Dan decided the best way to get this three-door ST170 fighting fit again, was to buy a donor five-door and rob all the parts from that

Four-doors are parts cars. That’s been my mantra since my Mk1/2 Escort entry in the fast Ford world (not that I don’t still have a few RWD Escorts; all two-doors, of course), but in the modern world we have hatchbacks instead of saloons. So, allow me to amend the phrase.

Five-doors are parts cars.

With that in mind, and my Magnum Grey ST170 starting to look like it could become a fun low-budget project, I opted to source another Focus to donate its engine for my Mk1 Mexico. So, I accidentally bought a five-door Moondust Silver ST with Custom Pack leather Recaros (you know what it’s like, bidding on eBay. One minute you’re entering a figure to see what the car’s making; the next day you’ve got it on a trailer). Then, soon afterwards, I managed to acquire another ST170; this time, though, it was a base model, it had been modified, it was Magnum Grey, and it was a five-door. At last, a Focus that was born to be a parts car.

Now, my first ST170 was starting to scrub up nicely. I’d flatted and polished the dull xenon headlamps. I’d bought new Ford headlight washers to stick in the front bumper. I’d given the bodywork a machine polish. I’d even sourced an old Ford head unit to stick in the dashboard for the OE feel (okay, when I say sourced, I mean I’d rummaged through my stash of Mondeo bits). It was beginning to look pretty smart. But there was still a foot-sized dent in the tailgate.

It doesn’t take Rachel Riley to do the sums. My Magnum Grey three-door needed a new tailgate; my Magnum Grey five-door had a decent tailgate. Both had the factory-optional rear spoilers. Both were built in 2002.

Swap one for the other, right?

Not quite. Parked beside each other, the Mk1s looked so similar, yet so far apart. Perhaps it was simply because I’d polished one car, and the other was smothered with a layer of dust; surely two Fords built in the same factory during the same year couldn’t be different colours…

But, of course, they were. I ploughed on with the tailgate swap, pretending I didn’t notice the odd shades, being careful to transfer all the cables correctly; not to scratch anything… The variance in shades was smaller than Rachel Riley’s famous pink dress, but it was equally distracting.

So, to cut a long story a little shorter, I now have two ST170s with mismatched tailgates. And I know I’ll need to get it resprayed. This low-budget project is starting to look like a search for perfection, after all…






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