The question isn't, "Why would you put the motor of a Ford Focus RS into a Transit Connect?" The question is, "Why wouldn't you?" It is a delivery van, after all, and faster delivery means more efficiency. The Germans understand this — that's why they have unrestricted autobahns.
Ford of Europe is the unlikely provider of the answer to this question, in that it's not a Red Bull-fueled tuning shop. And this after-hours project has found a surprisingly good home for the Mark I Ford Focus RS, which, we should point out, is about 20 years old at this point.
But with 212 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque, this turbocharged four-cylinder still serves up plenty of go, even if stuffed into the cube-shaped Transit Connect. Ford did more than just swap out the motor: The automaker fitted the front suspension of the RS to the van, in addition to RS brakes on all four corners providing the stopping power to the larger Oz wheels. Ford also fitted the van with a roll cage, Recaro seats, a sport steering wheel and (for some reason) black velvet upholstery to much of the dash. The interior has also received two full spare wheels just above the rear axle, presumably for slightly better weight distribution as an empty Transit Connect is nowhere near the 50:50 mark. Ford also appears to have kept the crazy torque steer — don't forget that this is a very front-wheel-drive cube.
Carfection samples yet another tuned Transit Connect in this video — a newer one with Focus ST running gear — and finds it a little more civilized and a lot more usable and fun.
We can't help wonder if there is a market for very fast Transit Connects in the States fitted with the running gear of the recently departed RS, production of which ended in April of last year. The 2018 RS running gear would serve up an even more rabid 350 hp courtesy of a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-pot paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Yes, the RS is no longer on sale here, and the Focus hatch itself is living on borrowed time as Ford plans to ditch just about all cars in favor of SUVs and crossovers. How did we get to this point in the U.S. car market, by the way? We were never quite the land of hot hatches, but just as the performance started rivaling the supercars of the 1990s it's all going away. At least for a while.
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