We take a look back at some of the epic features that graced the pages of our sister title Fast Ford magazine. This time it’s Darren’s Mk2 Focus RS from 2018…
It was my dad who got me into cars – and mainly Fords,” says Darren Page, as we manoeuvre his gleaming blue RS before the snapper’s lens. “If I’m honest, a lot of the work on this car was done simply so that I could spend time with him, doing something we both enjoy.” It’s a story we hear a lot – the automotive passion gets passed down the generations; if your mum or dad is a petrolhead, it’s pretty much a given that you will be too. And in some cases, as with Darren’s Mk2 Focus, this passion gets nurtured and curated until something really rather extreme emerges.
“We were always in the local main dealer, as dad knew everyone,” he continues. “I used to collect the brochures they had in the showroom with the whole range of new cars in; I still have them in the parents’ loft in fact, right back to when you could get Mk2 Fiestas, Capris, XR4x4s and so on. I just used to sit in my room flicking back and forth looking at the pictures and specs.”
It was with a certain inevitability that when he grew old enough to drive, Darren would find himself owning a string of Fords. His back catalogue positively bristles with them, including the likes of a Series 2 RS Turbo, an XR4i, a whole bunch of Orion Ghias, various things with ST badges, a couple of Mk2 Escorts, and a Series 1 RS Turbo that once graced a magazine cover – along with a whole bunch of other hot Fords. So how did this Focus come about?
Well, it turned out that Darren wasn’t solely dedicated to the Blue Oval, and had gone down the Subaru route for a while, creating some fairly substantial big-power builds. Then, around four years ago, he found himself running a slammed VW T5 on banded steels along with his Series 1 RS Turbo, plus a blue carbon-wrapped Smart, and he was pretty content with his lot. But one day while Darren was at work his dad popped in, and we already know what kind of an influence Page Sr can be…
“He suggested we pop out for a McDonald’s, then maybe nip down to Brighton to look at an Ultimate Green RS he’d seen at a dealer’s,” Darren recalls. “So we had our Maccy D’s, and the RS turned out to be Performance Blue, and I bought it there and then.”
Blimey. There’s nothing like being impulsive, is there? And why not, eh? Life’s too short for what-ifs, you might as well enjoy yourself. So our plucky serial modder found himself the owner of a stock Lux 1 with 28k on the clock and, like everyone always says, the plan was to keep it totally standard and just enjoy it for what it was. Yeah, right. In almost no time at all, Darren was on the blower to Lee at Devil Developments, and in the twinkling of an eye the Focus was spending the day there being fitted with 750cc injectors, induction kit, full Milltek decat system, Airtec Stage 2 intercooler, AS plenum and Revo 4+ software. All of this added up to a tidy 415bhp, which would have been plenty for most people. But Darren is not most people. Besides, he wasn’t just doing this to amuse himself. He had his old man lurking in the background making mischievous suggestions too!
A set of Eibach springs and 20mm wheel spacers came soon after, along with the frankly devastating big brake kit from K-Sport – peep through the front wheel spokes, you’ll spot the mighty 8-pot calipers. It’s almost as if the fellas had even more power in mind…
“It was pretty fun like this and that was how it was going to stay, until Lee mentioned they had a special offer on forged internals,” Darren grins. “Rude not to, right? So back it went for rods and pistons, belts and so on. About a thousand miles later I was with my dad racing a mate down a runway, and at about 160mph we had what later turned out to be a slight component failure – a bit scary, but the lovely man from the RAC got us home. We made contact with Lee – on a Sunday – and he was waiting at my work with his recovery truck before we even arrived, that’s service!”
This was a few years back, and Lee at Devil’s had been hard at work behind the scenes on Syvecs development, so while Darren’s RS was back there being fixed it made a certain amount of sense to upgrade to Syvecs S6+ standalone management. In fact, his car was the first Focus to run this new publicly-released ECU, and it made a strong 426bhp right away. Darren and his dad made a quick video of the car coming off a roundabout and flat-shifting up a hill in the dark; within 48 hours the video had 70,000 views and Lee’s phone was ringing off the hook with people desperate to upgrade to Syvecs!
