Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Blue
Number of Cylinders: 8
Trim: 2-DOOR HARDTOP
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Drive Type: FWD
Corona, California, United States
Gymkhana king Ken Block has had a pretty simple car history in his trademark videos, starting out with Subaru Impreza rally cars before moving into Ford Focus racers for the past four installments. His next video, though, Gymkhana Seven, kind of goes back in time.
Rather than the cutting-edge rally racers of past videos, Block will pilot a heavily modified 1965 Ford Mustang, called the Hoonicorn. How heavily modified is it? Well, Block's Hooligan Racing Division, ASD Motorsports and Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR, spent two years working on it, ditching the standard engine and rear-wheel-drive layout and replacing it with a 410-cubic-inch Roush Yates V8. Yes, that's a NASCAR engine, and it produces 845 horsepower.
A NASCAR-powered Mustang would be news in itself, but it's the other powertrain changes made by Block and Co. that really makes headlines. Power is channeled through a one-off Sadev transmission and all-wheel-drive system, meaning that Block has basically married a NASCAR stock car with a WRC racer. ASD also developed the customized suspension, tubular chassis and roll cage. The wide Mustang body is the work of RTR and Block's own Hoonigan Racing Division, while the 18-inch fifteen52 wheels are shod in Pirelli Trofeo R tires that use a specialized compound exclusive to Block.
It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.
Ford's highly influential head of design, J Mays, has announced that he'll be retiring from his position after 33 years in the industry, 16 of which were at the Dearborn, MI-based company. Upon departure, he'll be succeeded as group vice president of design by Moray Callum. If that last name sounds familiar, yes, he's the brother of Jaguar's Ian Callum.
It's difficult to explain just how big of a role Mays had on not just Ford's design over the years, but on the entire industry. Before heading to Dearborn, Mays worked for Audi, BMW and then Volkswagen, where he was involved in concept cars that paved the way for design icons like the first-generation Audi TT and the Volkswagen New Beetle. As for his Ford resume, it's extensive.
Mays joined the company in 1997 as design director for Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Mazda, as well as the Premier Automotive Group (Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin). He was heavily involved in the Ford Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, F-150 and Mustang, while also contributing to concept cars like the Atlas, Evos, 427, Forty-Nine, Shelby GR-1, Lincoln MKZ and the MKC.