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Wheeler Dealers Mike and Elvis take on a brilliant fast Ford

A Focus ST gets the Wheeler Dealers treatment

Car enthusiasts love a quick Ford and the Focus ST is a cracking machine, not to mention a future classic. But this one needed some major work before it would be ready to entertain.

Mike has long been a fan of the fast Ford, and was certain that the Focus ST had the makings of a future classic. So it was time to get one into the Wheeler Dealers workshop, and this example was something of a bargain – just £2795.

Before heading off to see it Mike knew that the engine management warning light was illuminated, so took along a diagnostic tool to check the problem. A failed oxygen sensor was the answer, but while the test drive revealed strong performance the blue smoke from the exhaust wasn’t such good news…

But it was a cheap buy and Elvis was enthusiastic about the quick Focus, so it was time to get investigating and discover what was wrong with the characterful 5-cylinder engine. Initial checks revealed nothing, so a cylinder leakage test was next and with air escaping from the dipstick tube the ace mechanic knew that plenty of work was going to be needed.

That started with removing the cylinder head where Elvis quickly spotted obvious wear to the bores of cylinders four and five, so that meant a trip to Knight Engine Services in Northampton. With the engine block attached to a high-tech CNC milling machine just half a millimetre of metal could be removed from each bore, and once finished and honed the ST’s brilliant motor was ready to be rebuilt.

The cylinder head had been skimmed, too, and Elvis spent plenty of time carefully checking and measuring the components – the clearance between camshaft and followers in particular – before reassembly. It was soon back in the car, though, and with that faulty oxygen sensor replaced it was fit for many thousands of miles. It had cost £1100, though…

A trip to admire Ford’s heritage collection was a proper treat, but Mike wanted to get on with addressing a smaller issue and that was the worn driver’s seat bolster. Professional trimmer, Dave, removed the old seat cover to find the foam beneath needed repairs but that was a straightforward job. And using a second-hand cover for the repair meant it was a better match. It looked great.

There were just a few cosmetic jobs needed to finish the latest project, and the first of them saw Elvis source a set of vinyl ST decals which he carefully applied to the bodywork. The alloy wheels also had some damage so they were professionally refurbished and resprayed in silver for an original look. And with those things done the latest project was ready for the road.

It certainly performed strongly on the test drive, and there was a treat in store as the boys met up with owners of other fast Fords. There were some great cars to admire, but it was also a chance to meet potential buyer, Maria. Already keen on the cracking ST, she was more than happy to hand over £6000. Mike had earned a tidy profit, too!

Mike says: “Wheeler Dealers is probably the only car show that can get away with doing an Allegro Vanden Plas and a Volvo 240 estate! However, we know our audience really well, and we can’t seem to escape what they really want. That is a fast Ford, so last night, we hit the sweet spot of the next Prince in line for the Crown.


“This five cylinder champ is desperate to sit on the throne, and although it had its inherent problems, we soon got on top of them in the Wheeler Dealers Workshop. There was some serious engineering work from Elvis and a clever seat repair by yours truly. The result was a car that will undoubtedly be worth double if not triple its value in just a few years. Back next week with more from the workshop. See you then.”

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