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From Nose to Tail
ATI's Focus strikes like a Cobra: Fast and Hard

By ANDREW LUU

DESPITE A SHARED LOVE affair with “more power,” there has always been some animosity between muscle car enthusiasts and the sport compact tuner crowd. Even though many pocket rockets thrashed V8s on the road and at the track, their tuners would inevitably hear the argument: “There’s no replacement for displacement.” So here’s a replacement with displacement.

Accurate Technologies Inc., based in Wixom, Michigan, took delivery of a Focus SVT and started asking the “more power” question. A stock SVT is an entertaining package with a high-compression 2.0-liter inline four with 170 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque.

That’s great for the class but sedate even when compared to the base V8-powered, 260-hp and 302-lb-ft Mustang GT. ATI sales manager Richard George said exceeding those figures would stretch the four-banger’s limit. The company built one Focus with a supercharger, but ATI also wanted something that would be more special.

Accurate Technologies does a lot of Ford work, so the natural thing to do was swap in Ford’s most powerful engine: the SVT Mustang Cobra’s 390-hp, 390-lb-ft, supercharged 4.6-liter V8.

Problem solved—and then some. The result is called the Terminator Focus.

With custom stainless-steel headers, a larger single-blade throttle body and a smaller pulley on the supercharger (to increase boost pressure), George says this V8 now boasts upward of 500 hp and 500 lb-ft. Coupled with a curb weight of about 3200 pounds, it doesn’t take an engineer to put two and two together and figure out what that does for Focus performance.

This strategic move also silences another frequent criticism of pocket rockets: that true sports cars are rear-wheel drive. Yes, this baby lights it up out back. And if you’re consoling your big block by thinking this is just another “project” car, think again because ATI offers this Frankenstein transformation to the public, along with a two-year/24,000-mile warranty.

The 4.6 fits snugly in the engine bay without any compromise to the firewall (and the stock hood still slams shut), so the only significant modifications necessary were to spread the suspension strut tower mounts outward a little and then widen the front of the exhaust tunnel to 18 inches to house the tail of the Cobra’s T-56 transmission. The driveshaft installs cleanly through the existing exhaust tunnel, which is so spacious that George believes Ford already had plans brewing to power the rear axle in an all-wheel-drive model.

ATI also beefed up the suspension with a racing-style tubular K-member, adjustable struts and springs, and a Cobra antiroll bar and steering rack up front. In back, the Terminator gets adjustable shocks and the Cobra independent rear suspension, all in an
effort to maintain the Cobra’s handling geometry. Taking no chances with the increased power, the subframe has been reinforced and deceleration chores are delegated to Cobra brakes and calipers with Performance Friction brake pads, enhanced with driver-adjustable brake bias.

Turn the key and the familiar Mustang burble brings the Terminator to life. As soon as we graced open roads, we drove cautiously, short-shifting the six-speed into second and third. Once in third we felt confident that it would be safe to just plant the throttle on the floor—wrong.

Instantly the Terminator leapt forward with the front hopping from the thrust, the rear tires spinning for 25 feet and the rear wagging all the way as we wrestled with the steering wheel.

That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, thinking about the Viper-like power. Perhaps our perception lapsed, because aside from the 18-inch rims, the appearance is all stock SVT Focus, complete with a/c, stereo and factory gauges. The only hint of the massive power is the super-wide rear 295/30R-18 Michelin Pilots. It’s a classic wolf in sheep’s clothing, with little to give away the power that lurks beneath.

George estimates that, as equipped, this baby will tackle the quarter-mile in high 11s. There’s so much power that, when we lined it up for a photo, he cautioned, “If you want to do a burnout, use second gear. It’s much easier.”

So we did and it was like child’s play. The power caused the rear to pivot violently and we had to aggressively countersteer to keep it from snapping around. When we got sick of inhaling burnt rubber, we drove around trying to envision this beast as a daily driver.

Apart from a clutch stiffer even than that on the SVT Cobra and the firm ride that you’d expect from a tuner car, you could make runs to the grocery store. Even though the battery is relocated to the trunk, ATI preserved all the Focus utility by fabricating another trunk floor—although it does have a tad less space. The rear seats still fold down and the performance suspension all bolts into the existing tire wells. Just keep shifts around 3000 rpm and things are fairly civilized.

Most of the Focus’ neutral handling is intact, but take a tight right-hander with a decent dose of throttle—like we did—and the rear will step out in no time. Despite the extra front weight, steering is extremely quick and it is easily controlled. The ample torque also allows for further throttle manipulation. Just don’t open it too much
or the laws of physics will take precedence.

Owning this rear-wheel-drive sleeper of a Focus would certainly be a blast—from drifting through corners to sending stoplight shivers down the spines of both muscle and sport compact car drivers. But, as in other areas of life, there is a big price to be paid for extreme individuality. The fully souped Terminator Focus tested here costs
$69,500, plus the donor Focus.

A huge burn in the pocket, but you could do worse searching to squeeze the same output from the stock engine. If you already own a SVT Focus (or find a used one), you could probably sell off the SVT engine, transmission, suspension, rims and tires to some ZX3 driver and recoup some of that cost.

However, consider this in the words of a popular TV commercial: Custom 18-inch HRE rims, $4,500; Eibach springs and performance suspension, $5,200; SVT Mustang powertrain swap, $35,000; pulling into a weekend import tuner car meet, dropping the clutch, mashing the throttle and seeing all those puzzled faces—priceless.

