By on April 30, 2018

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDuring the middle 1990s, Volkswagen partnered with Wisconsin bicycle manufacturer Trek and sold Trek Edition Jettas, complete with a Trek mountain bike and roof rack. Ford marketers saw an opportunity to out-cool Volkswagen in the bicycle-car pairing department, and figured they’d go to the Pacific Northwest for the bike to include with their biked-up Focus.

Thus was the Kona Edition Focus born, and I managed to find one of these rarities in a self-service wrecking yard in California’s Central Valley.


The Kona Edition Focus came with a Blast mountain bike, made by the Kona Bicycle Company in Washington. Unfortunately for Ford and Kona, crank bolt problems led to what must be the first-ever automaker-issued bicycle recall.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, Kona badge - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe side moldings on the Kona Focus looked like mountain-bike tracks, which looked a lot better than the horrifying bike-themed upholstery in the Trek Jetta.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one got forcibly retired after an airbag-deploying crash.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, flyer - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWas the driver on his way to the San Francisco Narcotics Anonymous Men’s Breakfast Committee Fall Dance when the crash occurred? Probably not, given the age of the flyer.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt looks as though some junkyard shopper wanted the front subframe but not the engine.

2000 Ford Focus Kona Edition in California wrecking yard, interior - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt’s likely the bicycle outlived the car in this case. Could it be this one?

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47 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 Kona Edition...”


  • avatar
    mechimike

    Ahead of its time. With Ford attempting to brand themselves as some sort of “Mobility” company now, I wouldn’t be surprised if this concept makes an encore.

    Kindof like the color- greenish brown. Earthy. When I first read the model name, I thought, “A coffee- themed Focus”?

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    I have fond memories of my 2002 ZX3 that was my first-ever new car purchase.

    Ford Motor Credit was willing to work with my lousy beacon score (almost certainly in exchange for a sky-high interest rate, though I can’t remember what it was now) but had to be cajoled a bit to accept the higher price for one equipped with an automatic in “Malibu Blue,” the only in-stock base model unit in a color that wasn’t white or black. In hindsight, I should have taken FMC’s approval and told the dealer to find one with a 5-speed and power equipment for the same money.

    Even hobbled with the auto, the ZX3 was a fun car to own and drive when it worked. Alas, it also needed an inordinate number of jump starts for reasons the dealer could never sort out, and (perhaps related) it had an appetite for radios, going through three head units (same one as in the feature car) over 28,000 miles of ownership. The automatic was also starting to slip between 2nd and 3rd by the time I got rid of it a few years later.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I rented an 00 Focus LX sedan and really liked it. Liked it so much I traded my 01 Elantra for my 01 ZX3 with stick and all the options except a sunroof soon after. The Elantra was fine, but it wasn’t a drivers car at all. The little Ford was fun.

      I had decent credit, but not the sense not to use it back then!

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      I still keep my 02 ZX3. And the 5 speed and the clutch is great combo – even total noob can drive it. All manual (but fuel injection) “raw power” – no kidding, some coworker asked what kind of sports car I drove. I’d have no issue buying it over my mk7 GTI if new old stock was still available (particularly at the price I paid for mine in 01). No Toyota reliability, but nobody drives drives these like Camry either. And there’s a reason for “It looks as though some junkyard shopper wanted the front subframe but not the engine.” – DOHC engine are basically bulletproof but rust will eventually take care of the rest (still not as bad as Koreans or Japanese for this matter) so good subframe and control arms is nice find (I may be taking another trip to Phoenix to source one for mine, btw, this rust free oil pan is also an easy transplant). Myself I’m not a fan of the “dirt” color – it likely didn’t help avoiding the trouble that led it to the junkyard.
      I’ve seen one around with forced induction – slamming through gears and puffing off from traffic lights. Mine is stock (with performance exhaust by rust inc;), will be turning 203k this week (likely packed with bike(s) on the way to trails in SE Wisconsin).

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Excuse my ignorance but were all federal spec Focuseses so hugely bumpered?

    Or just this special edition?

  • avatar
    gtem

    A bicycle recall to go with one of the most recall-marred new car launches ever, it’s perfect! Imagine riding your Kona bike while your Focus has been issued a “stop driving” recall and then you get a notice to stop riding your bike because THAT was recalled.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Driving to the trailhead to ride your mountain bike without an AWD vehicle?

