Remembering the Gymkhana star through his insane vehicles
If you're an automotive enthusiast, chances are the shocking death of Ken Block in a snowmobile accident feels like losing someone you know very well.
For us, we'd best remember the name Ken Block as the rally driver who took the internet by storm in the late 2000s. He was the guy who did spectacular stunts, lots of tire smoke, and precision driving. With every new episode reaching greater heights in the crazy scale, Ken Block's Gymkhana series not just raked in almost a billion YouTube views, but also thrilled a generation of gearheads.
After more than ten years of tire-shredding antics, four-wheel-drifts, and crazy car stunts, we have put together the five most memorable cars that remind us most of the late Ken Block.
Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Block did not need much props on his very first Gymkhana video. All it took was an empty airfield, a few cones and bollards here and there, and a 530-horsepower Subaru Impreza WRX STI going sideways on fifth gear to kickstart an empire.
Built by Crawford Performance, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI used by Ken Block had a carbon fiber hood and trunk, plus the same widebody kit used by the Impreza S12 in the World Rally Championship. Ken Block used Impreza WRX STIs in a few more Gymkhana episodes, but the OG one was really, the car that started it all.
By the time Ken Block released his third Gymkhana video, he was also participating in the World Rally Championship. As such, he was able to get a hold of the same M-Sport Fiesta WRC car and labeled it as the Ford Fiesta HFHV. The HFHV stands for Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle, as the car was used for stage rally, rallycross, and gymkhana purposes.
The Fiesta HFHV produced over 600 PS from the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine built by Pipo Moteurs, and sat on 18-inch Fifteen52 forged monoblock wheels wrapped in Pirelli Trofeo tires. Its white, green, and splash black livery in the Gymkhana series videos plus its video game appearances in the Dirt series make the Ford Fiesta hoon vehicles just as memorable as the ones before it.
Ford Mustang RTR “Hoonicorn”
This is perhaps the car that took things to the extremes. In the previous Gymkhana series videos before the Hoonicorn, Block was using cars for multiple purposes – rallycross, WRC, and Gymkhana itself. This time with the Hoonicorn, it was made for a single purpose – slay tires in the streets of Los Angeles and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb.
With the help of professional drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr., Block together with RTR was able to make a one-of-a-kind all-wheel-drive Mustang called the Hoonicorn. With a Roush Yates 410 cu. in V8 engine, the car put down an astounding 845 PS in the Los Angeles stunt, and produced over 1,400 horsepower in the Pikes Peak Climbkhana thanks to twin-turbocharging and methanol injection.
Porsche 911 “Hoonipigasus”
The current record for the legendary Pikes Peak Hillclimb is held by an all-electric vehicle. But back in May last year, the late Ken Block tried to reclaim the record for combustion engines with a one-of-a-kind vintage Porsche 911. Intended as the world's most insane Porsche race car ever built, the “Hoonipigasus” wore a livery that pays homage to the 1971 Porsche 917/20 “Pink Pig”.
The special Porsche built by Hoonigan and BBi Autosport featured an all-wheel-drive system, and a mid-mounted twin-turbo engine with 1400 horsepower, all while only weighing 1,000 kg. In addition, the car's center of gravity has been lowered, and a GPS height-adjustable suspension was fitted.
However, the engine blew during practice, and could not be repaired in time for the official runs. Block intended to return to the mountain with possibly a better and more insane Hoonipigasus this year, but unfortunately, we won't be able to see that anymore.
Audi S1 “Hoonitron”
Just months before his untimely death, Ken Block showed us that hooning will live on in the all-electric vehicle age. Block took the bi-motor, all-wheel-drive S1 Hoonitron in the streets and empty parking lots of Las Vegas for 360 spins and tire-slaying four-wheel-donuts
The S1 Hoonitron was an entirely bespoke vehicle built by Audi specifically for Electrikhana. Based on the Audi Sport Quattro S1 of the Group B era, the S1 Hoonitron was the first-ever electric Gymkhana car in what would eventually prove as Block's final appearance in the series.
Rest in peace, Ken Block.