Met het einde in zicht, zijn het dit soort berichten waar we maar al te graag naar kijken. Door de komst van de EV’s blijkt er voor deze fantastische auto (s), geen nieuw leven gegund. Jammer want VW gaat wel door met de Golf ook al is dit dan in een EV format.
Vooralsnog zijn er geen tekenen van een eventuele Ford Focus EV, des te meer genieten we persoonlijk van die mensen die het beest zoals deze Focus RS Mk1 ook nog eens flink opwaarderen. Een Finse Tuner doet zijn verhaal in het oktober nummer van het Engelse blad de ‘Fast Ford’.
En om het laatste er even bij te halen, hij maakte er A Very Fast Ford van deze Focus RS Mk1, ook optisch, maar dat valt niet eens te negeren als je de beelden ziet! Een verhaal waar wij van hebben gesmuld en willen deze dan ook graag met jullie delen…
We postten het volledige verhaal in Engels en is hieronder te lezen.
When the Finnish king of composites started making carbon fibre parts for his Focus RS, he found it rather hard to stop…
Jarno Kauppila is some sort of wizard. He must be. As the founder of JTK Composites in his native Finland, evidently he knows more than you can possibly imagine about carbon fibre, Kevlar, fibreglass and things of that nature… but there’s far more to this than simply a mastery of science.
There’s witchcraft afoot. As Kieran buzzes around this astonishing Mk1 RS with his busy lens, Jarno is showing us videos on his phone of a new type of deformable carbon fibre he’s developed, aimed at motorsport in general and drifting in particular, this material can be used to make bumpers and wings and so forth, meaning that if you kiss the wall too hard, your bodywork won’t shatter and splinter but simply bounce back into shape.
He can bend this stuff in half, hit it repeatedly with a mallet, and it just returns to its original form. This is not normal. But ‘not normal’ is Jarno’s modus operandi, always has been. You see the car here being photographed at the hallowed Goodwood circuit, which of course is quite a long way from Finland. And Jarno didn’t just drive straight there either.
Along with his buddy Sami Hietanaro (whose 660bhp Escort RS Cosworth we featured back in issue 460), they road-tripped across Europe, down through Poland and over Germany, ultimately arriving in England in time for the Players Classic. But again, they didn’t go straight there… the fellas decided to go right past Goodwood and all the way over to Wales, visiting MRM SpeedShop and various other notable sights in the Ford scene, deploying a drone to film them driving through the dramatic valleys and mountain passes, before looping back and rolling.
“And it’s not just about the value; it’s that the more I drive it, the more I like it. And I drive it a lot…” into Players with huge smiles and a bunch of intriguing tales to tell. Road-tripping, it goes without saying, is a key part of enjoying Ford life for these guys. Jarno’s bread-and-butter is in developing aftermarket parts that fuse an outstanding mix of form and function, and it’s all built to be used and used hard – as is his Focus RS.
“Yeah, I reckon I’ll probably keep this car forever,” he smiles, looking over the Focus as a doting parent might with their beloved offspring. “And it’s not just about the value. Sure, the prices of these RS cars are going crazy, but this car isn’t an investment in my future. If it was I probably wouldn’t have painted it white and replaced so many of the original parts! No, it’s just that the more I drive it, the more I like it. And I drive it a lot…”
It’s a man-and-machine relationship that’s been blossoming for some time, dating back to 2008 when the ST170 that he’d found vaguely unsatisfying had been traded in to see what the bigger-brother RS model might have to offer. Early Focus RSs aren’t exactly easy to find, as the total of the 4,501 cars that were built which officially found their way to Finland can probably be counted on your fingers, but there was one on the used market that really stood out to Jarno, so a deal was struck and a new adventure began.
Said adventure did have something of an ignominious start, it has to be said, as he’d barely even got the RS home before his mum managed to reverse into it and smash through the intercooler with her towbar. But there are no crises in his world, only opportunities – and with the stock ’cooler gone, it simply had to be replaced with larger one.
