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Example of V-8 Focus engine swap

by DrivingEnthusiast

As a followup to our original post about converting a Focus to V-8 power, here’s an actual example of a car with the conversion. It was recently for sale on eBay, where $12,000 bid failed to win the bidding.

The conversion is technically straightforward. This particular example was built in Florida using parts from Kugel Komponents. Images are scarce (at least to the degree for which our blog and site is known), but the following is what was available on eBay.

This is the beauty, and the attraction, to this swap: from the outside you can’t tell what has been done. This Focus is the definition of the term “sleeper”.

But look under the hood and you see a pushrod Ford 4.9 liter “Windsor” engine – aka “302”. With no emissions controls whatsoever, in this case.

Inside: very little indication that anything has changed. The gauges are all new – probably because the stock engine computer that would have driven them isn’t being used at all. Note the odd shifter – but unlike many conversions at least it’s in the right place.

The stock fuel tank is under the rear seat, so in this case we have both a fuel cell and a battery box located all the way back, where the spare would normally be found. This looks like a well thought-out conversion, although the hose clamp on the fuel vent isn’t very neat.

Moving underneath, we see the ubiquitous 8.8″ Mustang rear end, with disc brakes. And coilovers. Nice, but it all looks a little oily.

And the front suspension – based on a stock Focus upright and strut, converted to front-steer.

As we pointed out in the original post, the usefulness of a V-8 Focus is debatable… structural integrity is a major question with the much heavier engine and far-forward placement. Emissions checks would make this car impossible to register in many or most parts of the country…  and if your particular municipality allowed it today you might find the laws changing tomorrow – leaving you “out of luck”. But, then, the people who take on swaps like this usually don’t have to deal with these problems and of course the engineering challenges are the main interest.

But thanks to Tee’s Custom – the exclusive distributor for Kugel Komponents, the parts also exist to drop a modular Ford V-8 into the car. That could easily be made emissions legal, as Ford itself did with it’s own V-8 Focus “RS8” concept and project cars. Their concept car jump-started the idea of a V-8 conversion, and versions were shown with both a Ford Racing 5 liter Modular engine with an FR-500 Ford Racing intake manifold and solid axle, as well as another verison with an SN-95 Cobra “Terminator” supercharged 4.6 and an SN95 Cobra IRS. The Kugel modular engine cradle/subframe looks like this:

Combine this with their rear cradle for a solid axle, and some of the hardest work is done. From their own site, here is what a pushrod Windsor engine looks like during the conversion process. Note the yellow subframe/cradle.

So if you have a particularly loud Focus pull up next to you, with a very deep bass rumble, chances are this is what you are looking at.

If you are considering doing your own Focus engine swap, you might also consider swapping in an SHO Taurus engine, or an SVT Contour engine – both have been done. Or better yet, something that hasn’t been done before. If you can put a Sherman tank engine into a Mustang, why not a Focus?

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