Earlier in April, Ford announced it would no longer be building its popular Focus RS cars. A sad day for many fans of the Blue Oval brand, and an end to an era.
Those who are fortunate to own any of these cars, officially now own collectors' items.
The automaker had also announced last year it would not not be bringing in the new-generation Focus models to SA, since their focus remains on the Ranger bakkie and its vast array of other products available in the local market. The Focus was just no longer a profitable product for the firm here in SA. Buyers are opting for the smaller Figo and Fiesta models, while the EcoBoost and Everest continues to do well for the brand.
So, as heartbreaking as the pill is to swallow for some, it does make business sense.
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Wheels24 contributor Lance Branquinho wrote in his Focus RS tribute article: "For fans of Ken Block and blue oval performance cars, this is disappointing, but it also allows us to celebrate the terrific legacy that Ford's Focus RS cars will leave."
All three generations
A Wheels24 reader from Cape Town, who would like to be referred to as P-Dubs as he is known in racing circles, responded to the article and wrote to us about his prized-possessions, all three of them.
Focus RS Mk1 and MK2. Image: P-Dubs
P-Dubs says: "I am probably one of the lucky few to own all three generations of the Focus RS. Maybe the only one in SA as Ford only imported one original (mk1) Focus RS. It is really very hard to choose which one is the best.
The original (Mk1) RS is so raw, and it demands absolute attention and respect when driving it. It Is so on the edge but really rewarding for true petrol heads. This was the last addition to my RS family, and I did not expect it to excite it me this much, given it is 17-year-old technology.
The second-generation RS appearance is very muscular, and it looks very menacing when it "creeps" up behind you and see it in your mirrors. It shouts: "get out of my way", but you actually don't want to because it is such a beautiful sight.
The engine sound is just simply the best out of the three, and handling for a front-wheel drive car is something to behold. I don't think in those times there was a front-wheel drive car that could handle this much power so easily.
That Revo-knuckle system that Ford invented some ten years ago is just pure magic. Good on Ford for developing something that others like Honda could 'develop' as well. I haven't driven the Type R (that have a similar system now) yet - it would be interesting to see how this one stacks up against the Mk2 Focus RS.
Ford Focus RS - Image: P-dubs
The last generation of the Focus RS - a hoonigan or track-focused drift machine designed for pure fun with the first-of-its kind 'drift mode' technology is what Ford RS fans were asking for since the Mk1 was launched -an AWD pocket rocket!
I personally like the nitrous blue colour that absolutely pops in the sun or any light. The car is so playful, and traction even in the wet is terrific. I tried the drift mode function at the race track (only once), just to experience what the hype was about and I must admit, I get it!
Ford RS-badged cars are truly something special and well done Ford on developing vehicles that excite and reward drivers. Not so well-done on axing the RS range though. I am disappointed that Ford is not making a fourth-generation (I was planning on importing one if Ford SA was not bringing them into the country - which is the case with the ST version).
Now, if I really need to choose a favourite, it has to be the second-generation Focus RS. It is a perfect balance between performance, appearance, safety and practicality! But it is a difficult choice because whenever I drive each one of them, they trigger a feeling that is difficult to describe and remind me of why I bought all three of them - that in itself should tell you how difficult it is for me to choose one.
Three generations of Focus RS models. Image: P-Dubs
Fastest in Western Cape
But P-Dubs also has a Focus ST, one that is the blooming fast.
He says: "I also have a 2.5-litre Focus ST which is currently the fastest Western Cape front-wheel drive car at Saldanha Drags over the 800m standing sprint. The car did 258.6km/h in a strong headwind at the last event and it was the first time I had driven the car in almost three years. Although it's a street legal car, I only drive it at the track as it is just too fast to drive on the road.