Some people like a show car, some like a track car, and some just want to go fast while looking good – here’s why Tom’s modified Focus ST Mk3 hits the spot.

From Fast Ford. Photos: Mike Crawat.

How our passion for cars began is always an interesting question. For Tom Phillips, his passion for fast cars was inherited from his father. But it was his godfather, Bob Berridge, that would ultimately strike the fire for him, having raced in Formula 3, Le Mans and Group C championships right up until 2011.

Naturally for Tom, speed was a key element, and has taken a firm grip on his modified Focus ST Mk3.

“I wanted to buy something new from Ford that suited my needs as well as passion,” says Tom, who struck up a love-at-first-sight relationship with his Focus ST Mk3. “I had heard about its potential and the Mk3 RS was not out yet. Walking into the showroom, I saw the Deep Impact Blue Focus ST and ended up buying that exact one.”

The idea with this build was to create a car that looked the part but also had the performance to back up the bark when the going got tough. So, naturally, the engine needed a lot of work to get it to the right level.

Modified Focus ST Mk3

First came the common modifications: exhaust, intake and various hoses. Not satisfied with a mediocre jump in power, the car then went to Devil Developments for fully-forged internals to be able to handle much more. A Garrett 3071R Gen II turbo came next to hike up boost levels and subsequent torque and power. The fantastic and addictive noises of the HKS Supersequential blow-off valve are a happy by-product of the bigger blower too.

An AEM meth injection system works in harmony with the new turbo to help keep temperatures down (and increases octane levels) so boost levels can be wound up safely. The final piece to the engine puzzle is a Cobb V3 Accessport with custom tuning by Stratified. Power now sits at a healthy 495bhp.

In order to continue putting the power down, the obvious upgrade to the differential was the popular Quaife LSD. Other upgrades to the transmission include a US-spec uprated Mountune clutch and flywheel to help deal with the added torque.

Thankfully this isn’t just an exercise in straight lines; the suspension has been uprated to ST-X Performance coilovers, alongside a full XR poly-bush setup. To further stiffen the body and reduce roll, a Steeda torque mount and firmer engine mounts were added to accompany the Summit upper front strut brace and anti-roll bars.

As we mentioned, Tom likes his cars fast, but he wants to look good while doing so. The ST looks softer than an RS to the unassuming onlooker, but add in a wide-arch kit and lairy wrap, and suddenly you have a car that’s as shouty to see as it is to hear. At the front is the bumper from an RS to give it that angular, purposeful look, while the rear retains the ST bumper with central exhaust, but alongside a diffuser. Up top is the spoiler from an RS, and the front and rear lights both got a tint.

Now to fill those arches – and fill them Tom did. All round sit Govad forged wheels, which measure a whopping 10.5x19in. To put that into perspective, the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo uses 10in wheels… Tom’s tyre sizes are 275/30×19, which help get the power down and also look the part.

To complete the package, Tom turned his attention to the interior, where he created an all-round show-winner. Out came the Ford infotainment system; in went a Pioneer head unit connected to an 18in sub, B2 four-channel amp and B2 mono amp. A custom boot build was created and installed by Harwood Acoustics.

Tom isn’t done yet, though. He plans to remove the back seats and stick in a roll cage, but sadly it has gone past the stage where this car will be used on track.

Would he have done anything differently? “In honesty I would have preferred the RS running gear, so perhaps I should have waited 18 months for its release. However, the challenge to create the power and look I have has been rewarding,” says Tom.

When you’re in the middle of a build, it can often seem like a long way until you reach the end result, and it can leave you asking why you started in the first place.

But if, like Tom, you see it through, you’ll end up with a car that not only goes like the clappers and looks great at any show in the UK, it has your creativity nestled into it too.

Modified Focus ST Mk3

Tech Spec: Modified Focus ST Mk3


2.0-litre EcoBoost, Devil Developments fully-forged internals, 1000cc injectors, Garrett 3071R Gen II turbo, AEM methanol injection system, various charge pipes and aluminium replacements, HKS Supersequential blow-off valve, Cobb V3 Accessport running Stratified custom tune, custom 3.5in turbo-back valved exhaust system, Boomba manifold spacer, Boomba sound symposer delete, Mishimoto oil catch can, Pro Hoses ancillary hoses


495bhp (owner’s estimate)


Focus ST six-speed Getrag MMT6 gearbox, US-spec uprated Mountune clutch and uprated flywheel, Quaife LSD, Mountune quickshift with custom shifter/arm


ST-X coilovers, full XR poly-bushes throughout, Steeda torque mount and various engine mounts, Summit upper front strut brace and anti-roll bars


Front: Mk3 Focus RS four-pot Brembo callipers and 350mm ventilated discs, Ferodo pads
Rear: Mk3 Focus RS discs and callipers, Ferodo pads

Wheels & tyres:

Govad G47 Street forged wheels in 10.5x19in, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 275/30R19 tyres


Fortune Flares wide-arch kit (RS front/ST rear), FRSH Customs wrap in custom Stox Autosport design,  RS front-end conversion, SS Tuning front splitter and rear diffuser, RS spoiler, tinted front and rear lights, fog light bar, Zunsport grille, Hella horns


Pioneer double-DIN head unit, 18in sub and custom boot install, Harwood Acoustics custom design boot build, B2 four-channel amp and B2 mono amp, uprated Zen X battery, Sparco gearknob and gaiter, F34 Design fire extinguisher bracket, interior light upgrades


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