From glorious country estate to crumbling, council-run psychiatric hospital, Dovenby Hall's subsequent restoration by Wilson and place at the heart of a thriving motorsport operation in the heart of the Lake District underlines his determination, local pride and entrepreneurial spirit. Expansion work is well under way too, this including an additional factory unit to help accommodate recent move into circuit racing (M-Sport also builds and runs Bentley's GT3 cars) and an on-site test track in the estate's grounds.
The emotional and business links with Ford remain strong though, M-Sport now building rally prepped Fiestas for everyone from clubman amateurs to its in-house WRC team. Core business is supplying customer R5 level Fiestas, one rung down from full-blown WRC cars but still running custom developed four-wheel drive powertrains, sequential gearboxes and getting on for 300hp from the modified 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine. One of those will cost you around £170,000 to buy and quite a bit more to run, with or without FIA-mandated cost caps on parts.
Strong stuff. But what if all this expertise and M-Sport's partnerships with suppliers of motorsport hardware like wheels, brakes, gearboxes and suspension could be channelled into an affordable road car? Better still, what if it could be applied to the Fiesta ST, already one of the hot hatches of the moment and the vehicle on which M-Sport's competition rally cars are based?
In the absence of Ford developing the ST into a full blown RS, as it has with the Focus, that's exactly what the Fiesta M-Sport Edition is. Yes, it's an aftermarket tuned car. But with provenance like that behind it one with rather more appeal than your average Max Power special.