One glance at the Universal Technical Institute’s 2014 Ford Focus ST will spark a nostalgic feeling deep within any car enthusiast. That emotion which bridges the past with the present is exactly what the collaborators of this vehicle had in mind. UTI, Gulf Racing, Ford Motor Company and Tjin Edition all banded together to craft an unmistakable tribute to the legendary race past of Gulf Racing and to highlight the modern-day technology and unprecedented capabilities of today’s automotive industry.
Text by Sami Sharaf // Photos by Gene Tjin and Universal Technical Institute
The onset of this project began with a brand-new 2014 Ford Focus ST. The ST is a performance-oriented version of Ford’s compact-car offering that’s been a staple in the auto manufacturer’s lineup since 1998. This model however, received special treatment with performance targets in power, stopping distance and handling control. This ST came straight from Ford in July of 2013 with a fast-approaching deadline for the annual SEMA show in November. With the clock ticking, it wasn’t long before Neil Tjin, UTI and designers at Ford implemented their plans for the Focus.
One of the build goals was to not only adorn the Focus with the recognizable custom Gulf Racing livery, but to embody the race-inspired appearance that goes hand-in-hand with it. To accomplish the aggressive track-oriented look, DTM Autobody skillfully crafted custom bodywork, which included wide integrated fender flares on both the front and rear wheel well arches. The exterior was also fitted with a Street Scene body kit and sporty low-profile roof wing. Unique Fabrication then tidied the lines by shaving the hood, roof antenna and rear bumper reflectors. It was then that the Custom orange and blue DuPont paint was laid down and the finishing touch of the iconic Gulf Logos were put in place by Daley Visual Vehicle Wraps.
Of course, flared fenders are not complete without a properly-fitted wheelset. To match the increase in width, Tjin chose a set of white 19×8.5-inch Forgestar F14 wheels wrapped in Falken tires. KW coilovers controlled the ride height to provide just the right amount of clearance for the Falken rubber. Tucked behind the Forgestar wheels, are six-piston Baer calipers and rotors to bring the Focus to a stop.The interior of the Focus received a custom touch just as the exterior did. Katzkin rewrapped the front seats with bold UTI logos. The door panels, pillars, rear seats, center console and parts of the dash were also among the interior components to receive the matching treatment. While the interior was taken apart, the Ford was fitted with Sony audio, which included twelve-inch subwoofers, two amplifiers and component speakers which were all wired to a Sony double-din head unit and a custom speaker box and amp rack.