December 2, 2022

What Could’ve Been: Ashton’s Focus ST

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

As some of you know, and others are about to find out, I owned a Golf GTI. It was fine, except for that whole, mk6 timing chain guide and tensioner issue that cost me a cool $2k. But before I pulled the trigger on the VW, I was looking hard at Focus STs. They were different than the ubiquitous GTI, they were something entirely new. But I couldn’t find one in my price range that wasn’t a basket case, so I signed my life away for a year of German car ownership.

Thankfully, someone I happen to know owns a Focus ST, and is pretty stoked on this whole CAM thing, so I got to see what I had missed out on. That person is Ashton, and he’s my girlfriend’s cousin. He also has The Disease, so I got to drive an ST that was pretty close to what I probably would’ve done.

The car is pretty simple, and what you would expect from a Youth who 1: knows his ass from a hole in the ground, and 2: is operating on a budget. Firstly, he snagged a good deal on a good car. The car was stock, and driven to and from work by some dude. Dude happened to live in the Salt Lake Valley, and work in Logan, but that’s neither here nor there. It was well maintained, and a good platform to build upon.

Power adders are pretty simple: intake and catback, downpipe, and an AccessPort with a hot tune on there. The car makes all the right noises, and doesn’t run rough or weird. Again, this is what happens when you’re not an idiot.

The car is riding on BC coilovers, which are a fine set of coilovers. Hell, all the cool kids are on BCs. However, I’m old and washed compared to Ashton, and those BCs can be mighty stiff. Ashton has his set to “mighty stiff”, and East Canyon hammered that home. He was also riding on a set of Riken Raptor tires. These are the tires my brother had on his gold Altima that he named Hazel, because she was a Golden Girl.

My brother was also in college at the time, so naturally they were incredibly cheap. Little has changed since my brother bought them for his Altima, they’re not great tires. Thankfully Ashton knows this, and is only rocking the Rikens because they were pretty much brand new when he picked up his STRs.

Yes, he’s on reps. Get over it. They look good, and survived a day of driving East Canyon with my dumb ass behind the wheel.

So, what was it like taking a peek into the well of what could’ve been? It was interesting. The interior wasn’t as bad as people said, but the push to start made me forget a crucial step in starting a car with a manual: you gotta step on the clutch. Visibility was good, and the wheel felt good in my hands. It went where I wanted it to go, and I never felt like I was lacking for power. Would I have been happier with an ST, or kept it longer than a year? Who knows! But now I’m not not looking at them.

Big thanks to Ashton for waking up in a Sunday morning, making the drive, and letting me burn damn near all of his gas.

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