    Truly the dark ages. I don’t know how anyone survived.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Haha my brother and his friend group of serious MTBers seem to have a theme of driving random old beaters as their MTB haulers of choice. The standouts are my brother’s crusty old ’89 4cyl RWD MPV, we have some awesome photos of it doing stream crossings and climbing its way up snowed in access roads with chains on the back. The other car is a ’95 Geo Prizm with aluminum siding molded in to replace rotted out rockers. That thing has likewise been to hell and back on state forest access roads in PA. I will say my brother has seen the consequence of a more modern lower clearance sedan trying to drive up this same access road, he followed a trail of oil up to an immobilized Mazda3 and its hapless driver a few years back.

      BTW the Church of 3800 will be pleased to hear I came *this* close to lining up an old ’94 Lesabre for my next winter beater this weekend, but the deal fell through. It’s an old farmer’s car that my brother has maintained for the last few years (brake and fuel lines, a bunch of small stuff) but the owner upgraded and the old girl had just been sitting undriven, he was ready to just get scrap value for it. I told him I’d buy it for $400 if he could hold it for me until fall. My brother took it to his place to give it a once over and unfortunately discovered that the front subframe mount was about to detach from the unibody. So the good running Lesabre with 194k and a perfectly healthy engine and trans is getting scrapped out for $250 :(

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Bummer on the LeSabre, I’d think a half hour with a MIG welder and some angle iron could make that more than good enough for a couple more years.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yeah, it’s one of those situations where it’s not a pretty car, rockers were given a quick farmer’s welding job with some crudely bent sheetmetal, it needs new struts, it needs the welding done. Sad but it’s just enough stuff to make it not worth the effort to save IMO. I’m sure if my brother wanted it for himself he’d do the labor and keep it going. But for me where I’d at least be paying for the welding (and cost of struts, ignoring labor), the value is just not there. I need something that can take a pounding on Indy’s urban infrastructure so something with potentially questionable structural repairs on the subframe in a heavy cast iron-engined H body… doesn’t sound like a risk I want to take.

          That’s where my beloved 90s Camries/Avalons/etc shine: even when they finally start to rust on the rear quarter panels, the subframes stay freaky-clean, almost new looking, as does most of the underbody sheetmetal. That and they’re as good of pot-hole eaters as anything else short of a BOF SUV/Panther.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      You have a point. Ford didn’t do to well with this model and Subaru has had steady incline in sales for about 10 years now.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      My zx3 had no problems “Ford-ing” through creek in Smokeys. BTW, great in snow (but no ABS so one has to be aware of laws of physics).

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    I went to go see a dealer about buying one of these a year or two ago. I mean, brown manual wagon(ish)… what’s not to love? When I arrived at the dealer, I experienced something I never had before, and probably never will again: no one was around. No salesmen, nothing. Supposedly they were open, but there wasn’t a soul to be found.

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      I get this all the time when I go to Lowe’s or Home Depot. I never need any assistance beyond simply pointing me to where an item is located, so I’m a very easy customer.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    FWD and rear drum brakes in a “sporty” bicycle-themed car?

    This package would have made more sense on a 2-door Explorer Sport with 4WD.

    That said, the brownish color and moldings do look pretty cool.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Those drums were no fun to work on either, but it did drive well for a small FWD Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I spent way more time than necessary doing a full brake job on a friend’s ’09 Mazda3, a sporty car with vaunted rear disks. It was mostly a result of my own ignorance about calipers with built in parking brake functionality (rotating piston design). The brakes had already been done twice on the car, this time around due to rust rather than wear. Things would have been much simpler had it had drums. I can almost guarantee that even with 156k miles popping a drum off to inspect would have shown no need to mess with them. As it was I spent 1 hour on the fronts and then at least 2 messing with the rears (including going to autozone to rent the special tool). On the bright side: Mazda uses FoMoCo aluminum alloy calipers that don’t corrode so there wasn’t the usual grinding back of the pad mounting surfaces (which my wife’s 2012 Camry has already needed to solve a dragging rear pad issue).

      Long story short, to the guys living in the salt belt, for anything short of a true sports car or something that sees the track, drums in the rear are the way to go IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I had an ’02 ZX3, drove it for 12 years. I pulled the drums at 80,000 miles, found no measurable wear. The rear brakes on a light front drive car don’t get much use.

