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Hennessey’s Hot Hatch: The Ford Focus ST HPE 300 - Video


As head of Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE), tuning legend John Hennessey has some impressive cars to choose from as his daily driver. While the world-record-setting Venom GT may be a bit extreme for commuting, we can certainly see the attraction of a 1,000 horsepower Cadillac CTS-V as a daily driver.

While the uber-fast Cadillac serves up speed and some degree of practicality, it’s also a thirsty beast, and even John Hennessey is mindful of gas prices these days. His solution was to buy a new Ford Focus ST, which Hennessey reasoned was economical, amusing and practical at the same time.

It’s simply not in his nature to leave things stock, so he soon set his employees to building a cold-air intake and writing a custom ECU program to increase boost. Once completed, the intake added 13 horsepower to the front wheels, while the remapped ECU contributed an impressive 27 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque.

Hennessey also wanted a deeper sound than the stock exhaust provided, so he bolted on a Magnaflow stainless steel system aft of the catalytic converter. The system contributes another seven or eight horsepower to the tally, but its real function is to look good and sound even better.

Hennessey calls his upgraded hot hatch “one of the most fun to drive” cars he’s ever owned, which is saying quite a bit. Acceleration takes some skill, as the car will reportedly spin the tires in first, second and even third gear. Torque steer is increased a bit, too, but for Hennessey that just adds to the fun.

HPE will tune your Ford Focus ST, too, and its HPE 300 kit is priced at a reasonable $995. That gets you the cold-air intake, the new ECU map and custom badging, but it doesn’t include the Magaflow exhaust system (which adds $695 to the price).

HPE will only build 200 to 300 upgraded Focus STs per year, so you should probably contact the company quickly if you’d like to stake out one of your own. You’ll find complete details on the HPE website.

Perhaps the best option is to ship your Focus ST to Hennessey for engine upgrades first, then send it to Shelby American for the company’s $14,995 suspension, wheel and tire, brake and exhaust system package. How you’d handle the conflicting badging and graphics, of course, would be entirely up to you.
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