Pete Epple Technical Editor
March 8, 2010
Photos By: Jim McIlvaine

But the engine and transmission aren't the only major changes to the ZX3. The entire rear suspension was scrapped; an 8.8-inch live axle now takes its place. The kit adds bolt-in frame brackets for a factory-style four-link suspension design, along with a bolt-in upper crossmember for coilover shocks and lower shock brackets. The rearend housing is kept in place with custom double-adjustable upper and lower control arms, with QA1 coilovers cushioning the ride. In addition to the suspension swap, a few changes were made to reinforce the rear subfloor to ensure it was strong enough to support the added power. Brandon also added a fuel cell and moved the battery to the trunk, along with a custom 1-inch rear sway bar to help eliminate excess bodyroll. Up front, the stock struts, springs, and brakes were bolted back in the stock location.

With all of the extra power he would need and a drivetrain to back it up, it was time to focus (pun intended) on the paint. An aggressive look was needed, so Brandon enlisted the help of Travis Carpenter of Gerald's Body Shop in New Paris, Indiana, to make this sport compact stand out. Carpenter laid down the yellow hue to brighten things up a bit, then he added the silver stripe with airbrushed rivets to produce a slick sheetmetal effect.

As the build came to a close, an awesome and unique show car had evolved from a once-lame little machine. Sealing the deal was a trip down the dragstrip. With the car in full street trim and 400 ponies on tap, Brandon piloted the Focus to a best quarter-mile time of 12.23 at over 116 mph. "The car is primarily a show car," adds Brandon. "It gets a ton of attention and it's a blast to drive!"

With great power, slick custom paint, and that classis 5.0L growl, this is truly the Focus Ford should have built.