In a high-performance world filled with Mustangs and the all-new Ford GT, it’s easy to see why some owners of the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST might feel overshadowed. With twin turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engines and Coyote V8s being all the rage, most enthusiasts tend to forget that the ST models are an important part of the Ford Performance lineup.
Over the years, these turbocharged, four-cylinder EcoBoost-powered hot hatches have steadily grown in popularity. So much so, that the aftermarket has recently began to catch up.
Go-fast gurus (and just plain old badasses) like Ken Block and Vaughin Gittin Jr. have helped fuel the fire for enthusiasts as well. With the success of the RTR brand and Hoonigan‘s Gymkhana series, it’s hard not to be a Ford Performance enthusiast these days. It’s also why the duo has teamed up in an effort to show appreciate to ST folks; showing us that you don’t have to have the biggest, baddest car to be an enthusiast–you just have to enjoy cars!
Los Angeles is sort of a central-hub for many Southern California residents, so it’s easy to see why it was chosen for the first ST Meet-Up event. There’s a lot of scenery in L.A.; buildings which have been exposed to years of rain and neglect create a dilapidated texture that’s actually, quit visually pleasing. It really set the scene for an urban look and feel, and we think that’s what made such a great foundation for the meet.
The object of the ST Meet-Up is to essentially portray the ST lifestyle.—Nick Doran, Ford Performance
When we had a chance to talk with the folks at the Blue Oval’s in-house hot-rodding division, they were eager to tell us just exactly what the 2017 ST Meet-Up was all about. “Ford Performance partnered with the team at Hoonigan this year to set the meet up,” Nick Doran said.
He works for Ford Performance through the Enthusiast Outreach Program, which is a program dedicated to coordinating media, events, stories, and more on its website for Ford enthusiasts.
“The object of the ST Meet-Up is to essentially portray the ST lifestyle. Our job going in was to enhance that by providing the additional events and giveaways within this event,” Nick continued.
Having previously owned a 2004 ZX5 SVT Focus in Infra Red, your author was immediately drawn to this facelift Race Red Focus ST. Wearing gold wheels and a pair of yellow fog lights, in combination with the dark window tint and additional black accents throughout, it's just the way we could have liked to have ours.
A T-shirt studio where enthusiasts could create their own custom shirts was on deck at the event, as well as food trucks and professional photography by Tony Harmer for VIP ST enthusiasts.
When we asked the folks at Ford about the rarity of this meet, and the possibility of another event like this, he said this particular event was as exclusive as it gets.
“This is definitely a first time thing for us in regard to ST owners. We don’t have any plans beyond this event.” Nick added. “This is the first of its kind, so it’s rather unique to say the least. We were still planning basically up until the point that it started, because it was so new, we assumed certain things would happen–but we weren’t sure.”
Nick was most likely referring to is requesting permits for filming, parking, etc. Gathering these assets in a timely matter can be difficult–especially when you are planning on the go for the first time.
See what we mean about the scenery? Classic Los Angeles!
“As you can see, there’s a ton of cameras filming around us,” Nick said. “We’re really big on sharing these events on our social media platforms for enthusiasts who can’t make it out. There may not be a need to do this in the future [referring to another ST MeetUp event], but the turnout has been so great, we’re expecting a lot of enthusiasts to push for another event,”
One event onboard was the RC Car ST Lap Battle by HPI Racing which pitted enthusiasts against each other in an epic lap racing series.
Nick told us that more than one hundred ST cars were registered for parking alone for the event, but it was clear that more than that numerical figure was present during the event. “We had an RSVP setup for a minimum of 100 vehicles, and we hit that quickly. It’s strictly an ST-related event; though there are even some Focus RS that showed up,”
One of our favorite Focus ST models on the scene was Mike’s black facelift model. Mike told us the car had most of its work performed at 281 Motorsports, and they couldn’t have done a better job on the build.
Of course legends Ken Block and Vaughn Gittin Jr. were on the scene, signing dashboards, hats, license plate frames, and even mingling with ST enthusiasts. These two are some of the most down-to-earth folks you'll ever meet.
The models that showed up that were not ST iterations were not turned away–just parked in the general parking, and not part of the event. “At this particular event, no other cars but the ST models are highlighted; which in our opinion is pretty neat, because the Mustang and the Focus RS always steal the spotlight,” Nick exclaimed.
It’s a way to celebrate ST pride and ownership, and we think the folks at Ford Performance and Hoonigan pulled off one heck of a show in such a short time. We know we’d love to attend another ST Meet-Up like this in the future. Checkout the gallery below for all of the pictures we snagged at one of the coolest meets this year.
Bonus points to whoever remembers these iconic hot hatches!
In a sea of Focus STs and Fiesta STs, this JDM-inspired Fox Mustang with its exposed oil cooler really stood out to us in the parking lot. It was unique to say the least!