Promoted: Why I Love My Ford - Neil Edward


Where did your interest in performance Fords start?
I grew up in a small town in Scotland, and there were two Sierra Sapphire Cosworths on my street. I walked past them on my way to school, thinking I'd love a job where I could afford to own one. A couple of rich people in town had Ferraris, but that never felt obtainable. It felt like you could own a fast Ford.


What was the first fast Ford that you owned?
I didn't take my driving test until I was 25. I was a car nut, but I didn't have a lot of spare cash at university. Then, when I started work as a drilling engineer in the oil and gas industry, I worked offshore a lot, and my home city of Aberdeen was small enough to walk round. My first car was a Mondeo Mk 3 Ghia with the 2.5-litre V6. It was a bit exotic, but I wanted something different and I knew that Fords - especially Mondeos - were good drivers' cars.

How did you get from that to the Mondeo ST220?
I'd see Mondeo ST220s in Aberdeen, and I loved them. They looked smart in Performance Blue and sounded good. But it was also a practical car to ferry mates and carry mountain bikes. In 2005, my local dealer had an ST220 with 24,000 miles. I was heading to Holland to sit a huge set of exams, so I bought it as a present for myself - I didn't even test-drive it. As my career progressed, I owned various sportscars, but I always kept the ST220 as a practical car.


How did it evolve into a race car?
It started with track days in 2012. In Scotland, you only have Knockhill, so I was late to catch on, but the ST220 was perfect. It handles well, and is easy to drive on the limit. I prepped it with a couple of friends. We stripped out any excess weight, and changed the suspension and brakes. When I moved to London in 2014, I raced it in the MSV Trackday Trophy. We put in a rollcage, tubular headers and a straight-through exhaust, which made it sound like an old straight-six Jaguar E-Type. But, I kept it road-legal with number plates, so I could drive it to the track. Once, going across the Dartford Crossing, I forgot it had plastic side windows. I couldn't wind my window down for the tolls, so I had to get out of the car to pay, with everyone waiting behind me.

What's your favourite memory from racing your ST220?
I got to race on the Brands Hatch GP circuit on a beautiful summer day. Although I wasn't anywhere near the front, racing on a circuit that I'd driven so many times on computer games was amazing. For the last six laps, I had a Renault Clio right behind me, and we were both going hell-for-leather.


How much has your ST220 evolved?
Over the years, I've probably spent quite a bit of money on it. With the benefit of hindsight, I could have gone racing for cheaper. The biggest expense is parts. No-one raced the ST220 when it was new, so spares are hard to come by and expensive. But, why have the same car as everyone else - and, I've lived with that car from 24,000 miles, so I know it inside out. As I'm an engineer, I want to keep using the ST220 as a project - buying a 3D printer, or teaching myself how to weld. I want to turn it into the best race car it can be. As long as I've got space in my garage, I'll keep it because of the money and passion I've put into it.

What plans have you got for racing and the ST220's future?
I briefly looked at getting a proper rear-wheel-drive race car, and working my way up the ranks, but it never happened. The ST220 is the cheapest way into racing because I already own it. Now I'm back in Aberdeen, I'm looking to run it in a time-attack series at Knockhill called Super Lap Scotland. I actually have another ST220 - the rarer saloon, with 150,000 miles. I've got a brand-new stock engine for that, but I'm trying not to harvest too many bits for my race car. Instead, I want to try and get the ST220 saloon back on the road, because they're becoming so rare.

Finally, what modern Ford Performance car would you like to own?
My current garage isn't as spicy as it used to be. I've got more important things to spend money on - a wedding, and a kid on the way - so I've currently got a Mazda MX-5 2.0-litre Sport and a Fiesta 1.4 turbo-diesel. I'd love a Mustang GT350, but sadly you can't buy them here. Controversially, I'd like the Mustang with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine. I love the V8 and I'd miss the sound, but the smaller engine means the car is 75kg lighter, so the handling would be even better. Plus, you could tune the hell out of the engine!