Will my fully-restored fast Ford pass its MOT?
After being restored for the last six months, will my ST200 be fully road-worthy?
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Finally, after what seems like a solid year of graft, my Ford Mondeo ST200 is fully restored. After handing the car to MAD Ford Engineering in November last year, the Coronavirus has done everything in its power to delay our mission, but thanks to some serious hard work and assistance from our friends at Halfords, W476 TLG is now better than new.
The Imperial Blue paint is gleaming, the leather Recaros are now fully repaired (and comfier than ever), and the Duratec V6 engine is ready for some serious action. But to be honest, that’s barely scratching the surface of what has been repaired and refreshed on the car, so we’ll let the upcoming final episode in the video series do the talking there.
Of course, there’s absolutely no point in getting a car looking and feeling this good without having it road legal, so the moment after the final interior clip was inserted into place, the Mondeo was driven onto a trailer and whisked off to Halfords Lichfield for its MOT.
Now, I won’t lie, I felt a bit sorry for Callum, our MOT inspector for the afternoon. I’d imagine he had probably never seen a car this old look so spanking new, as once the ST was up on the ramp, everything he was shining his torch at was absolutely perfect and either freshly powder-coated or lovingly painted.
But Callum still set about his duties; Checking for corrosion in the boot, checking the seat belt mounts and functionality, making sure the chassis number was correct, checking for a fuel cap seal, that all of the lights and indicators worked as they should. Then it was onto checking for any leaks and pipes bulging, followed by ball joint play, holes in any of the driveshaft boots, sill corrosion, broken springs, tyre wear and depth, and then the condition of the brakes.
The Mondeo flew through every single one of these checks without the slightest hesitation, but there was one final test that had me slightly nervous – the emissions test. A 2.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 isn’t exactly the cleanest of engines in the first place, and being inexperienced with engine rebuilds, I thought there may be some teething issues with the refreshed block.
So when the emissions test screen flashed up with a big red ‘FAIL’ notice after the test rod had been inserted up the Mondeo’s brand new custom John Ashley exhaust, my immediate thought was that this whole restoration was suddenly in severe jeopardy.
Thankfully, Callum kept his cool and gave the ST a second chance to breathe more freely, and the re-run resulted in a reassuring green ‘PASS’. I’m happy to admit that that 3 minute test was the closest I’ve come to wetting myself as an adult human.
And with that, the reception printer kicked into life and I was handed the piece of paper that myself, Mick and the entire MAD Ford team had been wishing for – a passed MOT certificate without the faintest hint of an advisory.
I can’t emphasise how fantastic the team at Halfords Lichfield were when we turned up with the car, with everyone clearly excited to see the DriveTribe Mondeo and inspecting it with the utmost care and respect, despite it fundamentally still being a 21-year-old lukewarm sports saloon. So if you’re in the UK and your car is nearing its own check-up date, make sure to get it booked into your local Halfords garage so the experts can put it through an MOT. And why not treat your car to a full service while you’re at it, I’m sure it deserves it, even if it is a Daihatsu Sirion.
What’s next for the Mondeo then? Well, we have a further four videos planned after the final episode of the restoration is published. There’ll be a first drive, then a review from one of the DriveTribe founders (hopefully), a dyno run (to see how many of those 202 brake horsepowers we’ve managed to put back), followed by a top speed test against something pretty damn special.
None of this would have been possible without our viewers, so I can’t thank you guys, the DriveTribe audience, enough for supporting this project. I’ve been inundated with messages ever since we kicked off this partnership with Halfords, saying how great it is that we’re making a video series about a car that is seemingly very mundane, and yet is much more relatable than any leased supercar that ends up with a silly exhaust and a revolting wrap. So thank you all for watching and following this plucky car’s journey, and stay tuned for plenty more videos to come.