This ambitious Ford V-8 swap demonstrates committed Focus
Ever since the heyday of the flathead V-8, aftermarket Ford fanatics have found a way to wedge eight cylinders of glory in just about every Blue Oval product: Flathead V-8s into Model Ts, small-blocks into everything from Model As to Pintos, Coyote swaps into Fox-body Mustangs, and modern Godzilla swaps that are now sprinkling across FoMoCo’s slice of the Internet. Even Ford itself insisted on shoving a V-8 into the third-generation Taurus, creating the 1996 Taurus SHO.
So what happened when the global replacement for the venerable Escort made its splash on the automotive scene? You better believe a few V-8-hungry American Ford enthusiasts were keen on some swappin’ to make the global-platform Focus far spicier than bland meat and potatoes.
While that V-8 engine is the star, the highlight of this ambitious 2003 Focus hatchback conversion lies in the custom work designed by Kugel Komponents, including the highly involved switcheroo that turns this humble wrong-wheel-drive econo-hatch into a rear-drive sleeper. This example, listed on Bring a Trailer and bid to $7070 as of this writing with three days to go on the auction, boasts Ford’s Windsor V-8. Of course, other V-8 Foci out there in the ether employ Ford’s Modular V-8 or even (gasp) Chevy’s LS-series under their hoods. While the seller of this project states that a “Cobra intake manifold” was used, it’s in fact the GT-40 intake designed exclusively for the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. (A distinction without a difference that, by the way, does nothing to diminish the sheer madness of a V-8 Focus.)
The air conditioning doesn’t work, what makes the inside of this car is nonetheless special because of how much is left untouched. Check out the stock seats, airbags, gauges and even the factory Ford Audiophile stereo! After watching the video, I suspect the factory SVT tachometer might not have been converted to read an eight cylinder engine’s pulse, but the clean look is better than an aftermarket tach strapped to the Focus’ steering column. In fact, the only noteworthy change I can make out is a different shift boot and knob for the Tremec gearbox. So nice, so sleepery.
The Focus’ rear end doesn’t even have an exhaust system nor a gas tank, meaning that fuel has to be added by (carefully) filling the fuel cell inside the carpeted hatchback. The exhaust exits out of the front bumper via reversed exhaust headers, which is begging for a rumble-killing twin-turbo conversion to make this sleeper Focus downright comatose … until you hit the loud pedal.
There’s no doubt this car is the result of considerable labor and cubic money, especially with the application of Ford’s Orange Fury paint. The color looks factory and works well with the Focus SVT wheels and bumpers. The whole package is just an unlikely hot rod done right. How much of the conversion cost will be recovered in the final bid? We’ll have to wait for the auction clock to run out, but a car this unique is sure to attract its share of curious customers.