There’s always been something special about the way us car guys look at life…
The way we envision the future, the way we calculate risk & investments, and the way we attack problems… all seem to bear the same color to us. When we find an old abandoned body, we never really see it for what it is, but always for what it could be.
When we calculate the amount of work it takes to reach that vision, we calculate in emotions, like how it will make us feel and what we can learn from it.
If challenges come along the way, it’s never a point to back out, but a point to find another path.
We carry these habits & values throughout our lives, in most everything we do. These are the habits of Michael Gallagher with his Ford Focus RS.
Michael Gallagher always had fun in 4-doors that could handle their own.
It’s kind of his thing. He started young when his father and he bought a ‘61 Chevy Bel Air as a project. Then, growing into adulthood with kids of his own, Michael got his hands on the 4-door muscle-bound CTS-V. But when he heard the legendary Focus RS was FINALLY going to make its way to the US market… well you already know Michael ordered it as soon as it was announced.
With an 18 month wait period, Michael was able to prepare & do plenty of research.
He watched the aftermarket R&D the Focus RS, and in-turn planned out his own modifications around that. As an award winning designer by trade, Michael has spent his life’s work recognizing & solving problems. So naturally, every bit of his RS build was subject to his own criticism, scrutiny, & improvements.
The body of this RS was clearly done by a professional.
Michael made sure that while he redesigned functioning aspects, they would keep to a high standard of fluid/clean visual appeal. To fit the meaty set of 315 BFG Rivals (squared) in the wheel wells, he had to move mountains. Michael cut fenders & cut body to massage these custom carbon flares onto the car. It was all patiently & painstakingly done to seamlessly compliment the RS, as if it came from the factory. He’s probably spent more effort in FUNCTIONALLY fitting 315’s under his RS, than most people do for their entire ride. But despite the time & effort (and cost) spent to meticulously build this machine…
Michael rips the Focus RS without holding back.
Seeing this thing at the Holley Ford Fest autocross with 315s on each corner of an all-wheel-drive 550hp vehicle… it defies logic. It’s like watching a lion strike into a full sprint, ripping up the ground beneath it, chasing after its prey.
The heart of the Focus RS?? An engine built & tuned by Adam at Tune+.
The car is tuned on a Cobb Accessport. And the turbo is a Precision Turbo drop-in setup designed specifically for the RS Ecoboost. It makes 550hp, and runs a Radium/Tune+ aux-port fuel & control. But wait… there’s more!
The interior of this built Ford Focus RS was also immaculately & cleverly redesigned.
The rear seats were removed to save weight, and replaced with a custom carbon-wrapped piece that houses the Optima battery, as well as an additional speaker package that can be quickly removed for track time. Tire pressure gauges, and even pens + a dry erase board for jotting down trackside notes & numbers… they all have their harnessed place inside the vehicle.
It’s rare to find a track car that’s so aggressive, yet so polished.
This Focus RS is meticulous. It’s been to the SEMA Show – twice. And it’s by no coincidence that Michael has earned multiple podiums and Champion of the Optima Drive Autox series, the Holley Ford Fest grand champion, multiple Goodguys Autocross wins… and over 26 states of track experience. However, while he enjoys all the victories, jitters, and adrenaline…
Michael’s true joy comes from testing theories & expressing creativity.
Now retired, it’s very clear to Michael that he has a ‘superpower’ as a designer. Michael and myself encourage everyone, automotive community & beyond, to figure out what your superpower is. Find that thing YOU do best. Your natural strengths.
If you’re having trouble with that, ask friends & family around you. Look within. Heck, there’s a number of strength-finder & aptitude tests online. I know it sounds lame; but it’s not lame. They are tools to zero-in on what your natural abilities are.
Once you’ve been able to pinpoint some of your natural strengths, find out how you can use/harness those towards something you truly enjoy doing. Read that again – something you truly enjoy doing. Not necessarily something that typically pays more money, and not something that your parents, or peer groups want you to do. It HAS to be something YOU enjoy doing. That’s the key.
Michael spent his entire life as a designer, so that he could retire and design some more.
Our editor, Wooley, is fluent in being able to relate to others, and puts that into the pages of this print mag. Our ad guy, Mike, is an organized, business-minded, numbers man… but found his light keeping an automotive magazine afloat while slinging his Evo and Type-R around. Our social media producer, Hunter, is incredibly skilled at connecting with others and does so everyday for S3. I, as a media producer, love art & storytelling. And I do my best to use that to spread positivity & inspiration to those of you who read this.
We all hope you can find your superpower and use it to build your happiness. And if that happiness happens to manifest itself onto 4 wheels at the track, be sure to hit us up to share inspiration to others.
Text and photos by Jesuel Rivera
- Custom modified carbon fiber front fenders
- Fabricated fender flares & diffuser
- Cut fenders, wheel wells & body Clearance for 315s
- Redesigned underbody panels, bumper & splitter for 315s
- Vented carbon fiber hood
- RS Bubble Wing badge
- Custom fabricated carbon fiber underbody aero panels
- Carbon fiber mirrors with mirror visors
- Holes drilled in front bumper for extra cooling
- Blue tinted turn signals
WHEELS / TIRES
- MMR Designs gunmetal wheels in 18×10.5 -2.5 squared
- 315 BFG Rivals
- KW coilovers & OEM electronic cancellation kit
- REVO/ALCON 6-piston big brake kit
- Ground Control camber plates
- Powerflex RDU race bushings
- Massive aluminum control arms
- Steeda rear sway bar
- Eibach front sway bar
- Massive aluminum front/rear sway bar links, and rear camber arms
- Powerflex race control arm bushings
- Pierce Motorsports front/rear subframe braces
- Tune+ fully built engine making 550hp
- Mountune 3-pass radiator
- Precision Turbo RS upgrade
- Go Fast Bits adjustable Bypass valve
- Radium/Tune+ aux port fuel injection & control
- Balanced & pinned crank with balance shaft delete
- Ported head with ARP studs & JE headgasket
- Upgraded valvetrain w/85lb springs, titanium retainers, bronze guides, Viton seals & 7 degree keeper
- Custom pistons & H-beam rods with ARP rod bolts
- Piper UK BP285 camshafts
- King XP-Series race bearings
- Tune+ custom tune using COBB Accessport
- ETS intercooler & hard piping
- Redesigned K&N intake from Focus ST
- Borla downpipe, modified for Precision turbo
- Custom exhaust
- Recaro RS2 seats
- Mountune short shifter
- Schroth harnesses
- Custom machined RS foot plate
- Dunn RS deadman pedal
- Heel/Toe throttle spacers