Shed of the Week: Ford Mondeo ST220

Given a choice, most of us would choose not to buy 'one size fits all' clothing. Reason being, unless you're fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to be fantastically average, none of that stuff will ever fit. Not properly.

So applying that concept to cars, as Ford did with its first Mondeo 'world car' in 1993, was a risky thing to do. It's an idea that presumably appealed massively to the accountants and shareholders of Ford, because it promised to save costs through parts standardisation and the like. The excitement of riches blinded them to the notion that a car designed to work in every market would also very likely put peoples' backs up in every market. For a start it would, by definition, be compromised. And for a second, or whatever the next thing after a start is, it was the sort of project that discerning British buyers in particular would take perverse pleasure in shunning, if only to ruin Ford's evil plan of global domination.

We're not sure how successful that counter-insurgency was, if it ever existed, but whatever the sales figures for the first Mk1 Mondeo of 1993-96 were, it's now a pretty rare sighting. Between the UK's two biggest used car sites, Shed found just three of them. One dealer was trying his luck with the phrase 'future classic' to describe his white 78,000-mile 1.8 LX auto at £1,450, which is possibly pushing it, but it is true that many prefer the cleaner lines of the Mk1 to those of the slightly overstyled Mk2.

Even so, the Mk2 has a good fanbase, thanks in part to its rousing (or Rouse-ing) successes in BTCC racing. One Mk2 model to watch is the 2.5 V6 ST24. Folk are now restoring those, an early sign of potential value growth. Good ones are already being advertised for up to £4k.

Shed's personal favourite Mondeo however is the 2000-07 Mk3. The ST220 version of that was, in his mind, the sharpest-suited derivative of the breed. Interesting that in comprehensively busting Ford's 'one size fits all markets' blueprint the ST220 instantly became the most characterful and desirable model in the Mk3 range, and not just because of its hairy-chested motor. Arguments will always rage about how the Ford's FWD handling stands up to that of a big-engined RWD 3 Series, but it might surprise you if you've never tried one, and for everyday use many will put greater store in the one feature of this particular Ford, which is that it's a hatch rather than a saloon. You can fit a tonne of gear in.

Road tax is £325 and your mpg figures will very much depend on driving style but if you bargain for something in the 20s you won't be disappointed.

The vendor mentions a few of the ST's merits in his ad. Downsides include 'moosing' idle control valves and cracking expansion tanks, rads and hoses. Rust is a perennial threat, especially on the door bottoms and brake pipes, but there's nothing in the pics or the MOT history to cause much concern. Come back at the end for a couple of things that might, though.

The number of ST220s on British roads currently stands at about 3,000 and is still dropping at a steady rate of around 300 cars a year. Shed expects the rate of decline to start slowing up in the next couple of years, with good cars not only holding their value after that point but very likely increasing.

Could this week's Shed be one of those good cars? Well, it's not a low-miler with 141k, and it's a shame that this one's Recaro seats aren't in the jazzy red that goes so well with ST silver. Ford has never really done nice black leather, but at least it's practical.

The pics seem to have been taken in something of a hurry, but we can make out the dint in the nearside wing. Happily, the ding appears to be confined to that one panel, and a quick shufty online indicates that used factory replacements are available for £45 or so. The trim piece on the boot bearing the Ford badge looks like it may have lost some of its lacquer, and there could be a scrape on the nearside rear bumper - again, neither of these flaws are expensive or difficult to put right.

Otherwise this car has had plenty of money spent in the right places. Once you've tidied it up and given it a good clean Shed believes you'll have a nice car that can be enjoyed for a year or two and then, with luck and a following wind, sold on for no less than you paid for it.

Some words of caution though. The MOT is fresh and has three advisories. One is for rusty exhaust joint clamps, which given that the exhaust is stainless is more annoying than worrying. Another is for a rear tyre worn on the inside edge, which suggests that a wheel alignment check would be a good investment. If you're the worrying kind you might think it's had a biff.

The third advisory is for a small oil leak. That's not uncommon on these Duratec V6s. Hopefully it's just a leaking sump plug gasket - a £5 fix. If it's not that, it could be a rocker cover leak, again not a massive issue.

But if the oil is weeping out of the drain holes in the gearbox bellhousing, that almost certainly means the rear crankshaft seal has gone, a big job that could land you with a four-figure bill. You might decide to soldier on with it, which you can do to some extent, but then you'll be running the risk of kiboshing the clutch.

It would be a shame to spoil this ship for a ha'porth of tar. In days of ULEZ-enforcement there's something uplifting about the thought of stupidly big-engined chariots like this roaming the planet. Enjoy 'em while you can.

Here's the ad.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (94) Join the discussion on the forum

  • ajguk 26 Apr 2019

    Fancied one of these about 10 years ago but ended up with a Vectra (B) GSi. 208bhp of raw power from 3.2L! frown

  • Cambs_Stuart 26 Apr 2019

    First shed I've owned for a while.
    I had a performance blue ST220. It was a great compromise between being fun to drive and the ability to carry a family of 4 and all their luggage, including prams and scooter.
    It did get a bit understeer-y when pushing on. But ithe engine was a revvy joy, it made a great noise, the steering was great, the seats were comfy, and the mpg was terrible. Far worse than the impreza wrx wagon that replaced it.
    I'd bet the oil leak is the sump pan gasket.
    As for mine, it was a real shame when the crank bearing failed at less than 60,000 miles...

  • Oilchange 26 Apr 2019

    Wossat big round thing next to the oil filler cap?

  • cmvtec 26 Apr 2019

    I never got to the ST but I did put 20k miles on a 1.8LX in 6 months and it was brilliant for every one of them

  • emperorburger 26 Apr 2019

    Oilchange said:
    Wossat big round thing next to the oil filler cap?
    It's the optional coaster for placing your cup of tea whilst you change the oil.

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