re­con­sider its diet, given that it has to spend every wak­ing hour chew­ing leaves; the lion’s keen­ness for in­dis­crim­i­nately de­vour­ing other crea­tures pro­vides it with a lot of leisure time.

In a sense, the ecosys­tem of the African sa­van­nah is neatly mir­rored in the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Ford Fo­cus. That sounds like a mad thing to say, but stick with it: two lev­els of per­for­mance vari­ant were of­fered – the ST pro­vid­ing big-lunged thrills and in­sane power po­ten­tial to the every­man, while the halo RS model amped ev­ery­thing up to eleven, with a spec sheet pos­i­tively drip­ping in as­pi­ra­tional up­grades. Both of these cars used the 2.5-litre, 5-cylin­der, 20-valve Du­ratec ST en­gine. Same en­vi­ron­ment, and yet a to­tally dif­fer­ent ap­proach.

Be­ing the die-hard Ford fan that you are, you’ll pre­sum­ably be fa­mil­iar with the stan­dard specs. The ST of­fered 225bhp from its five-pot, while the RS boosted this num­ber to 301bhp with the help of a big­ger BorgWarner K16 turbo, forged crank, im­proved in­ter­cooler, uprated pis­tons, and a few other tricks and tweaks. A Quaife LSD and RevoKnuckle sus­pen­sion were thrown into the RS too, and the ex­te­rior aes­thet­ics were no­tice­ably beefed up.

What’s par­tic­u­larly com­pelling for the af­ter­mar­ket tuner is the shared ar­chi­tec­ture. With a bit of lat­eral think­ing, a small amount of head-scratch­ing, and the right amount of cof­fee, it’s pos­si­ble to play Dr Franken­stein and try to com­bine the el­e­ments of

the gi­raffe and the lion into one func­tional en­tity, cherry-pick­ing choice parts of the ST and the RS to cre­ate your own dream Fo­cus. That’s what An­drew Johns has been up to here, and the re­sult­ing mon­ster is re­ally quite im­pos­ing: an ST with RS-smash­ing power, more than a few RS up­grades, and a gen­eral sense of men­ace to sug­gest that this an­gry build would be far hap­pier maul­ing car­casses than munch­ing on del­i­cate fo­liage.

Now, it’s worth not­ing that An­drew has form with ex­treme mod­i­fi­ca­tions, his back cat­a­logue bristling with a di­verse spread of projects. “My first car was an Orion 1.6i Ghia,” he says, which is im­pres­sive in it­self. “Just an ex­haust and fil­ter on that one as I was just start­ing out, but I then went onto a Metro Turbo, an­other Orion, and then a full-on Max Power-style Peu­geot 205 GTI – full bodykit, the works. Af­ter that came a Re­nault 19 16v, then an Alfa Romeo 156 which again got a full bodykit, 19in wheels, cus­tom ex­haust, mas­sive au­dio, full re­trim with TVs in the head­rests… and then came this ST.”

It’s in­ter­est­ing to note the change in fo­cus with this Fo­cus, in that there’s far more em­pha­sis on per­for­mance than aes­thet­ics. That’s not to say he hasn’t had a bit of fun with the looks though, as those bru­tal Auto Spe­cial­ists wide arches keenly demon­strate… and you can’t re­ally go widearch with­out stuff­ing some mas­sive wheels in there, so An­drew’s opted for a set of 20in BK Rac­ing rims, mea­sur­ing a seam-bust­ing 10.5in wide apiece. More than enough to butch up those looks, and the ad­di­tion of the RS rear spoiler, RS bon­net vents and var­i­ous split­ters and dif­fusers show that it means busi­ness – but you’ll note that

“All of this adds up to 430bhp, which would be a very re­spectable num­ber for a tuned RS, never mind an ST”

it’s still proudly wear­ing the ST badge on the bootlid. This is no wannabe, no ex­er­cise in pas­tiche; what An­drew’s aimed for here is to turn the ST into its ul­ti­mate evo­lu­tion. It’s not a replica, it’s an al­ter­na­tive.

“I found this car on Auto Trader, and bought it to­tally stan­dard,” he con­tin­ues. “Af­ter the Alfa, I was just af­ter a fam­ily car.” Sure, but we all know what hap­pens when peo­ple say ‘I wasn’t plan­ning to mod­ify it’ – this stuff is in our blood, we just can’t help our­selves can we? And yes, OK, An­drew did man­age to be sen­si­ble for the first cou­ple of years, but then that cheeky voice in the back of his brain started whis­per­ing. You know that voice, right? It gets in­creas­ingly in­sis­tent un­til even­tu­ally it blocks out all ra­tio­nal­ity. So, the ST was packed off to Pum­abuild for the 300 treat­ment. “This was then changed to a 340-spec with some ad­di­tional mods, be­fore go­ing Stage 4 with RS in­ter­nals,” says An­drew. “When that died af­ter 1800 miles, Dar­ren and Ben at BD Per­for­mance in Wrex­ham worked their magic, along with a lit­tle help from James in South Wales, and when the car came back the en­gine was fit­ted with fully forged in­ter­nals.”

The parts-shar­ing and com­mon roots be­tween the ST and RS are what en­abled the power mods to es­ca­late with such en­thu­si­asm, and now An­drew’s ST en­gine boasts a re­mark­able spec: he’s run­ning the cams and the turbo from the RS as well as a Stage 2 RS in­ter­cooler; the lungs are aided by an Airtec RS in­duc­tion kit at one end and a Mon­goose Sec­tion 59 turbo-back ex­haust sys­tem at the other (per­fect ad­di­tion for a sen­si­ble fam­ily car, that) and, as well as

the afore­men­tioned forged in­ter­nals, it’s pack­ing a Revo 4+ tune. All of this adds up to 430bhp, which would be a very re­spectable num­ber for a tuned RS, never mind an ST.

Nat­u­rally, as he’s such a sea­soned vet­eran at this stuff, An­drew has taken a holis­tic ap­proach to all this. Throw­ing RS-andthen-some power into a stock ST chas­sis would prob­a­bly end very badly very quickly, so he’s seen fit to in­stall a Quaife LSD to keep ev­ery­thing slightly less hys­ter­i­cal, while stop­ping du­ties are taken care of by a frankly colos­sal set of 8-pot brakes from K-Sport. Good job he’d had his heart set on those enor­mous rims, right? And han­dling du­ties are fi­nessed by a fully-ad­justable BC coilover setup, mean­ing that he’s got pretty much the per­fect pack­age. Throw in the full RS in­te­rior that he’s care­fully swapped over and the mix-and-match ex­er­cise is com­plete.

Well… ‘com­plete’? Not quite. “I’ve got the full RS run­ning gear ready to swap over in the very near fu­ture,” he grins. “Gear­box, RevoKnuck­les, drive­shafts, the works. Oh, and a big­ger turbo…”

Crikey, the guy’s un­stop­pable. And per­haps the most fun part of all this is that there are al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple turn­ing up their noses and say­ing ‘Why didn’t he just buy an RS in the first place?’ Which, of course, en­tirely misses the point. Any­one can, in the­ory and within rea­son, go out and find them­selves a pet lion if they so wish. But it takes a lot more skill and in­ge­nu­ity to make one in a lab us­ing bits of gi­raffe. That’s some mad science.

Huge K-Sport 8-pots lurk be­hind the 20in BK rims

Part of the RS-up­date has seen the stock ST seats swapped out for the RS’s Sport­ster CS buck­ets

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.