One of the first questions that we like to ask Fast Ford feature car owners concerns their introduction to the Blue Oval. After all, a declaration of love for Escorts, Pumas, Sierras and Mondeos doesn’t necessarily explain what it was that encouraged the recipient of our enquiry to get involved in the Ford scene in the first place. For Aberdeenshire resident, Ricky Lawrence, however, our curiosity extends to his unwavering affection for accident-damaged Mk6 Fiestas!
“My Dad has bought and sold Fords for as long as I can remember,” explains the 19-year-old petrolhead. “He tends to restore damaged motors before selling them for profit. I was making noises with regard to buying a car in advance of my seventeenth birthday, and he advised me to keep my eyes peeled for a bargain Blue Oval that had been in a scrape,” he adds.
A local auction house delivered the goods in the shape of a Mk6 Fiesta 1.25 that was looking a little sorry for itself thanks to a shunt that had resulted in a smashed front end. The car’s airbags had been deployed, it was in need of a selection of replacement panels, and it required a new dashboard and windscreen, but Ricky could see the cost-saving potential in buying the flawed Fez and building it to his preferred specification (as opposed to forking out for a perfectly good Mk6 and spending even more of his hard-earned cash on tuning upgrades). Question answered!
A labour of love followed, and the once-poorly Ford was soon kitted-out with a new nose, an ST-edition interior, coilovers, Escort RS Cosworth alloys and a fresh lick of black paint. “I concentrated on style over performance,” confirms Ricky. “There seemed little point in toying with such a small engine, and I was keen to keep my insurance premiums as low as possible after I’d passed my driving test,” he reasons.
The refreshed Mk6 served its master without fail for a full twelve months, but its low power output encouraged him to look for a new ride that was capable of chucking out an increased number of ponies. “I’d saved a packet by working with a damaged car, and I was keen to repeat the experience when it came to buying the 1.25’s successor. With that in mind, I was holding out for a bashed Mk6 Fiesta ST150. The odds of finding one straightaway were pretty slim, but I was prepared to wait until a suitable example appeared at auction,” he smiles.
Biding his time paid off; eventually, a faraway auction house announced the online sale of an ST150 with an annihilated front end. Ricky was satisfied that the car met his requirements, and his trigger-happy mouse clicking produced a winning bid. “I was thrilled to have bagged myself an ST150,” he beams. “Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with the state of the car’s bodywork when I laid eyes on it for the first time. I guess I should have studied the auctioneer’s photographs in a little more detail!” he groans.
As a mechanic at a Ford dealership, Ricky’s spanner-wielding skills enable him to tear apart and rebuild engines, gearboxes, chassis components and almost everything in between, but he’s the first to admit that bodywork isn’t his area of expertise. “In addition to the bolt-on parts up-front, the car required new rear quarters. In all honesty, I was a bit miffed. Thankfully, my employer has a paint booth on site, and a colleague offered to sort the affected exterior panels before covering them in a fresh layer of Performance Blue. It was a welcome solution to an unforeseen problem, and I started to strip the car in advance of its new coat of colour,” he tells us.
The Fiesta’s bonnet, wings, bumper, front panel and wheels needed to be replaced, and Ricky discovered a hole in its factory gearbox casing. Other unwelcome surprises included the unearthing of an incorrect nearside front hub and strut, but our man ‘north of the border’ persevered in spite of the variety of automotive obstacles laid out before him.
With its chassis straightened on a jig, fresh paint and the 1.25’s EsCos rims, the ST was restored to its otherwise-factory state and presented to VOSA for a vehicle identity check. A fresh MOT and a 50mm ride height drop on FK coilovers followed, and it was at this point that Ricky began to weigh up the pros and cons of investing in equipment that would boost the overall performance of his fresh Fiesta. “I added a K&N induction kit and a Milltek exhaust system as soon as the car had passed its MOT. These parts alone contributed to a successful 175bhp during a subsequent rolling road session. It was a great starting point, and I quickly amassed a heap of tuning gear that I hoped would deliver even more horsepower,” he recalls.
Cosworth camshafts, an S-Max 60mm throttle body and a remap released another 15bhp, but the temptation of introducing forced induction to the proceedings was impossible to ignore. Of course, Ricky considered selling his Fez in order to raise funds to buy an already-turbocharged Ford, yet the notion of laying his hands on a new car failed to generate anywhere near the same level of excitement as the idea of modifying his existing ride, particularly after he was made aware of the fact that Jamsport was selling a Rotrex C30 centrifugal supercharger kit aimed squarely at owners of the Mk6 Fiesta ST150!
