Some cars are built up to the owner’s specification over the course of many years, with each part a quandry over which to use and how to do things. This is not one of those cars, this was built up to an impressive level in less than a year, with a more than thirty percent increase in power, numerous precautions taken to ensure smooth running as well as subtle but effective aesthetic improvements, this is one hot hatch…
Bought in February 2015, Danny’s ST was actually not the first choice of car, he went to the dealership with the intention of buying an Astra VXR. They no longer had any in stock, so, keeping an open mind, Danny had a browse and found a very low mileage and well looked after ST2.
Hearing the distinctive 5 pot rumble and pops and bangs from the exhaust sealed the deal, then the work began…
As you’ll see from the extensive list of modifications at the bottom of the article, a lot has been done, not only for performance, but also for engine health when being driven hard.
The usual bolts ons were taken care of, exhaust, intake and boost hoses to aid airflow, along with a remap to increase the power output, but this was just the start.
Being that the Focus ST is the RS’ little brother, sharing the same layout and engine platform, there are a lot of parts that can be added such as the bigger injectors, clutch and flywheel, combining to make a better and more capable base for modifying.
Danny also took the opportunity to strengthen the block by having shims inserted to reinforce the walls, essentially this is a weak part of the engine which can cause issues if not addressed appropriately.
The car also benefits from an aftermarket Airtec ‘stage 4’ front mount cooler and RS radiator, both make it possible to push the limits of the car more safely.
After a few tweaks and adding a more effective intake, it was possible to run more power by opting for the stage 2 map, provided by Revo. On the dyno recently, the car made a mighty (and safe) 343.5bhp and 395ft/lb of torque. Check the video below to see how it sounded!
By his own admission, the MK2 Focus is not the easiest engine bay to work on, with a lot crammed into a small space. That’s why much of the work has been carried out by AutoSpecialists, based in Essex, UK, they are a local tuning company who have a great deal of experience with the Ford platforms.
They have suggested additional modifications along the way, which Danny has considered, and ultimately bitten the bullet and listened to the experts. It’s not been unusual to see the ST on their ramps in for a tweak, or even general maintenance, (more on AutoSpecialists in a separate article).
So how do all of these modifications translate onto the road? The outcome is nothing less than brilliant, a torquey, drivable rocket. The power delivery is fairly linear, the pick up from rolling is fantastic, making it a formidable opponent in any friendly blast.
The ride is also good, which has been improved by adding Eibach pro springs all round, keeping body roll to a minimum and the stance purposeful. Brakes were also taken care of by uprating the discs, pads and fluid, as well as adding braided brake lines.
Don’t take my word for it, check the video below to see an on-board ride in the beast.
From the video, you may well notice some non standard gauges, all added in the name of safety when pushing the car hard. The central vents have been sacrificed to house an oil temperature gauge and a more accurate boost gauge, making it much easier to glance at and monitor. Both of these were supplied and hooked up by Ade from Little Devil Gauges.
Apart from anything, they look damn cool!
So with all this performance and uprated parts, it would be pointless to leave the exterior looking completely standard, of course that’s not really a problem, in Danny’s hands, some worthwhile touches have been added to enhance the car’s character.
The front grilles have been changed for Zunsport items, these really improve the overall look of the pre-facelift cars and I think are absolutely necessary. Along with this a front splitter to really ‘mean up’ the front end was added, as well as RS style bonnet vents. In my opinion, these really set the car apart from other ST’s, oozing menace from all angles. Any remaining standard plastics were painted black to match the theme.
At the other end, a finned rear diffuser in gloss black houses the aftermarket exhaust tips of the Mongoose turbo back with decat allowing for an insane amount of pops and bangs, and very often a few flames as well!
To finish it off, the matte black standard alloys. These weren’t always fitted, at one point, a set of genuine RS wheels were used, but in the interest of handling, they were changed back and shod with a set of Pirelli Pzero Nero GT tyres in 225/40/18 form.
So, in a short space of time, a lot has been achieved, from a quick family hatchback to a real beast that eats up tarmac like there’s no tomorrow – but what’s in store for the future?
Danny says he wants to further improve the handling by adding adjustable coilover suspension and enhancing the experience by installing some bucket seats. After that, it’s to the track to enjoy the outcome of his masterpiece. He’ll be on the Nurburging trip in August with me so that should be a good test for the car (and driver!)
I have no doubt that any changes or additions that are made to this car will be for the better. I strongly believe that this is the ultimate incarnation of the ST, with performance to rival its big brother, while still retaining its own character and not trying to be the RS.
To finish off, here’s one last video of the car in action and a few additional pictures for your enjoyment.