Although Ken Block’s jaw-dropping stunts have been a huge factor in the popularity of his Gymkhana videos, the cars he drives are equally responsible for the series’ success.
Block’s custom Gymkhana cars often generate as much buzz as the videos themselves, feature eccentric liveries and are unlike anything else on four wheels.
After revealing his latest custom build — which will appear in “GymkhanaTEN” — at Pennzoil’s Shell Pioneering Performance stage at SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Block explained where he gets his inspiration for his one-off vehicles.
“Everything that I do really revolves around all-wheel-drive rally-type cars,” Block told NESN Fuel. “I’m really one of the only guys in the world who does that sort of thing. There’s plenty of drifters around the world that film all sorts of stuff and do competitions, but the rear-wheel-drive car on camera looks so distinctly different from an all-wheel-drive car.”
For the “Head Hoonigan In Charge,” whose background is in rally, all-wheel-drive allows him to make his cars behave the same way on pavement as they do on dirt.
When it comes to his Ford Focus RS RX or Fiesta RX43, the result is the large-angle slides that we’re used to seeing from the rallycross cars. In the case of his bespoke Hoonicorn, however, Block used all-wheel-drive to transform a Ford Mustang into an entirely new beast.
“It’s fun for me to take that concept of all-wheel-drive rally cars and say, ‘Well, what would an old Mustang look like doing these sort of things?’ That’s how the idea of the Hoonicorn was basically born — just me sort of mentally fantasizing about taking this all-wheel-drive style and mixing it with a muscle car and that’s how that came about,” Block said.
In stark contrast to the 1,400-horsepower Hoonicorn, the 49-year-old’s latest build essentially features no mechanical modifications because the Ford Escort Cosworth originally was intended for Group A rallying. Despite its relatively subdued nature, Block said the car highlights one of the benefits of being a Ford-backed driver, as the automaker’s history in rallying “spans decades.”
Thumbnail photo via Pennzoil
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