4 Over 5: Jose’s Mk3 Focus

Now that the generation is a few years old, more and more Mk3 Foci are being worked on and modified by enthusiasts around the globe. We are seeing new parts being fitted, more styles applied, and even some conversions appearing such as the first DCT-to-manual swap. One thing that has remained constant however, is that in North America the hatchback continues to be the favoured base for a project instead of the sedan.

More aftermarket parts are offered for hatchbacks so there are more options available to owners, and even from Ford directly the hatch has a larger catalogue of parts. Considering that the only difference is the area behind the rear doors (forward of that the two cars are identical) it’s amazing just how many aftermarket parts are only for the 5-door models and tease sedan owners.

That being said, there are some who opt for the path less traveled and pick up the version with a trunk. One such individual representing the sedan camp is José, with his 2012 Race Red Focus SE.

Joses Focus 11

While at first glance it may look rather simple, like any good project there are a number of subtle details that only those in the know would spot.

Joses Focus 13

One modification which is probably easy to see is the retrofitted projector in each headlight, the shroud for which has been given red accents to match the body. With that being the most noticeable aspect of the lights though, one may not immediately notice the clear turn signals and reflector delete – the headlights used were a set of Rebel Devil Customs’ (RDC’s) euro lights. North American Mk3 Foci have amber signals and reflectors but the European versions have this setup instead.

Also visible in the opening photo was one of the Focus Titanium fog light bezels which features a bit of Piano Black to contrast against the chrome. Replacing the all-chrome SE headlights and fog light bezels with Titanium-spec pieces became so common that Ford started offering them as part of an option package for the 2013 SEs – but only for the hatchbacks. Again, more support for hatches.

Joses Focus 14

Further updating the front end and continuing the headlights’ euro theme is one of my personal favourite details – RDCs’ euro grilles. Rather than the horizontal lines of the NA grilles these feature a more complex honeycomb-like pattern.

Joses Focus 2

Keeping with the red and black colourway are a set of overlays for the Ford emblems in red and CF print.

Joses Focus 15

If at this point you’re thinking that the focus for this Focus (I wasn’t passing up the chance to say that. Sorry!) was cosmetics, think again. Unfortunately the aftermarket has greatly favoured the ST when it comes to power-adders but José has taken advantage of what is available to the naturally-aspirated owners and bumped up the power of the 2.0 with a few parts. Bringing air into the engine is a Steeda CAI, and to help with the exhaling part of the process part of the stock exhaust was replaced with a custom axle-back with an RDC tip.

Joses Focus 1

The final upgrade working to make the car more powerful is a 91-Octane tune from Focus-Power. As I said, NA owners don’t have many options so this is currently all that can be done to improve numbers, but there are also a few dress-up parts to choose from such as the SMC oil cap that replaces the stock piece on José’s sedan.

Joses Focus 7

Going back to the power-adders, the added grunt is not only used for daily driving duties but also helps to improve José’s times when he heads out for some autocrossing.

Joses Focus 4

Power is only one part of the equation obviously so the car’s suspension has also seen some attention. V-Maxx springs were fitted to lower the car’s center of gravity and a pair of Focus ST front struts replace the stock items.

Joses Focus 5

Along with the previously mentioned upgrades however, this Focus features one special addition which José can proudly state is the first of its kind in the world. He took on the challenge and successfully retrofitted the OEM Select-Shift system which allows him to change gears with a rocker switch located on the gear knob.

Joses Focus 3

Moving inside the car, various trim pieces were wrapped in red carbon-fiber vinyl and the steering wheel’s badge received an overlay as well. Even the new select-shift knob was partially wrapped.

Joses Focus 12

When the car isn’t weaving around cones the new wheels can be seen in detail – with the Focus having grown in size over the years the current generation can hold surprisingly large wheels and not look odd. José opted for 18s, a size I personally feel is just right for these cars. They’re Styluz M575-S1s, measuring in at 8 inches wide with an offset of 36 pushing them out a bit as compared to the factory wheels . Popping nicely against the silver are the gold lug nuts holding them in place….

Joses Focus 10

…which match the custom decals he requested.

Joses Focus 9

Perhaps by now you’ve noticed a couple more exterior changes, which frankly should have been included on these cars from the factory (are you listening Ford?). José colour-matched his OEM side skirts as well as the rear valance, but that’s where he did things just a little differently than others.

Joses Focus 8

As I had mentioned at the start, hatchbacks have more options even from Ford and one piece in particular is an optional lip kit. The rear valance features a diffuser and has a distinctive split between the body-coloured portion and said diffuser which is black. José mimicked that design on his rear valance by bringing the red down a bit further in the middle, instead of keeping the break straight as is usually done. Here you can also spot that custom axle-back exhaust. No more lunchbox here!

Joses Focus 6

So, if you were to buy a Mk3 Focus today, would you go with the hatchback or accept one less door and take a sedan? The sedans may be given less attention than their siblings but people like José are showing that they can be made rather special as well. I’m positive there’s still more up his sleeve too!

On behalf of the ThreeTwenty team I would also like to give a special thanks to Dallas Guild who took the photos of José’s Focus so that they could be shared here for this feature!

-Bill

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