Ford Mondeo ST220 | Shed of the Week

Not all the great fast Fords are mad money; at least not the less-than-perfect ones…

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 17 March 2023 / Loading comments

Shed once owned a 3.0-litre Mk1 Capri, a red one with a black vinyl roof. Unfortunately, a slippery mate of his borrowed it and parked it under a tree which decided that it would like to have a nice lie down on top of it. While he pretended to be upset about his Capri’s death, mainly for recompense purposes, Shed actually wasn’t that bothered about it. The car was a rolling wreck and he couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it. Plus he never really got on with the driving experience. It felt like there was a lot of uncontrolled weight up front and there always seemed to be a lingering threat of bottom end problems. It was just too reminiscent of life with Mrs Shed.

Nowadays of course Shed’s minging old heap would go for at least twenty grand at the right auction because, as we all know, even vaguely specialist old Fords fetch silly money these days. So what of this particular specialist Ford, a 2005 Mondeo ST220?

The ST was the performance model in the 2000-07 gen-two (or Mk3 if you count the 1996 facelift as a Mk) Mondeo range. It arrived in 2002 and could be had as a saloon, estate, or, as here, a hatchback – these outnumbered the saloons and (separately) the estates by about six to one. The ST220 was well-rated by contemporary reviewers on its launch in ’02. Its 0-62mph time was in the mid-sixes, it topped out at 155mph, and the handling – like that of just about any Ford from this period – was excellent. ST220 equipment and comfort levels were high too, especially if you had one with the very comfortable heated Recaro leather seats, as here. To top it all the ST220 averaged nearly 28mpg, which back then was considered almost miraculous for the performance.

Our Shed comes from the back end of the Mk3 Mondeo run. It’s only done 104,000 miles, which is not a lot for an 18-year-old car, and the pictures back up the seller’s description of the black bodywork as ‘clean’. The cream leather is in the sort of shape you’d expect from a low-miler and, through the grime on Shed’s Amstrad screen anyway, the iconic 18-inch wheels appear to be in equally good nick.

It’s all looking good so far isn’t it, but there are a few catches here. Some are the normal things you’d expect to go wrong in an ST220, others are the things that have already gone wrong with this specific one. The Duratec V6 uses a timing chain rather than a belt, which is good, but you don’t want to run this engine low on oil. That’s easily done unfortunately because oil sealing generally can be difficult. Owners might find themselves chasing leaks around the engine – sump gaskets, rear crank oil seals, rear cam cover seals and oil filters can all weep. Valve guides wear too.

When they’re running well though these engines sound great, especially with a Milltek or similar aftermarket exhaust fitted. They go pretty well too, pipe or no pipe, but don’t expect to get anywhere near 28mpg if you’re putting plenty down on a regular basis.

Early ST220s had the Mk1 Focus RS five-speed MTX75 transmission but this post-’03 car has the six-speed Getrag MMT box which proved its worth in the Mk3 Focus ST/RS. It’s a dual-mass clutch on these, meaning a grand or so for a replacement, but the vehicle tax isn’t too horrid at £340pa. The standard wheels look amazing, but then so does a nice roundel of cheese and in fact the cheese would probably be more pothole-resistant than whatever material Ford used to make these wheels. Suspension components weren’t mega strong either. Failing suspension will flag itself up via uneven tyre wear but it’s nothing that a set of Bilstein B8s can’t fix or indeed improve.

For faults specific to this car, you just need to look at the MOT. A couple of suspension joints will need attention, as will the exhaust system and at least one brake disc, but the worrisome entries are ‘general underbody and suspension corrosion’, ’oil and coolant leak’ and the innocent-sounding but potentially nasty ‘sill covers fitted’. The vendor is upfront about the car’s issues and actually tells us about another one for good measure, viz a binding brake. Even so, the price of £1,850 sounds more than fair given that another ’05 car with 69,000 miles was auctioned exactly a year ago for £3,600. That one also had oil leaks and some corrosion.

The best way to look at our Shed would be as a project, er, Shed. The proven ability of old specialist Fords to appreciate in value, plus the low mileage, plus the fact that this car turned out to be the last fast Ford family saloon, plus the fact that only 4,600 or so ST220 estates, saloons and hatches were made in total, all suggest to Shed that it really is worth saving.

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