      A car with 130 hp does just fine with FWD, and the first gen Focus was great fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Agreed in full FF

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Another curious tidbit: I gave the car back to my friend last week after just an oil change but before the brake job, he commented how the brakes seemed more effective/more responsive than before and was wondering what I had done since I hadn’t touched them yet. The only thing I could think of was that I used the parking brake, whereas my friend never does (it’s an automatic, in pancake flat Central Indiana). I suspect there is an auto-adjustment mechanism on these new rotary disk brake parking brake systems just like drum brakes have auto-adjusters built into and dependent on parking brake use. Don’t use the parking brake, your rear brakes are inevitably out of adjustment over time! More noticeable on a rear-disk brake model where pads wear more measurably than drums. Now, on the other kind of rear disk system where the parking brake mechanism is basically a baby drum setup inside of the rotors, you’d never deal with a lack of adjustment of the actual rear disk brakes since the system is decoupled. Fascinating stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You are correct – that is the purpose of the rotating pistons actually they rotate out to take up the slack due to wear.

            My VWs with rear drum brakes actually had self-adjusters as well, and when I got my ’85 Jetta it was evident that the parking brake had rarely been used as the brake pedal travel was super long. Solution per the dealer was take it out back and do a bunch of stops using the parking brake lever, IIRC in reverse. Fixed it right up.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      My Escort had rear drums, I think they were still original at 200K miles. Pulling the drums to inspect them was a bit of a pain, but the darn things never wore out.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Rear brakes on a nose-heavy FWD car really don’t do much. Cheap and simple, if somewhat aggravating when (often if) they do eventually need replacement. But still not much worse than dealing with some of the horrible rear caliper parking brake designs out there.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I feel like I’m getting old. There’s a first-generation Fusion next to this car and a second-generation (2008ish?) Focus up ahead.

    I was in high school when those cars were new. I shake my head in disbelief that a car from, say, 2010 is “old”.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had an 01 ZX3 with a stick and it was an enjoyable little car. At 130 hp, it was not fast, but it was amusing in the lukewarm hatch manner. It stuck in the corners and had good steering feel if not feedback. As bad as this 1st gen Focus was for recalls, they had ironed most of it out when I bought mine.

    I did have some weird stuff go wrong. The radio began losing reception at one point because the antenna lead had corroded somehow. The large Ford dealer I bought it from was just going to put a new headunit in it. The small Ford dealer I tried my hand at selling cars at actually diagnosed the problem correctly. I learned a lot in that short two weeks!

    The drivers seat frame broke on the lower cushion ( I’m not a small person, but I’m not THAT big). All was fixed under warranty. I had it for four years and I was never stranded by it.

    I thought about trading for a ZX5 or ZTW (wagon) at some point, but I didn’t want the same basic car again. Then I thought of the SVT cars, especially when the local Ford dealer( that I bought my ZX3 from) had one languish for a while. It was orange, but again, I really didn’t want the same basic car again, not for more money. My needs changed and I traded the Focus on a lot queen Lancer Sportback around 05, which served me well for four years too. Until I was rear-ended and it was totaled.

    That New Edge interior though brings brings up as many mixed memories are there are shapes in it!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I used to see one of these pretty regularly, on my drive to work in the morning. Is this one a manual? It isn’t clear from the pictures.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In the 2000’s when this Focus was on the road while cruising the highways and making its way to bike trailheads Ford was still selling the ZX2 sport coupe, sans Escort name with the same 2.0 Zetec.
    There was enough of market for compacts as well as the popular Explorer SUV.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    These cars were pretty well regarded for their steering and handling when new. Good thing the airbag-triggering crash was to the front, though. These cars were horribly rated for occupant protection in rear-seat T-bones.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The Focus has often been one or two big issues away from being a great little car.

    This one was fun and unique but had serious teething issues. The midcycle refresh made the interior dull and cheap. The next US-only version was further decontented and depressing to look at and sit in. The current one looks good, drives well, and has a far nicer interior but a useless back seat and hated DCT automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I have the NA-market sedan 2010, bought used and cheap. Depressing to look at yes, surprisingly comfy for me though,and the SES/SEL trims are well featured. Older years were more fun to drive, later years drive like a bigger more substantial car. Very reliable and 33 MPG avg with high city driving mix. No social status at all but paid for and good at its job. Hope to get 200k out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        EMedPA

        I bought an SES spec wagon in 2005 and put 155,000 miles on it in 7 years. I sold it to my wife’s uncle, who is still driving it with close to 200K on it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I went to the junkyard Saturday, lol my first day off in weeks and I spend it in a junkyard.

