Hydrodipping is a craze that has taken the modifying scene by storm over the last few years, so I thought it was about time to get in on the act – especially as the ST220 has a sea of under bonnet plastics and engine covers that could all do with a freshen up.
So, with the in mind, I spoke to guys (and gals) at Aquagraphix – the same people that treated Dan’s TDCi cover to some flaming skulls a couple of years ago! – and asked what they could do. Obviously I didn’t want anything as garish as flaming skulls, but when Aquagraphix told me that they can actually mask off certain areas of the covers and have a combination of painted and dipped finishes I started thinking about various carbon effects they offer. I’ve never really like ‘carbon effect’ finishes that don’t look anything like real carbon fibre, but when I saw the ‘3D silver carbon weave’ pattern that Aquagraphix offers I was pleasantly surprised at how good it looked. And that got me thinking about combining a carbon effect ‘dip’ with Performance Blue paint – the idea was to make it look like the covers are actually made from carbon fibre but with body colour paint over the top.
When I explained my vision to Aquagraphix they said it could easily be done, so I pulled the covers from the engine bay, gave them a quick degreases before packing them up and sending them off. A few days later I received a couple of emails showing the progress of the job. Aquagraphix had already given the covers a thorough scrub up, rub down, and applied a few coats of hi-build primer to removed the horrible ‘dimpled’ texture effect on the standard plastics. A couple of days after that my inbox was filled with images of the covers first being sprayed in Performance Blue, and then being dipped into the carbon effect pattern. A final few coats of lacquer to protect the finish and give a deep lustre was all that was needed before the completed covers were winging their way back to me.
On opening the box I was amazed by the results – they are stunning. Even my wife, who is usually unimpressed by anything car related that arrives at our house, was excited to see the finished covers as I unwrapped the bubble wrap! Naturtally, I wasted no time in getting them back on the car, and you have to admit that have made a huge difference to the underbonnet of the ST! I’m so impressed that I’m now on the lookout for replacement upper inlet manifold so I can get that treated to the same ‘3D silver carbon weave’ pattern too.
I do fear that this simple upgrade could well have started something much bigger, as I’m already looking at silicone hoses and a few other bits for the under the bonnet. But you can’t have a lovely engine bay if the rest of car’s appearance isn’t up to scratch, so I’m now looking at getting the paintwork sorted… and possible fitting a few upgrades such as Focus RS bumper vents and a Triple R splitter along the way too…