“SiCo Developments is a tuner and retailer of Jamsport products and isn’t too far away from my home town,” continues Ricky. “One of the company’s customers had placed an order for a Rotrex kit before changing his mind. The parts were already en route from Jamsport by the time that he had backtracked, leaving SiCo with an expensive stack of supercharger apparatus and a distinct lack of Mk6 Fiesta to bolt it onto! I stepped in and bought the unwanted gear at a reduced rate in advance of carting the lot home and beginning the process of modifying my car’s engine!” he grins.
A C30 blower, a custom bracket with an extra pulley, an extended auxiliary belt, a front-mounted intercooler, stainless boost pipes, a supercharger oil feed reservoir and a Setrab oil cooler were soon joining a painted Pumaspeed inlet manifold, a Pipercross air filter and 440cc fuel injectors under the Fiesta’s bonnet. Its neighbouring air conditioning system was removed, and Ricky applied a new map to his car’s factory ECU via a Dreamscience box sent to him by Jamsport.
Aiming for “anything close to the 300bhp mark,” he was understandably delighted to see a figure of 314.7bhp produced during another rolling road session. Sensibly, he reasoned that keeping that amount of power in check might prove difficult without a transmission upgrade, and a Quaife ATB limited-slip differential and a Helix clutch became the next items to appear on his ever-expanding shopping list of tuning parts. That said, it was while saving his pennies for the Quaife unit that he learned of the ability of the ST150’s standard gearbox to comfortably house the LSD of a Series 1 Escort RS Turbo. The diff itself would need a good 1.5mm removing from its outer circumference before it would play ball, but the one of Ricky’s mates had a lathe in his dad’s workshop, and he was more than happy to help out.
Even with its glossy black roof, its EsCos wheels, its colour-coded exterior trim and its Triple R rear valance and front splitter, you could argue that this fantastic ST150 does a good job of hiding its true colours. Well, that is until you spot its intercooler-laden front end! It’s an area of the car that is barely recognisable from the crash-damaged mess that Ricky inherited, but his love of returning faulty Fords to the road has saved him a small fortune while ensuring that a tidy selection of Mk6 Fiestas have been afforded a whole new lease of life. Yup, it’s easy to see why he loves broken Blue Ovals!
2-litre 16-valve Duratec, Jamsport custom map on factory ECU, Cosworth camshafts, Pumaspeed painted inlet manifold, 60mm throttle body, Pipercross air filter, Rotrex C30 centrifugal supercharger, custom supercharger bracket with additional idler pulley, extended auxiliary belt, Jamsport intercooler, stainless steel boost pipes, Rotrex SX150 traction oil, supercharger oil feed reservoir, inline oil filter for supercharger feed, Setrab oil cooler, Milltek Evo 2 exhaust manifold, Milltek decat pipe and resonated cat-back stainless steel exhaust system, 440cc fuel injectors, air conditioning system deletion, blue silicone hoses
314.7bhp and 266lb/ft torque
Factory IB5 gearbox, Series 1 Escort RS Turbo limited-slip differential, Helix organic two-part clutch kit
FK coilovers, 50mm ride height drop
Factory calipers painted Performance Blue, standard discs and pads
WHEELS & TYRES
Refurbished 8×16-inch Escort RS Cosworth alloy wheels painted anthracite, Toyo Proxes (front) and Falken (rear) 205/40/60 tyres
Full respray in Performance Blue, gloss black wrapped roof, colour-coded washer jets, Triple R rear valance and front splitter, plastic trim and headlight cavities painted Panther Black, de-tangoed headlights, Osram Nightbreaker main beam bulbs, LED sidelights, smoked side repeaters, DMB gel overlay on badges, tinted rear windows, sun strip, Climair Sport wind deflectors, personalised registration plates, LED plate lights
LED interior lighting kit, Pioneer AVIC F940-BT head unit, Vibe speakers
A big shout out to Track and Street Grampian, to my Dad for helping with the build of the car, to SiCo Developments for supplying the supercharger kit (and for being in constant communication throughout the project), and to the guys and gals of the Fiesta Owners Club for their ongoing support.