Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 1, 2005

Step By Step

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To get started on our install, we needed to get the new body parts into primer. Our painter hadn't used Sikken's buildable primer before and felt more comfortable using his stock gray base before applying the Colorbuild.
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Sikkens Colorbuild primer has been around for several years, and the exclusive system allows the primer to be color-matched to your vehicle so that if you get a chip, it is still the same color underneath. The Colorbuild is available in a high-build version for when you have a lot of surface imperfections, and a wet-on-wet version for painting fresh factory sheetmetal.
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The Autobase by Sikkens is your average acrylic urethane basecoat, but it's designed to reduce drying time and is cost-effective with regard to its coverage rate. We used Autobase Ford No. 94, as there were several shades of the Focus' Infra-Red.
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The Sikkens Colorbuild primer was accompanied by its appropriate activator and hardener. Plastoflex adhesion promoter was also used.
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With the body components sanded and primed, the Sikkens basecoat paint can then be applied.
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After curing in the paint booth, the parts are ready to be installed on the car.

We've looked at it long enough--the stock Focus body, that is. Though our Konig Blatant wheels have garnered numerous looks, the Pepper's stock body panels just don't do that much for us, so we decided to look for an aftermarket body kit to put the pepper in our Pepper.

Since the Focus is a "sport compact," you can imagine what most of the aftermarket Focus body kits look like, however we found one that really caught our eye. As it turns out, the folks at Roush Performance released a performance version of the Focus that we got to test last year, and we really liked the body kit on it.

The Roush Focus had all the Roush Mustang lines with a bit of rally-inspired styling thrown in. Roush is also one of the only companies to offer a kit for the five-door ZX5 model, so we were sold and promptly put in an order for the Red Hot Chili Pepper.

The Roush Performance body kit retails for $2,016.80 and includes a front fascia kit with driving lamps, a rear fascia kit, right and left side skirts, an upper wing, a mid-wing, a hoodscoop kit, and heavy-duty hatch struts.

As the Roush Focus is available with an intercooled turbocharger setup, there is an opening in the Roush front fascia for a front mount intercooler, which worked for us since the Pepper's Precision Turbo unit was rather hidden behind the stock bumper cover.

During our test of the Roush Focus, we also noticed that Roush offers the same MagnaFlow after-cat exhaust system, which fits neatly within the rear fascia's design. This was an added plus as it would limit the number of modifications needed to fit the kit to our car.

Obviously, we needed to paint the new body parts to match the Pepper's Infra-Red exterior hue, so we called Akzo Nobel Coatings of Marlboro, New Jersey, for some of its urethane basecoat/clearcoat Sikkens paint.

According to Akzo rep Rick Stanford, Ford used five different shades of Infra-Red, so we scheduled a meeting where he could match the Pepper's exterior color with one from his color palette. Once that was out of the way, we headed to Newark, New Jersey, home to Motor City Auto Body where the master technicians have been whipping Project Frightning into shape in addition to numerous other projects we have done with them over the years.

Paint and prep took several hours, and we then spent a good 6-7 hours installing the parts. Motor City's Luis Henriques headed up a team that included Austin Costeira and Alex Branco who made up Motor City's summer intern staff.

Fit and finish of the Roush Performance Parts body kit was as good or better than OEM. That's what we've come to expect as our experience with Roush products has evolved over the years.

Even though it's not what they normally use, the Motor City crew liked the performance of the Sikkens paint. We liked the color-matched primer and have already seen how it works as we managed to get a big nick in the front air dam already. That's New Jersey roads for you.

Thanks to the Roush Performance parts and the Konig wheels, our Focus has been transformed from a grocery getter to a hot compact. We've received numerous compliments from both young and old, but more importantly, we think it looks good.

As our Red Hot Chili Pepper nears the end of its project car status, look for a final installment as we tinker with the tuning a bit more and take care of a few loose ends.