Focus STedan – Welcome To The Party
We’ve brought on long-time follower Bill MacKenzie as an official Project ST contributor. Most of you will recognize Bill as the owner of the 2012 Focus SE “STedan” we featured last year as a PST Reader’s Ride
When we learned Bill was going forward with the full mechanical ST conversion to his sedan we knew we had to cover the process here on the site, and we’re very fortunate that he has offered to let us give our readers the inside scoop.
We need to mention up front that there’s some added drama behind the opportunity that presented itself to Bill in the way of some very bad luck a good friend and fellow ST-er Mario Da Roza experienced with his Focus ST, but fortunately for all, there’s a happy ending in store.
We’re going to let Bill take it from here in getting you up to speed on what’s taken place since his last feature, some insight into what we can expect in the upcoming months, and how we also managed to turn this into a two-for-one contributor deal with Mario’s new project getting the PST spotlight as well.
I suppose the best place to start is with an introduction. My name is Bill MacKenzie, and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, along with my friend Mario Da Roza. In the fall of 2011 I bought a yellow 2012 Focus SE sedan and about a year and a half later Mario bought a red 2013 Focus ST.
Fast-forward through a few years and a lot of work, and we had a pair of Foci that we were immensely proud of. Ketchup and Mustard, as they had come to be known, were a regular sight together at local events and thanks to forums, my blog officialThreeTwenty, and a magazine feature they had each become well known beyond our city limits as well.
Each car had received many modifications, with my sedan featuring a full ST exterior conversion, new lights front and rear, coilovers, a big brake kit, and various drive train upgrades. Mario’s ST had received the air suspension from fifteen52’s own Project ST “Stanced” project car, a number of subtle interior and exterior modifications, an upgraded stereo, and mechanically was Stage 3. Each also sat on a set of fifteen52 wheels; I had opted for white Turbomacs and Mario selected silver Tarmacs.
The evolution of each car was documented as part of the content on my blog, but earlier this year I started talking with PST’s main editor Brad Beardow, and it was decided that the continued builds of both Ketchup and Mustard would also be featured here on the Project ST site. This was an opportunity Mario and I were very excited about to say the least!
Sadly just a few hours after we agreed on this, Mario was in a collision on his way home from work. Another car hit him at high speed and caused a serious amount of damage to the ST. Thankfully the Mk3 Focus platform is a very safe one and Mario was able to walk away from the crash, but things were not looking good for Ketchup.
After a couple of weeks of dealing with insurance it was finally determined that the ST was a write-off. We were very sad to hear this considering the time and effort put into the car, but we already had a Plan B in place in the event that it couldn’t be repaired and immediately set things into motion.
Longer-term readers may remember that my sedan was actually featured last year in a Reader’s Ride article, in which it was mentioned that as part of my future plans I intended to replace the original naturally-aspirated engine with the 2.0L EcoBoost out of an ST, to complete the conversion and have the proper power plant to go along with the sedan’s ST exterior. All I was waiting on was a suitable donor vehicle to be found and all of a sudden we had one; Mario’s car. We bought it back from insurance and it was immediately towed to the shop I work at so that I could begin stripping it.
Now of course this whole ordeal meant that Mario was in need of a new car and he went straight back to the Ford dealership to get one. A new Focus ST or RS were two candidates but in the end Mario decided to try out the smaller and lighter little brother instead – a Fiesta ST. Opting to pick up a 2016 model in order to get the new Sync 3 system, he found an Orange on Orange example and took home what we now refer to as Sriracha.
It almost sounds sad to refer to the Fiesta as his Focus’ replacement, so the term I personally prefer is ‘successor’. In the three years Mario had his Focus it became a rather accomplished car, picking up a good number of awards at local events as well as the aforementioned magazine feature. Coming straight from a project of that magnitude, keeping the Fiesta stock was never going to be a consideration and before he even drove it off of the lot a few small pieces found their way on. Later that day a new tune was loaded and many parts are currently in the mail en route to him now. Fortunately for everyone who’s interested to see how Mario works his magic on the new ST, the Project ST website has added a special section just for Mario’s new project Fiesta Sriracha – expect to see regular updates!
Looking ahead, in the middle of August is one of the biggest local car shows of the year and both my Focus and Mario’s Fiesta will be taking part in it. Our hope is to not only have the Fiesta fitted with new suspension, exterior modifications, and drivetrain upgrades, but also to have Ketchup’s old engine powering the sedan by that point. We definitely have our work cut out for us but with the support of our friends, family, and companies like fifteen52, we should be able to see it all through.
Before I end this post today I want to extend a big thank you to Brad and the rest of the team at fifteen52 for allowing us the opportunity to work with them and share our cars here on Project ST! With the collision this introduction had to be postponed for a while but now that things have been sorted out we can start providing the planned updates. Mario is having a blast with his new Fiesta, and I’m excited for the major bump in power that my Focus will receive. The two of us have had a lot of fun with our cars together over the last few years, and now we begin the next chapter.
Hopefully you all enjoy following along!
– Bill MacKenzie