Bark's Bites: To Mod Or Not To Mod
I have a confession to make. I’ve never modified any car that I’ve owned. Not a cold air intake. Not an exhaust. Not a single bolt-on. Nothing.
I guess you could make a case that I modified my Mazda RX-8, but all I did was buy Koni Sport shocks (which are considered OEM replacement) and O.Z. Ultraleggera wheels (man, I miss those) to make it a better autocrosser. And I did buy the Trackey software for my Boss 302. But I’ve never done a single thing to a car that would cause a warranty to be violated. And as a “car guy,” I’ve always been completely okay with that.
That is, I was, until I saw an Instagram picture yesterday.
I’ve driven my Focus RS approximately 300 miles in the first week that I’ve owned it (which has equaled three tanks of gas), and so far, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve enjoyed all the eyeballs it draws, and all of the questions from people who are seeing one for the first time. It’s fast enough that I can stoplight drag just about any car commonly found on the streets, and I’m getting good grip from the Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
But, dammit — I want it to be more bonkers than it is. I am fully aware that the FoRS has a sort of built-in “break-in” mode, and that it will unlock a little more power after the first 2,000 miles or so. I just don’t know if it will be enough to compete with my memories of my Boss 302. I want crazy. I want loud, raucous, and powerful.
And based on the dyno graph shown above, my good friend Matt Farah, along with the folks at Mountune, have found about an extra hundred torx for the low, low cost of $2,800 in parts and labor. Yes, that’s a lot of money for a car that already cost $43,000. But as I discussed my favorite film of all time, Tokyo Drift, with my friends James and Sid on the Reels and Wheels podcast the other night, I started to think that maybe modding cars could be for me, after all. Who didn’t love Han’s RX-7? or D.K.’s 350Z? or even Neela’s RX-8? If fictional teenagers from twelve years ago can modify their cars, why not me?
One of the reasons that I’ve never modded a car is because I’m virtually certain that the folks at Ford (or Mazda, Porsche, etc.) know much more about engineering than I do. I’ve known many people who’ve spent thousands on their cars only to end up making them worse (looking at you, Mustang owners). But damn if this tune doesn’t seem foolproof.
I don’t want to do anything that’s visually noticeable on the FoRS — the Nitrous Blue paint stands out enough for a 38-year-old dad, thanks. But more power? Earlier boost? How could this be a bad thing?
However, I know myself. I rarely do things anything less than 100 percent — sometimes more than 100 percent. I’m legit worried that I’ll end up with something that looks like, well, this:
So maybe I’ll just start with something easy, like a nice high flow induction kit. You know, nothing major. Maybe some RS center caps. Those are tasteful. And I’ll need a set of winter wheels and tires, so why not just have them double as my autocross/track wheels and get some O.Z.s, just like the ones I had on my RX-8?
Shit. Just take my AMEX number and be done with it, Mountune. Just don’t tell me how much it costs, okay? Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
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