From DC Shoes to Rally Car Design
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
By Christopher Moraff
Photos by Ron Zaras
“I am a lucky bastard,” says Ken Block. “I’m in a position where I really get to do the things I love to do.”
The founder of popular skateboard brand DC Shoes knows the world of design and sports. For the past three decades, he’s been competing himself, in skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross riding. But these days he spends most of the year as a professional rally car driver with the Monster World Rally Team, racing his custom Ford Fiesta HFHV (for Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle) that he helped design. The custom vehicle is Block’s answer to a rally race conundrum. Block wanted to compete in the three main rally race classifications—rally, rallycross, and gymkhana events—but the thought of maintaining three different cars had him reeling. So, Block and his team designed the Fiesta HFHV: a tricked-out rally car with a kit of different transmissions, suspensions, wheels, and gears that can be swapped out to fit each type of race. The design is unique to the Monster team, and plays off Block’s knack for catching the eye of the public and sponsors alike.
Block points to the parallels between extreme sports and good design. “I am inspired by people who push boundaries,” he says. “I come from the skateboarding and snowboarding world where there is so much self expression, not only in what people do physically with their sport, but also with graphics on boards and wheels, and all the advertising and video and photography. For me, design is a functional process that makes sponsors happy and sells products, but it’s also about creativity. The better job that I can do at bringing the two together, the more it represents me as a driver.”
DC Style at Home
Off the rally race circuit, Ken Block’s home is just as unique. The design of his Park City, Utah home was a collaborative effort between Block and interior designer Area Design. Its style reflects Block’s rough-andtumble rally car life. “The overall design concept was a clean and simple interior shell, allowing for vibrant colors, graphic prints, his amazing art collection, passion for the outdoors, and rallying to combine,” says Lia Aguirre, co-owner and principal at Area Design.