Andrew Butler’s modified Ford Focus RS Mk3 is buzzing around the show scene like an angry wasp, and he’s loving every minute of it.

Some cars are so good, they don’t need to be modified. Perfect and unimpeachable in factory form, every now and then a manufacturer gets it completely right from the off and creates something magnificent, perfect, beyond any possibility of enhancement.

…at least, that’s what someone with no imagination might tell you. The fact of the matter is that nothing’s perfect, there are always compromises and broadened tolerances and legislation to be pinned to; in addition, technology keeps advancing, so something that’d score a full five-stars at launch may get downgraded to four stars or fewer as newer models come out.

front end shot of Modified ford focus rs mk3

Whatever the reasoning, there’s no such thing as a perfect standard car. And besides, since you’re reading this, you’ll no doubt be on the same side of the fence as we are. Cars aren’t just a means of perambulatory conveyance – they’re a blank canvas for creativity, a projection of our personalities, a playful companion, a hobby that we just can’t set aside.

Ramair intake

Catching the car modifying bug

This was all thrown into sharp focus for Andrew Butler by virtue of the fact that his cousin is Butsy, a serial Ford modifier. If you’re spending any significant time in that man’s presence, it’s only natural that you’ll develop a deep and twisted affection for modified Fords – call it osmosis, call it Stockholm Syndrome, Butsy won’t stop banging on about this stuff.

“Yeah, it’s probably all his fault,” laughs Andrew. “When I worked with my cousin, I used to listen to him rant and rave about cars all day, every day, and I slowly grew that same passion for cars that he had – and that’s where my journey into the scene began. I have owned four Fiestas, and my favorite was my white Mk7 ST which had a hybrid turbo and 350bhp. These things were absolutely bulletproof and so underrated! I only owned the car for about year before moving on to the RS but I do still miss it.”

RS spoiler on Ford Focus

Buying the Ford Focus RS Mk3

It’s that butterfly nature that we all know so well; most of us have a list of cars that we miss, and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason why we flit from one to another, it’s all just about going with the flow. “I have no real reasoning behind why I chose the Mk3 RS,” he continues.

Rotiform wheels on Modified ford focus rs mk3

“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing, and I sometimes think life is much better that way! I bought the Focus from a friend of mine – Tom Fairgrieve who owns Elite Automotive in Kirkcaldy, Scotland – in 2021. It was in immaculate condition, like all of the cars he sells; it’s actually where I’d bought the Fiesta ST too. The modified Ford Focus RS Mk3 was a Mountune Edition and running a Stage 1 map from them, along with the full Maxton Design splitter kits. It had been well looked after by the previous owner, and it was a very good example of an RS.”

It’s fair to say that Andrew was pretty chuffed with his purchase too. The cosmos may have led him to this car with its usual blend of divine mysticism and random happenstance, but it certainly steered the fella in the right direction.

Modified ford focus rs mk3 engoine

Modifying the Ford Focus RS Mk3

“When I first drove the car home from Kirkcaldy, I still couldn’t quite believe that it was mine – and let’s just say it was a very spirited drive back,” he laughs. “And yes, the modifications on the car started more or less straight away. I ordered up the new Milltek non-resonated exhaust system with manual remote valve controller and the Airtec Stage 2 intercooler with larger Airtec boost pipes, then went for the Sabre Tuning Stage 2 map which certainly livened up the car.

The previous owner contacted me about a month after buying it, asking how I was getting on, and offered me some aftermarket rear lights which I snapped up; it was also good to get a catch-up with them to learn a little more about the car’s history. I ran the Focus for about a year like this, going to Ford Fair and many other shows, which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

air compressor tank

Modified Ford Focus RS Mk3 gets air suspension

It was at this point that Andrew started to succumb to that particular fever that circulates around the show scene. You know the one, it’s inflamed by constantly being around other people’s project builds, and the chief symptom is an unassailable desire to change things on your own car. And there was only one way for him to scratch that itch. Andrew wanted to go big – and to do that, he had to get low.

air lift suspension management

“I took the plunge and flung a set of bags on the car,” he grins. “I know, very Marmite for some people, but I personally think it looks incredible on air-ride and it’s not something you see every day! This and a set of Bola FLA alloys were the major change that year… and then before you know it, it’s 2022 and I’ve gone through another year of shows with the RS’s new look on air, with some new wheels and so on, picking up a few trophies along the way and meeting some really nice people – some who I now call close friends.

And I was finally quite happy with how the car was sitting… but in the car scene you’re always thinking: what can I do next?” So for the next move, Andrew took a little stylistic inspiration from everybody’s least favorite insect – the wasp.

Interior of Modified ford focus rs mk3

Color change for the modified Ford Focus RS Mk3

When you consider the nature of the wasp, it really is a pointless creature. These stripy rotters exist solely to irritate – ruiners of picnics, chasers of the young, stingers of the elderly, they don’t even make honey, they just muck about and cause trouble. Their nifty black-and-yellow color scheme may look cool, but you wouldn’t want to be friends with them. Although they are very stylish, there’s no arguing with that, and that’s why Andrew sought to channel the aesthetic cues of these buzzy little nuisances. Nature and nurture in one vivid hit. Eminently appropriate for a car that has a sting in the tail.

Modified ford focus rs mk3 rear 3/4

“I thought I’d do a color change for 2023, something a bit mad!” he confirms. “So with the help of my partner Heather, we picked bright yellow and a change of alloys to Rotiform LAS-Rs, and I think it works really well.” Yes, we have to say we strongly agree. Which is precisely why it’s here in the mag – and if you’re at Ford Fair, you’ll find it on our show stand too. A buzzing little upsetter that raises a few eyebrows, and paints a fresh new image over the revered RS canvas.

With thanks to Fast Ford Magazine. Photos: Ade Brannan.