Last year, we spoke to hobbyist, modification enthusiast and ex-moderator of the Ford Owners Club forums Leonard Woods about why community matters and the benefits of upgrading your vehicle.
Connects2: So, give us a brief overview of yourself for the readers – how long have you been modifying cars for and how did you get started?
Leonard: I’m Leonard Woods, from Wexford, Ireland. It all began when I was around twelve watching my older brother Jason look after and modify cars through the years, as well as being taken for trips in the passenger seat of his motors. As we sped across country roads lifting on the hills, it really fuelled the desire to get my hands on my own motor someday. In 2006, I picked up my first car.
It was a 1.3 Toyota Starlet EP91 and the first insurance quote was almost half the cost of the car. The therapeutic process of car modification began when I upgraded the inlet manifold to a four branch from a Corolla, upgraded the sound system to Fusion, and then installed a custom pillar gauge pod and some wolf race street octane alloys. I almost broke my front teeth when swapping the steering wheel for a race one!
As insurance premiums got cheaper, I sold my beloved first car and moved on to Ford. The Focus is a great looking car as standard so it responds very well to subtle modifications.
Connects2: The amount of modified Fords certainly attests to that. What excites you most about modifying vehicles? Obviously the upgrades are part of the appeal, but is it about more than that?
Leonard: In terms of custom visual modification, it’s completely euphoric when it all works out just the way you had imagined because there was nothing textbook from the beginning. In terms of performance modification, it’s a real joy to obtain increased performance and, in some cases, MPG from the vehicle you already own; it’s like getting on a plane and being able to upgrade to first class for free. It gives you that sweet sensation for the same outlay as standard.
Overall for me, car modification in all forms is a way of expressing ones artistic side as well as personal taste. It gives me such a buzz and brings back many childhood memories.
Connects2: In regards to your work on the Forums, how would you say they benefit the automotive community at large?
Leonard: The Forums are a huge help to the automotive community and provide a great method of communication for many positive reasons: to document common faults, to inform fellow owners on preventative maintenance so as to head off problems before they manifest into costly issues, to inform the aspiring second hand buyer on “what to watch for” and to share modification ideas or guides.
The forums are a favoured place for hobbyists such as myself to broadcast their guides and ideas. I feel success not only in the quality of the guides I have created but in the money I have saved for fellow hobbyists by instructing and encouraging them to perform the modifications themselves.
Connects2: We met on Twitter after you retweeted some of our content and we got to learn that you regularly install our products into Ford vehicles. Could you share your experiences of installing our products?
Leonard: All of the Connects2 products I’ve used to date have been a pleasure to install, particularly the boot handle with integrated reverse camera for the Ford Focus (CAM-FD1). I thought that this was a very well thought out kit due to its integration with the handle, pre-labelled cables and the small mid-cable separator. It makes the cable so much easier to route through the rubber goose neck which carries cables from the boot door into the main chassis. It’s an excellent kit – it’s worth every penny and looks completely factory.
The Vortex V-507 RCA cable is also a premium item and ideal for installing a 5 channel amplifier. The cable’s six RCA plugs are carried via one single highly flexible cable, making it easier to install than trying to route three separate bulky RCA cables from the back of the head unit to an amplifier in the boot compartment. Since there’s only one cable providing front audio, rear audio and sub audio all at once, installation is so much simpler.
The Vortex V-507 is also ideal when fitting a flip down DVD monitor in the rear of a vehicle, The V-507 will carry video and audio between the head unit and the flip-down monitor, enabling a mirror image across both devices through the use of one single six-channel cable. I’d rate this one 10/10 for versatility.
Connects2: We were very impressed with your installation of our CTPCAP-1 capacitor and will include the link below for anyone interested in the build – where did you get the idea for the Red Bull aesthetic? It’s very unique.
Leonard: The CTPCAP-1 is another high quality, low cost item from your range. I’m very happy with its performance and appearance; the blue and red LED combination looks excellent combined with the Red Bull vinyl wrap.
The Red Bull can style wrap was one of my own modification ideas and I feel that, aesthetically, it also helps to explain to others what a capacitor does. That is, to act as a reservoir of power which cushions the demands from the amplifier at a faster rate than the battery can supply, preventing power shortages and other unwanted effects.
Connects2: Thanks very much for your time Lenny, keep up the modifications!
Leonard Woods is an ex-moderator of the Ford Owners Club forums and has gained recognition for his series of practical installation guides and wide range of modifications. Take a look at his profile and 10,000+ active posts at http://www.fordownersclub.com/forums/user/14733-lenny/ or find him on Twitter @Woodslenny
This article originally appeared in 12V Review (May 2015)