Autoweek Magazine
From Nose to Tail - May 15, 2003

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AIM: Sirmilton3
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2000 Civic SiR | Vogue Silver Metallic | ITR Leather | RH EVO C2's | VTEC
 

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http://www.fordfestiva.com/performance/shogun.html


The Shogun is essentially a well executed car conversion performed by a company called Special Editions in Upland, California. Notable features was the Ford Taurus SHO V-6 drivetrain installed in a mid-engine configuration within the Ford Festiva bodyshell.

The concept for the Shogun is credited to Rick Titus (drove a Saleen Mustang to become SCCA 1987 Escort Endurance Champion and magazine editor). Titus approached Chuck Beck with an idea to install a Ford Taurus SHO V-6 (4 cams, 24 valves, 220 horsepower) drivetrain in the rear of a diminutive Ford Festiva (Beck was a chassis fabricator well known for his Porsche 550 Spyder replicas and work with the Shelby GT-350 and Ford GT-40 racing programs from the Sixties).



The result of this was the first Shogun, the yellow prototype which was developed (in 1990) to refine the concept and to test marketability. The Shogun prototype was based on a salvaged (roll-over) Taurus that was found in Dallas, Texas. The Festiva body used for the prototype was actually a 1988 model (again, located from salvage).

The concept proved good enough, for Beck and Titus to commence production on the remaining 6 cars (a total of 7 Shoguns were built, including the prototype. All are numbered 1-7). The yellow prototype was featured in an issue of Car and Driver who quipped the Shogun was "one loose cannon" (anyone have a scan or print of this issue?). Some changes were made to the prototype not found in the later cars, primarily the fender flares/spoilers were refined and smoothed some (note softer styling lines) and the BBS 15 x8 and 16 x 9.5 honeycomb wheels (popular back then) were dropped. Peter Brock (key designer of the Shelby Daytona Coupe) was enlisted to help with the styling changes (fiberglass bodywork and interior).

All of the Shoguns were built to customer order to work around the DOT certification laws, however the car did meet emissions regulations (including California of course). The stock SHO drivetrain retained all the original emissions equipment. The Shogun's sticker price was somewhat of shock to some ($47,500 US). It is important to remember though that included in the price was a new Taurus SHO and new Ford Festiva (SHO drivetrain was new). These both were required for the conversion. The production Shoguns were not based on salvaged cars with exception of #005. The quality of this conversion done by Beck was impeccable.



The steps to make a Shogun began with the removal of the drivetrains from both vehicles. The Festiva rear floorpan was removed and a tubular rear spaceframe (with integral 2 pt rollbar) welded to accept the new powerplant. The side doors also received additional door impact beams. The Yamaha-built SHO V-6 was in my opinion, the best all around performing V-6 at the time and was a logical choice for a superb powerplant. A sweet note exited the two Supertrapp mufflers which the Shogun was equipped with (often the mufflers would get discolored a different shade due to the exhaust routing which caused the left side to run hotter than the right).





Some components from the SHO were also used for the suspension. The car used the front SHO spindles, strut housings, hubs, vented 10" rotors, and brake calipers for both front and rear. Custom made for the Shogun were the Koni strut inserts used in all four corners. The modified SHO struts were adjustable for ride height (coil-over) and were fitted with special rate Eibach springs. An additional (adjustable) front stabilizer bar is used along with the stock Festiva piece in the front. It attaches to the front struts via a link. The rear toe is set using a Taurus front tie rod end. Solid bushings are used in the rear suspension to eliminate compliance. The wheels used on the production Shogun are Boyds aluminum (billet center/spun outer). Sizes were 15 x 8 for the front and 16 x 10 for the rear. Tires used were Goodyear Eagle 205/50VR15 (front) and 245/45/16 (rear). The rear tires were actually the softer compound ("S") for added grip. The Festiva rack and pinion was retained (except for #005 car which featured a quicker ratio). The original space taken by the stock 63hp Festiva 1.3, was used mostly for a 15 or 17 gallon (not sure which) racing-type fuel cell (which is refilled by lifting the hood).



The fiberglass exterior bodywork on the production Shogun was to me, a work of automotive art. The panels just seem to suggest that they were meant to be there. Production type tooling insured quality of the exterior bodywork and the fit and finish were excellent. The front spoiler housed two round halogen driving lamps.



The fender flares were designed to end at the door seams. This allowed the doors and hatch to be left as is. Everything is functional in this respect like the Festiva. The Shogun was in every aspect, a car capable of handling daily driving chores (ride height was high enough not to worry about rough roads). The rear flares feature functional scoops. The hood featured a exit duct for hot radiator air (hints of Daytona Coupe).




2003.5 G35 A5 Sedan | 2003 Z06 Corvette | 2003 S10 Extended cab | 1991 Honda CRXsi
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is so cool...

I saw a VW Golf GTI MKIII or was it an MKII anyways, it had a VR6 engine mounted in the rear powering the rear wheels. But not only that, it also had a T3/T04 turbo mounted on it... that was a cool one.

I also enjoy the NSX powered CRX... that is about all I know about that though.

That Focus is a good one though, cuz the engine is still in the front. Although ATI should not "guess" that the car could come AWD... it is the chassis for the WRC car too you know!!!

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AIM: Sirmilton3
MSN: [email protected]
2000 Civic SiR | Vogue Silver Metallic | ITR Leather | RH EVO C2's | VTEC
 
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