It’s time to fully explain everything that has happened in the last month, involving Mario’s (now) old Focus ST.
At the end of the day these are just cars, but for folks like us of course they become so much more; a passion, projects, art. For about the last three years Mario and I had been building our cars together and they became quite well known as a pair. They were often side by side at shows and events around town, were featured together in Performance Ford magazine, had each earned individual features, and had gathered a small assortment of awards and trophies between them as well. We shared parts and ideas, and saw the two cars we had bought brand new and bone stock become two machines that we were immensely proud of.
At the start of May (2 days before Driven in fact) Mario was on his way home from work when he was hit. Ketchup thankfully did its job and protected Mario, allowing him to walk away from what was a rather serious collision. If the timing were a second or two different and the other car had struck him in a different spot it could have been worse too, and fortunately no one else was in the car with him. From there the ST sat at a local Ford dealership while everything was being sorted out with insurance.
Ultimately Ketchup was deemed a total loss due to the extent of the damage and so we waited to find out what the buy back price would be. Swapping the drive train from an ST into my car – Mustard – had always been in the long-term plans but all hinged on finding a suitable donor some day, and all of a sudden we found ourselves possibly having one. We had even joked about swapping the engines between the two cars (or more like I joked and Mario shot the idea down immediately haha) but we never thought that Ketchup would actually one day be the donor for my car.
Finally, about two weeks ago Mario found out what insurance wanted for buy back and it was a reasonable amount so I agreed and we took Ketchup back. From there it was towed to my shop where we have been given room to work on it – and we need to extend a huge thank you to my boss Lawrence for generously allowing us to keep it there as without a place to tear it down, this project wouldn’t even get off the ground.
The ST is a little higher mileage than my car (having just turned over 76000 kilometers when it was hit) but that’s not as important to me as the condition of the engine. I know the full history of the car and know that Mario looked after it properly. He enjoyed it of course, but never abused the engine or mistreated it. It was driven responsibly and maintained properly as well. For those reasons, and the fact we could let part of Ketchup live on in Mustard and create something special with it, we agreed that this is the best drive train to use for my car. I’ll happily accept the slight mileage jump for having the reassurance that the engine was looked after properly, and overall the mileage isn’t that high anyway, nor will it climb that quickly in mine.
Ketchup is currently sitting at my shop missing a number of components, and the drive train is just about ready to be pulled out now. The extra parts are gradually being sent out to friends and fellow owners we know through our forums and networks, and once that’s all taken care of it’ll be time to start replacing the various components that got damaged in the collision.
There have been a few ST swaps completed already (4 at the time of this post), but Mustard is scheduled to be the first in Canada. There remains a lot of work ahead, but we’re excited for what the finished product will be and are pleased that the ST’s heart will live on. We did a lot together with Mustard and Ketchup over the last three years, and here’s hoping that we’ll continue to do so for many more to come…
…but with them as one car, not two.