Area-Six is a tuning shop with a different ethos to all of it’s competitors, it is operated by the only employee, Ian Howell, who started out as just another 21 year old reading Max Power’s First Edition (it was good back then!) dreaming about having a fast car. Ian is an obsessive sort, and as his family found out, once this dog has a bone, it’s for keeps!!

In 1995, Fiesta Frenzy was born unto the Ford scene, ultimately evolving into Area-Six, and has been turning out a selection of vehicles which have become benchmarks within the Ford Tuning scene ever since. Along the way Ian has delivered products that are still notable today. His first great success was the ZE-VH Turbo engine – never heard of until Ian built the first, but now the accepted upgrade, application of the 0FAB and 0FAC managements to Zetec’s through custom mapped packages, also giving you the adaption of CVH Efi and Rover intakes to Zetec engines, through to his Zero Loss intake manifolds for both CVH and Zetec.

Below is a brief overview of the last 12 years, coupled with some memorable moments from years gone by, but before I do that, I must say a big THANK YOU to the one person who has always helped me out, and never asked for anything in return – Crazy Dave aka Dave Loasby – I’ve left him a little something in my last will and testament, but don’t tell him – He’ll want it now, and I haven’t even finished it after 4 years!!

December 1996 – Fast Car magazine
H634 YCP – Fiesta 1.6 CVH

Back in the days when the testing was done by a driver employed by the magazine, my 1.6 CVH, running on Weber Marelli clocked 13.67s on the ¼ mile at 107.6mph and went on to clock 147mph before the lean running 1.6 melted a plug tip. That was the last time H634 had a full CVH lump installed, and 11 years on, other tuners are still trying to match these figures. At least they don’t run on 3 spokes!

June 1997 – Fast Car magazine 0-100-0 challenge
H634 YCP - Fiesta 2.1 ZE-VH

We showed up to our first ‘Big’ event, a little nervous, to find a wide range of cars that had been featured in Magazines over the mid 90’s, with some unbelievable HP claims. We soon found out the owners produced more hot air than their Turbo’s!!

0-100mph data wasn’t readily available in WHSmiths in those days, so we hadn’t a clue what to expect. We were all allowed 3 attempts, and my bad luck crept in on the first launch……..

As the clutch was released and the tyres took the strain, the front gearbox mount failed, and the resulting movement ripped the gearlever’s ball joint through the bottom of the car. I was left fishing for gears by shaking what was left of the shaft in the appropriate direction. More amazing was that we were the fastest modified production car on the day, coming third to a Cossie powered Dax and a Westfield V8. Our 0-100-0 of 17.05s was very respectable.

August 1997 – Performance Ford shootout - York Raceway
H634 YCP – Fiesta 2.1 ZE-VH

The day started with qualifying for the Ford FWD boys, and an opportunity to meet a great selection of owners of heavily modified Fords (no internet forum back then!) with some owners claiming in Excess of 300HP (see, nothing changes). As we had recently been feature in Fast Car, people were expecting a lot from the car, but we had no idea what to expect from the competition. In order to get the ‘painful’ bit out of the way, I bit the bullet and went head to head with the fastest car so far that day.

As the lights changed, we both revved up and dumped our clutches, and he shot a car length ahead. I thought I was about to be mullered, and with little traction in 2nd, I stuffed her into 3rd at 30mph. All of a sudden, your power envelope shows it’s hand, and boy, was I pleased! The other lane was still pulling away in the split second as I awaited my boost threshold. As she came on in 3rd, the corners of my mouth started to rise – we were reeling it in, and not at a mild rate. A glance over the shoulder was required as I found 4th, and a peek in the rear view mirror as I crossed the line. A comfortable win purely due to outright power, and a ¼ of 13.78s @ 110.83 mph to boot.

May 1998 – Our first Zetec Turbo
Having enjoyed the delivery a fast 2.1 ZE-VH could deliver, I set about building a monster Zetec Turbo, but boy! Did I have a lot to learn about engine management!! Cutting the story short, Weber Alpha is Rubbish. The only decent run I had was on part throttle, and managed a 13.22s @ 115.5 mph. I wasn’t happy (and didn’t know how to map ecu’s) so I gave it to a ‘specialist’. They achieved 384HP before they melted it. I took this as a sign and left my own car to gather dust as I’d just met the ‘future wife’.

August 2000 – The Fiesta’s final Hour
Having met Ahmed Bayjoo during 1999, I discovered that some tuners talk the talk, and others walk the walk. Ahmed was a godsend, and with his guidance (he’d say pointing out the bleedin obvious) we had Pectel’s T2 ecu fitted to my red rocket. We finally had an engine that drove exactly how I hoped it would. It only had one outing, and as the lack of traction in 3rd gear displayed, you can possibly have too much power in a small car. A bigger car was going to be required!

2001 – V466 LUG – The Focus has landed
2 days before my wedding in June, I found myself with the keys to an 8248 mile Blue Focus 1.8 3Dr. It was average as a daily driver, as a result I drove it the 84 miles home and parked it in the garage. Exactly one year later to the date, it rolled out again.

2002 – Yankee Style Focus
I have a habit of changing my car’s appearance as often as I change the engine. In 2002, the Fast and the Furious had made it’s impact on car styling, and the Focus had succumbed to the look too. Fortunately, the engine hadn’t lost the plot! Over the past year I had been building engines for Sunny Khalsa, Paul Ripley, Paul Johnson & others. This had kept me busy, so the Focus wasn’t quite what I wanted, but it was good enough. It packed 370HP, and felt very lively for a fully dressed road car. It’s only day out was Ten of the Best 1, and if you haven’t seen the footage, it lunched it’s gearbox as I dumped it into second. That was enough for me to realise I needed to beef it up some more…

2003 – An engine to set records!
I wasn’t happy with the 370Hp I’d given the Focus, so a re-work was needed. The next development phase gave the Zetec 462HP at 28psi on SCS’s engine dyno. I was thrilled with the HP, but couldn’t wait to sample the performance. Test day was the day before TOTB2, and the first application of full throttle taught me a huge lesson – you can have too much power!

I was following a family car at 30mph as it pulled out to pass a slow Land Rover. Oncoming traffic was 150m away. I just intended jumping past the Land Rover and continue following the other car, but that’s not how it played out….. As it came on boost for the first time, I experienced the full hit of 389lb/ft through the front tyres in 2nd gear, and my overtaking plans became a minor issue. The front tyres smoked up heavily whilst the car rocket forward with the front end drifting towards the off side gutter at an alarming rate. The car was seriously motoring, but in the wrong direction – I changed into 3rd and steered left, only to find smoking tyres and nose drifting wasn’t only for 2nd gear. I punched into 4th with tyres chirping at 95mph. Only split seconds had passed. I then met the oncoming traffic, looked in my mirrors to see a cloud of tyre smoke covering the highway, and the car that I was meant to be sitting behind was a shrinking out of focus. I smiled the smile that only a smug few can appreciate. My phone rang – It was Crazy Dave who had been following me – he was hysterical – he’d never seen a road car vanish on the highway in it’s own tyre smoke, and nor had I

The car was timed by Performance Ford Magazine and is still the fastest Focus after 4 years : 0-100 in 9.8s, 173.7mph when a mis-fire stopped progress. This car would have pulled 180+ if only I hadn’t got bored….

2004 to date…
A picture paints a thousand words. To be completed Summer 2007.