    Scored some good stuff, got a console lid for my car, a power window motor that works, a set of aluminum valve covers, some wiring for the RKE system, a brand new set of locking lug nuts with key, and a 120 MPH speedometer (head unit only, the cluster itself won’t work),from a Windstar to upgrade from my measly 85 MPH unit.

  • avatar
    qwerty shrdlu

    “Unfortunately for Ford and Kona, crank bolt problems led to what must be the first-ever automaker-issued bicycle recall.”

    Yamaha had to recall Lambert/Viscount bicycles due to problems with the front forks, the so-called “death fork.”

    https://www.sheldonbrown.com/lambert.html

    I bought my Viscount in 1976 before starting college, but after replacing the frame in ’93 it is only philosophically the same bike.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I no longer have the Volkswagen product I was driving in the early ’80s (a ’75 Scirocco), but I still have the TREK I got back then, an 18 speed touring bike. That has aged just fine. Granted, I don’t ride it as much in my 60’s as I did in my 20’s.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Would have been tragic (TRAGIC, I TELL YA) if the blown-out windshield was a result of hitting a cyclist. More likely the roof-carried bike pitched forward on impact.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I thought the bike theme seat covers in the VW Treks was cool, but what do I know?

    There were also the Gary Fisher Saabs that came with a bike.

  • avatar
    xantia10000

    Love this post – reminds me of my dark blue 2001 ZX3. It was fully loaded, except for the automatic. It even had a manual crank sunroof. Super fun to toss around at low-ish speeds.

    It did have a few problems though.

    When it rained, water would collect inside the rear foot well. After heavy rain the water was a good 3 inches deep. Apparently a drain that was supposed to channel water out of the car was misassembled, leading the water directly in!

    Under acceleration the headlamps and instrument panel gauges would dim and brighten continuously. The alternator needed to be replaced. And then the problem came back, so another alternator was fitted. And then this happened a third time.

    The driver door lock broke, so for a few months when I was waiting for the replacement part, I had to enter and exit Dukes of Hazard-style.

    The oil pan rusted out and leaked oil so we needed to get a new one of those.

    At 55k miles I was slightly tired of these niggling problems and sold it to a poor woman a few towns over. I hope she had better luck than I did!

    • 0 avatar
      JonBoy470

      By the time I’d unloaded my 2000 ZX3, after 8 years, 121k miles, a wife and two kids, the parts cannon had been fired at most of the front suspension, along with the steering rack and power steering pump, rear wheel bearings, A/C compressor, blower motor resistor (failed due to water ingress) throttle position sensor, driver side window regulator, the ignition switch (?!) the tailgate latch, and the parking brake cable. Towards the end, after it passed 100k I started letting stuff go. After the handle to flip the driver’s seat forward broke off in my hand, a flathead screwdriver lived on the floor next to the seat to actuate what was left of the mechanism. The sensor in the seat belt buckle that told the car I was buckled up also failed, and was fixed by disconnecting the wiring harness so the car always thought I was buckled. There was still a Freon leak after the compressor was replaced, but a can of R134a, added in with a cheapo DIY kit in late spring, was enough for the car to blow cold until the end of the summer. The best failure though, which wasn’t Ford’s fault, was when my (then two year old) son let the magic smoke out of the stereo by feeding spare change into the CD slot.

  • avatar
    JonBoy470

    I remember these. Fresh out of college, my first new car was a 2000 Focus ZX3, bought in August 2000. I got a normal one, in “Infra-Red”. Had a love/hate relationship with that car. Loved driving it. It wasn’t a rocket ship, but you could hoon it some. Every bit a match for the Mk III Jetta VW was selling at the time. Just $4k cheaper for similar equipment. Unfortunately, the thing was a raging dumpster fire of mechanical unreliability. Lucky for me, the dealer had suckered me into a 6/100 bumper to bumper extended warranty, which, conservatively, paid for itself two or three times over. I ran the VIN through CarFax a few years after I traded it in, and found it had gone through a couple more owners in North Carolina, and finally met its end when it got T-boned on the passenger side. Hopefully the driver was alone in the car, as I’d skipped the side airbags.

    The dealer had a Kona package car, just like this one, but the Kona package added $1,795 to the sticker, which was a bit rich for my blood at the time. The “Dirt” color was actually same paint code as the $#!+ brown color that unmarked P71 Crown Vic cop cars came in.


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