2000 Ford Focus Sedan
2000 Ford Focus Sedan. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Mark Stevenson

Public auctions are usually a sea of bad decisions waiting to find a home in a new idiot’s garage or driveway. At one particular auction over the summer, I was the idiot, and my bad decision lay in wait with bated breath in the lot of automotive shame.

This wasn’t my first rodeo; I had been to the auction before. But, this time, I had plastic with a metallic stripe in my pocket, getting slightly warm and begging for release from its leather-bound sarcophagus.

As always, my partner in automotive crime and I scouted the lot prior to the auction, eschewing possibilities within my budget for interesting German and British metal to fuel grandiose gearhead dreams. If we had been paying more attention, a particular Ford Focus would have been written off the purchase option list due to its general state of disrepair. But, we didn’t, instead focusing on a Jaguar XJ that would look perfectly placed in any retired dentist grandfather’s driveway.

After our pre-auction “inspection” of available autos, we made our way to the auction lanes, seeing a couple of familiar faces from the previous month. We talked about their purchase – a gold (in colour, not condition) Chevy Aveo – they were able to flip for a profit at a family towing business.

This gave me the gumption I needed to decide to buy that day. Hell, if someone can flip a Korean hatchback lacking A/C and automatic transmission, I’m sure I could pick something up and do the same.

Volume import and domestic examples were driven through the lanes, nothing going for less than a couple grand, and my patience began to wear thin. That’s when I saw the biggest automotive mistake I’ve ever made.

2000 Ford Focus Sedan
2000 Ford Focus Sedan
2000 Ford Focus Sedan. Click image to enlarge

It, a 2000 Ford Focus in wine red, had made its way to the block before I could see it drive past.

The bidding started at $500. No takers.

“Do I hear $400?”

Silence. Nobody moved, frozen in the fear a slight twitch may be inferred as a bid.

“How about $300?”

Again, nothing. The only noise came from the neighbouring lane and people shaking their heads in disgust at the auction example in front of them.

“Two-hundred dollars. Two-hundred dollars. Do I hear TWO-HUNDRED dollars?!?”

And up went my number holding hand, faster than a shot of adrenaline.

“Okay, do I hear two-fifty? Two-fifty? Come on. Two-fifty?”



He could have finished it off with ‘to that idiot in the black coat’. Thankfully, he didn’t want to bruise my ego too much.

Immediately after the sale, we returned to the lot to give my most recent purchase more than just a cursory glance.

One tire was almost flat. No worry, it still has the spare in the trunk. However, the wheel was missing a lugnut, and upon closer inspection, a good section of stud. After looking at the other wheels, the right rear had a massive amount of camber, the result of a rusted out rear subframe, not to mention the numerous fist-sized tin wormholes in the bodywork.

My hopes were still high that, between my friend, cousin, and myself, we could put it back together and price it to make a profit.

Weeks went by as we searched for cheap parts, the Focus making a permanent home in my garage, not being touched for days at a time. The more we tried to justify refurbishment, being thwarted by the junkyard gods, the more I realized this would be one of my biggest screw ups to date.

That is, until, an idea hit me like a 20-year-old Crown Vic.

“Are you doing the derby this year?” I asked my compatriot.

“No, I’m skipping it this year. Why?” he inquired in return. I stared at the car and he clued in immediately.

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