Conrod's Salvage Rebuild
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Conrod's Salvage Rebuild

This is a discussion on Conrod's Salvage Rebuild within the Focus RS Builds forums, part of the Focus RS Garage category; First a brief intro, I am a NZ'er, 50 yrs old, and have worked in the motorsport/automotive industry for over 30 years. One of the ...

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Thread: Conrod's Salvage Rebuild

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    Conrod's Salvage Rebuild

    First a brief intro, I am a NZ'er, 50 yrs old, and have worked in the motorsport/automotive industry for over 30 years. One of the highlights of this time was spent in the UK building Escort Cosworth rally cars; we built 65 Gp.A and Gp.N cars from memory in the time I was there. I have owned two of these fabulous cars since, and wishing I had kept one! Anyway, the Focus RS is the spiritual successor to this car as I see it.

    So fast forward to last year, and I was looking to replace my aging Mondeo ST220 Wagon/Estate. I was looking to purchase a new car (first one ever!) and was quite taken with the new Nitrous Blue RS Edition that was sat on the Ford dealers lot. However, it was bloody expensive, and I needed another wagon, for practicality reasons;2 dogs, large load space for carting stuff around, and something reasonably economical for my longish commute to and from work. So I settled on a new Mondeo (Fusion) wagon, the one with the 210PS Bi Turbo diesel. I have owned it for nearly one year, and have been really happy with it so far!

    Meanwhile, I had been reading and hearing a lot about the Focus RS, and just happened to see Samcrac's youtube clip where he bought a salvage car that he was going to repair. I remember thinking to myself "lucky guy being in the US, where you can actually buy these at Salvage" Anyway, less than one month after seeing this, a 2016 RS in Magnetic popped up on a local auction site. It did not look too bad from the pics, so I thought I would have a crack at it. I went in hard and fast on the bidding, and just short of my maximum the bidding stopped, and I owned it! Now I must add, at this point I had not been to inspect the car, so it was a bit of a gamble. But for the price I paid, I figured I could break it for parts if the damage was really bad, and still come out on top.

    So next day I hooked up my trailer, and went to collect it, about 1 1/2 hours drive away. Now at the salvage yard after reading and signing the safety declaration, and putting a high vis-vest on (health and safety is so OTT in NZ now!) I drove my rig around to the yard for collection. I begged the woman in charge of the yard not to forklift the car, and told her I was happy to back up and load it in situ. She spoke to one of the guys in the yard, and responded, no problem, it runs and drives, we will bring it around - yess! As I waited it rounded the corner and I saw it for the first time, less most of its nose. No radiator, intercooler etc. It actually looked pretty decent, better than I had expected. I thought to myself I had better shut it off quite quickly, as it will overheat very soon. Anyway, loaded it up, and drove home with it no problem.

    Unloaded it at home, and started the big inspection. It had been struck at the very front, from the LH side (turns out a woman had not given way at a roundabout, I later found out after talking to the owner) So impact was sideways, which had torn off the front bumper, and pushed both chassis rails sideways, about 30-40mm. Bonnet, bumper and both front guards/fenders/wings were destroyed, as well as the cooling systems. But no suspension or wheel damage, and no airbags triggered! So I spent a good day or so removing the wheels, inspecting everywhere, and giving a damn good clean.

    Seems I can't post pics at the moment. I will get that sorted and be back soon hopefully!
    XRJoe, mboles2 and Noah_RS like this.

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    Looking forward to it! Find some way to post pics. I love this stuff as it’s resurrecting legends that could possibly become parts cars


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    RS Specialist BigFatFlip's Avatar
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    Always preferred these "restoration" type of builds than the more common "slap on a new part" build. Looking forward to pics and progress!

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    RS Member flyingcesar's Avatar
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    Looking forward to hearing more about your build. There's a RR 18 coming up for bidding near me I think I might take a swing at it as the damage in pictures doesn't look to bad. I'm also with you that if I think I cant do it just part it out and cut my losses.

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    Thanks for the feedback guys! I wasn't sure if there would be any interest in a project like this.

    I guess I should state that this is a just a hobby for me, I intend to keep the car once completed, I am not looking for a quick flip and profit. That said, I am going to try to keep the spend to a sensible level. I would expect the completed cost to be 60-70% of a comparable car in good condition. I am also quite fussy, and all repairs will be done to a very high standard - no cut n' shut repair jobs, only complete parts replacement to Ford specs (and I do have those specs already!)


    Switched to google chrome, uploading seems to work now! A few pics of the car as I purchased it. It starts, runs and drives. Albeit not for long, as no radiator or intercooler fitted!

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    Last edited by conrod; 04-20-2019 at 02:24 AM.
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    Next came the mission of collecting all of the necessary parts. I had a budget in mind, and needed to try to stick to that as much as possible. I priced up all new parts from the Ford dealer. Panel prices were/are cheap, so everything new there. The items that stood out as being expensive were the headlights, and intercooler/radiator/air con condensor/fans. I managed to find a pair of new RHD headlights from an Ebay vendor in the UK. These were genuine Ford parts, for about 1/4 the new price, so ordered those.

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    I managed to find a complete second hand front clip at a very good price, with radiator support/crash bar, radiator, fans, intercooler etc. This was from a vendor in Germany, so I had to organise a friend there to collect it for me, pack it, and I then got my freight company to collect it and send to NZ.

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    And then came all of the new parts, front bumper cover, bonnet and hinges, guards/fenders/wings (depending which version of the English language you use! ) as well as a lot of plastic ducts, shields etc, a lot of new bolts, clips etc. I also ordered the LH chassis rail, both in component form, as well as a complete front corner assembly. Not sure which route we will take here, so better to have both. I can return the parts I don't use.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

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    Probably important to outline the repair process in NZ at this point for salvaged vehicles. We must use a certified engineer, independent to the repair shop, who oversees the repair from start to finish, to ensure the repair is done to the correct manufacturers standards.

    In this case, I had to get a copy of Ford's repair process for damaged chassis rails. This quite clearly states that no cutting and joining is allowed. The rail must be replaced in its entirety. The engineer explained to me the reason for this; the rails are commonly made of 2 or 3 sections of steel, of various tensile strengths. The softer steel at the front of the car, progressing to stiffer as you go rearwards. They are laser welded together, and then pressed into shape. This is to give the desired "crumple zone" and ensure deformation starts at the front of the car, progressing rearwards. The airbag module is closely calibrated to this rate of deformation, to trigger the airbags at the correct moment. An early or late airbag trigger would be potentially disastrous in the event of an accident. A chassis rail that has been cut and welded could compromise the trigger point. You can see the laser weld on this chassis rail, about 300mm from the front edge.

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    Last edited by conrod; 04-21-2019 at 04:28 AM.
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    Nice work mate!
    If you don't mind me asking, how many dollars are you up to at this point inc the price of the actual car?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamoRS View Post
    Nice work mate!
    If you don't mind me asking, how many dollars are you up to at this point inc the price of the actual car?
    Not at all! I paid $10K for the car, plus auction fees, which came to about $11K. (NZ Dollars here) I have spent $10K on parts, and have nearly everything I need now. So I expect the completed car to owe me somewhere between $25-$30K. ($16-$20K USD)

    Of course this is not taking into account my labour, which is zero rated for this calculation!
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    RS Specialist phillofoc's Avatar
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    Good job so far, and good luck with the build! I was going to say grab an upgraded radiator and intercooler, but you have the whole front clip as a unit (lucky find!)

    Sub'd, I look forward to seeing it when you're done with it!
    If you buy one, drive it hard. Because thrills like these don’t happen often.

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