Junkyard Find: 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 Kona Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

During 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.

The 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.

This one got forcibly retired after an airbag-deploying crash.

Was 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.

It looks as though some junkyard shopper wanted the front subframe but not the engine.

It’s likely the bicycle outlived the car in this case. Could it be this one?

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Xantia10000 Xantia10000 on May 09, 2018

    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!

    • JonBoy470 JonBoy470 on Jul 24, 2018

      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.

  • JonBoy470 JonBoy470 on Jul 24, 2018

    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.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...