“The car was awesome in that spec, and once again I told myself that was how it was going to stay,” he says, “until I blew it up at Ringland! And that’s when things started to get silly…”
He’s not kidding. The ensuing rebuild saw some mighty upgrades, including a Precision 6266 turbo, 1,000cc injectors, Stage 1 Newman cams and a breather kit, while the Eibachs were ousted in favour of KW V3 coilovers. A full chassis makeover followed, featuring Summit front and rear upper strut braces, Hardrace adjustable rear toe arms and camber arms, Whiteline adjustable rear drop links and anti-roll bar, poly front ARB bushes and steering rack mounts, and a Whiteline anti-lift kit, all of which was then corner-weighted with custom geometry by NAD UK.
“It was around this time that I met Aaron at AMD Innovations,” says Darren. “He was helping rebrand my business by designing logos and so on; we got talking and he ended up wrapping the Focus. Being a detailer by trade you may think it’s silly having your own car wrapped, but I was working 80+ hour weeks, not including all the running about with the car and I just couldn’t maintain it to the standard I wished – so it was re-machined, ceramic-coated, then wrapped for protection.”
At this time the car was making around 550bhp, something Darren describes as ‘clearly not enough’, so the decision was made to once again make the trip to Devil Developments – swapping the Precision 6266 for a 6466, and changing the cast manifold for a tubular Nortech item, while the fuel system was again upgraded and a bigger intercooler fitted. A larger breather kit and oil cooler also appeared, and by this point the limit of the Milltek system was being reached, so Ben at Devil’s made up a custom 3.5in system with one box and a single 5.5in tail (outwardly rolled like an old-school Saph Cossie), which flows beautifully and sounds absolutely monstrous. The car’s now making 604bhp, or 673bhp on a 30% meth mix, which seems to have satisfied Darren’s urges for the time being.
“I’ve always said I’ll stop when the car starts to get unusable, and in my opinion 600bhp-plus on pump fuel is on the limit so that’s it for now, no more,” he reckons. “I’ve got a 220bhp supercharged MINI which I’ve built to feed the modding addiction for a while, but that’s nearly done now also… but yes, people’s reactions to the Focus are always amazing, being this colour; with the noise, and the screamer pipe out the bonnet, it certainly gets attention!”
So what’s next? “Ah, it’s time to move on,” Darren laments. “I fancy a new project… I’m not saying what, but it’s an entirely new direction for me, one that I never thought I’d go in, and if I can pull it off it’ll be pretty epic.” Mysterious indeed, and you can bet your bottom dollar that his dad will be egging him on all the way. Just look at this magnificent Focus they’ve created. With this sort of form, and so many unique Fords in the past, we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Tech Spec: Ford Mk2 Focus RS
2.5-litre five-cylinder, block mod, Wiseco forged pistons, K1 rods, Newman Stage 1 cams, Forge header tank with sight glass, AS oil cooler, competition oil breather, AS plenum, Airtec Stage 3 intercooler, big boost pipe kit, Devil Developments custom 3.5in decat exhaust system with 5.5in single-exit tail, Devil Developments-spec Nortech T4 tubular manifold, Nortech v-band downpipe, Precision 6466 turbo, Turbosmart 50mm external wastegate, custom vertical screamer pipe, Devil Developments uprated fuel pump, Devil Developments twin 044 external fuel system, 1,000cc injectors, Syvecs S6+ standalone ECU, Syvecs Fuel Flex, 90mm crossover pipe with Group A filter, gloss black engine plastics, GGR bonnet dampers
673bhp (30% meth mix), 604bhp (pump fuel)
6-speed manual, Xtreme twin-plate clutch, single-mass flywheel, Elevate torque mount, Millers race gearbox oil
KW V3 coilovers, Summit front and rear upper strut braces, Hardrace adjustable rear toe arms and camber arms, Whiteline adjustable rear drop links and anti-roll bar, poly front ARB bushes and steering rack mounts, Whiteline anti-lift kit, corner-weighted and custom geometry by NAD UK
K-Sport 8-pot front calipers with 356mm discs and Pagid RS29 Endurance race pads, MTEC rear discs with Cosworth Streetmaster pads, braided lines, Miller competition brake fluid
Wheels & tyres:
8.5x19in ET42 Japan Racing wheels, 235/35 Michelin Pilot SuperSports
AMD Innovation wrap, ACR Composites front bumper and bonnet vents, blacked-out headlights, Zunsport upper and lower front grilles, all plastics painted gloss black
Dynamica seat upgrade, rollcage, modified rear bench, OMP steering wheel with rolling anti-lag switch and B-G quick release, JT Innovations Toucan display, Lifeline plumbed-in fire extinguisher
Feature taken from Fast Ford magazine. Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Matt Richardson.