With the last two install posts covering updates on Selsun, let’s move back to Mustard for tonight with the conclusion of its flare install! The first of these three posts looked at the unboxing and test fitting of the new pieces, while the second then covered the trimming of the donor fenders and their brackets in preparation for the incoming wider front track. Everything had been mocked up, the necessary cuts were made, and even the panel gaps had been set (and the panels’ mounting tabs’ locations marked with tape) so that post-paint it would be a relatively easy process to get everything sitting nicely. There was nothing left to do at that point that couldn’t be tackled after paint, so the parts were sent out shortly after – and today we pick things up following their return.
As it was noted in the previous post, the bumper’s cuts had been saved for the actual install of the flares as being plastic there was no need to worry about an exposed edge so it didn’t need to accompany them to the body shop – rust wouldn’t exactly be an issue. The cut edges of the bumper wouldn’t be easily visible either so not being painted wouldn’t impact how the car showed; not to mention the cost to respray and then rewrap the bumper in paint protection film (PPF) would’ve significantly added to the final bill.
And as a quick side note in case you spied the wheels in the above photos – when Selsun borrowed the Integrales from Mustard Mario and I decided to throw the OEM 19s on the sedan for fun. With a spacer thrown in the fitment was quite impressive! It did leave something to be desired as far as function was concerned though.
But back to the flares: by now we were only a few days away from Driven so there was definitely no time to waste, but with all of the effort that had already been spent testing and adjusting everything prior to the body shop these final steps went by fairly quickly and effortlessly.
Speaking of, a big thank-you goes to Speedy Collision for the amazing work on the various pieces, as well as the speedy service. Before the flares were fitted for good however they had one more trip to make; they were promptly dropped off at The Auto Protectors to be fully wrapped in PPF to keep them safe from rocks and other debris. The bumper finishers would be prone to chips given that they sat on the nose of the car, and the inside edges of the flares would be pelted with anything that flew off of the tires. With that taken care of as well, at last it was time to get the car back together.
Step one was to fit the cut fenders, being extra careful to not hit them on anything and damage the still very fresh paint. These had not been covered in PPF at all as most of the surface would be covered by the flares, and the small sections that would remain exposed were spots I could wrap myself. Note the green tape denoting the position of the fender’s mounting tabs, as mentioned earlier.
One more quick diversion from the flares: you may have seen a few more pieces resting on top of the tub in the photo above. These had also been dropped off at Speedy for some fresh paint but obviously it wasn’t Yellow Blaze. These are some of the trim pieces for a Mk3’s center console as well as the middle of the dashboard. Since I was getting parts painted anyway I took the opportunity to get these redone as well in preparation for the eventual overhaul (and completion?) of the interior of the car, whenever that happens. Maybe for 2020? I’m honestly not sure.
Anyway, obviously they were finished in white to match the Focus’ wheels but it wasn’t some randomly-picked white paint. It’s General Motors’ Bright White, the same paint that my Grand Prix wears! It happened to be the right shade and will be a nice little nod to that car whenever these pieces get fitted.
It had been mentioned way back in the flare unboxing post, but now you get to properly see one little detail we had been waiting to include for quite a while. Not only had we set aside Ketchup’s surviving fender three years ago for this install, but we’d also always planned to hide a little easter egg on it in the form of some of the original Race Red paint being left exposed.
We went back and forth for quite a while, trying to figure out where to put this. We wanted it somewhere that it could be seen without having to lift the car or remove anything but at the same time I wanted it hidden when the car was all closed up (hood down, doors shut). In the end the door jamb was the chosen location so a spare decal was thrown on prior to the fender being painted, and was then removed after.
The end result was just about perfect for what we’d been trying to achieve. With the door shut you can’t see it at all, but if you open the door and peer into the gap you can read the text and see Ketchup’s paint perfectly. It’s little details like this that we really enjoy – most will never know it’s there and even if someone should spy it, they won’t know what it means unless they’ve been following the site or are really familiar with the cars.
With the passenger fender now installed for good as well, it was time to get to the flares themselves and see the car’s main 2019 update really come together.
With the tight timeframe I didn’t take many photos during the final fitting of the flares but at this point it was basically the same procedure as we’d already carried out on Sriracha, and would later carry out on Dijon…
…which means I can borrow a few of photos from Sriracha’s flare install to illustrate the method. Double-sided tape provided the main source of adhesion, with some butyl sealing things where needed. The adhesive you see Mario applying here wasn’t used this time around.
Just as with Sriracha’s flares we also ran a bolt through the bottom of each for extra security…
…and then the inner edges were finally thinned down so that the extra width provided could actually be used by the tires. This was the messiest part of the whole install – after the trimming there was dust in every nook and cranny of the wheel wells, and even bits of the engine bay.
With the main flares in place and secure, the final steps were then to cut into the bumper to gain the final bit of clearance needed and fit its finisher pieces. I’ll admit that these cuts hurt a bit but at least it wasn’t the car’s original bumper. The ST piece had been drilled into before for mounting the Cups and Mountune Spoiler anyway (not to mention the previously-run E Glove splitter), but making these cuts meant it would only be usable on a widened Focus from here on out.
There are two marks to note here: the outline of the bumper finisher was traced to denote where the bumper’s PPF would be cut and removed, and a second mark was made to show where to actually cut for clearance (basically, along the body line).
Just like with the fenders there wasn’t much material that had to be removed, but it was still essential for everything to clear and play together nicely. It was definitely easier to cut the bumper than it had been the fenders, given the different material.
With the finishers installed it was then a mad dash to get the car assembled and cleaned in time for Driven (so, business as usual) so that the new look could be shown off – hence why there are no more photos from the reassembly. The last item on the to-do list however, so that I could truly call the flare/fender install complete, was a new set of the car’s Type One-inspired “MKNCO EDTN” (MacKenCo Edition) decals. The original fenders had worn a set of these for years – going way back, you’ll even see them in the photos for the 2014 Performance Ford feature – and I couldn’t leave them off the car. Two new decals were cut and applied in the exact same spot as those on the original fenders, and the flares even happened to frame them nicely with the size and shape of the cutout!
You obviously all know what the finished product looks like – with the flares on, old livery removed, and Tarmacs restored – but what are my thoughts on the flares themselves? Were they worth the time and money?
Yes, absolutely. The flares are up there as one of my favourite changes ever made to the sedan because while they’re relatively subtle – even almost blending in entirely at the right angles – they’ve also added a lot to the car’s appearance. Just like with Sriracha, the reverse-stagger look and having a bit of tire visible when viewed head-on makes the whole package look much more aggressive.
Even excluding a portion of the body shop bill for the extra costs associated with the prepping and painting of the interior trim, this was a relatively expensive modification to make to the car. Granted, I did escalate things a bit by picking up extra fenders and having the flares fully wrapped in PPF (plus, Yellow Blaze is more expensive than some other colours) so a similar install could definitely be carried out for a lower total cost, but it was all money well spent in my opinion. With the flares fitted, I might even go so far as to call the exterior…complete?
Yeah right. We all know there’s no stopping this thing from getting even more out of control.