And everything sort of spiralled from there. With the front end dismantled, efforts quickly switched from damage assessment to upgrade potential, and with dreams of power swirling through his head, Jarno made the decision there and then to do things well and truly properly. “The car was only five years old at the time, but there was already some evidence of rust,” he recalls.
“So the engine was pulled out, the whole car stripped, and everything possible sent off for powdercoating while the chassis was sand-blasted.” With the shell perfected it was then painted in a crisp shade of white (just because he fancied it), and then Jarno set about building the chassis up better-than-new with polybushes throughout, tidy new fixings, and all of those freshly powder-coated parts, joined by a set of KW V3 coilovers.
The engine was similarly refreshed, receiving a home-made manifold and downpipe going into a Mongoose system as well as an improved induction setup and a few other tweaks, adding up to 280bhp on the rollers. With the car all put back together, Jarno now found himself with an exceptional base upon which to build his dream Focus: a rust-free and future-proofed shell, with a superbly refined chassis, a handful of extra power, and a whole load of potential.
It wasn’t long before that power potential would begin to manifest itself, but first – with a certain sense of inevitability – the carbon fibre arrived. Just a few bits here and there to begin with, but this was always going to be a slippery slope. He began by crafting a splitterand some other bespoke elements for the front bumper and, as the summer sunshine arrived in Finland, he enjoyed the car for track days and general fast-road mischief, making hay while the sun shone, before the harsh winter rolled in again.
Now, winter is a big deal in the Nordics. It’s the reason why so many extreme project cars come from that part of the world (and why so many rally drivers hail from there too); as the locals find themselves locked away in the garage for months and months on end as the relentless snow falls, they just can’t help tinkering with their cars to an absurd degree.
And over the course of the next winter, seismic things were afoot… Power was job one on the list, with a UKsourced hybrid turbo joining a thick air-to-air intercooler with home-made charge pipes, the upshot being a decent 330bhp. And the quest for carbon really ramped up, with Jarno taking moulds of the rear diffuser, B-pillars and mirrors in order to craft his own custom creations. Once again, the shifting seasons dictated the pace of the build, and with the evolving Focus enjoyed harder and faster across the following summer, the next winter was once again a protracted period of top-notch mucking about.
The hybrid turbo was replaced with a mighty Holset HX35, Jarno teaching himself to TIG weld in order to create an optimised manifold for it before making some custom mods to the turbo and getting the car back on the rollers once more. The result? 385bhp, and a lot of smiling. Fast-forward to 2021, and Jarno was emerging from the vagaries of the pandemic with a keenness for a motorsport makeover, and this was the point at which the Sparco buckets and harnesses arrived, the former treated to some tasteful custom embroidery.
And tasteful custom work is something you’ll find in abundance through the cabin, as he’s been very busy with the carbon fibre in here: check out the bespoke doorcards, the dash, the centre console, it’s a masterclass in lightweight finesse. Special mention goes to the Alcantara steering wheel too – you’ll be pleased to learn that Jarno wears driving gloves when he’s road-tripping, like a true 1920s spiv, so as not to bobble his wheel.
And yes, the exterior was starting to get a bit carbon crazy: the bonnet, the roof, the tailgate, and the WRC spoiler – which was great fun to make, comprising twelve separate pieces. You see that fancy rear diffuser? That’s not just cosmetic, that stretches right back to the rear axle. The pursuit of weight-saving has become, in fact, something of an addiction. The car acts as a desirable and impressive shop window for JTK Composites, but there’s more to it than that.
After all these years, this car is Jarno’s buddy, his playmate, and he’s always finding new ways to develop and refine and alter and evolve. Shortly before embarking upon the road trip that led him to us this summer he fitted the carbon front wings, and you can see from the way they’re sculpted to ape the stock body lines and how beautifully they fit that this man is a true craftsman.
A wizard of the weave. “I’ve got a lot more plans,” he grins. “But you’ll just have to wait and see…” Well, we’ll be right here on the edge of our seats. And no doubt next time he comes over to show us, he’ll be coming via Tallahassee, Truskavets and Timbuktu, driving gloves on and the horizon in his sights. It’s just the Nordic spirit. He’s a wild Finn.
Source | Fast Ford UK