When rally driver and drifting master Ken Block parted ways with Ford following an eleven-year partnership back in 2021, people wondered where he would land next. And while now we know that Block has slipped behind a steering wheel with an Audi logo on it (more of them, actually), an independent artist has dreamt up an alternative universe where Ken Block switched to Hyundai.
This is the kind of portrayal that you’d expect to find on Rick and Morty’s interdimensional cable—there may or may not be a slight connection to our world, but the overall vibe is so random that it’s bound to capture one’s interest.
So, instead of entering the realm of rings over at Audi or, say, returning to his first love—that would be Subaru, the brand that powered the first two Gymkhanas in addition to supporting Block’s rallying—this CGI narrative has the enthusiasts switching over to Hyundai camp.
It’s not the Ioniq 5, but it’s related to it
Right now, a logical assumption for this digital dream could go as follows: surely, with the 54-year-old having moved from Gymkhana to battery-powered Electrikhana via Audi building a one-off S1 Hoonitron for him and Block customizing an RS e-tron GT for daily driving duties, this imaginary Hyundai path must involve the gorgeous, retro-styled Ioniq 5 EV.
Well, thinking along those lines would bring one closer to the vehicle actually being portrayed here. That’s because we’re looking at a 1976 Hyundai Pony—last year, Hyundai introduced a restomodded Pony concept dubbed Heritage Series, which had been converted to battery power. And, as you’ll notice in the video at the bottom of the page, the concept’s overall boxy styling, its silhouette, and even its color and light cluster design have all been translated to the showroom model that is the Ioniq 5.
And this alternate future also seems to pack a bit of nostalgia, as there’s still a slight Ford connection involved. You see, the original Pony, which entered production in 1975, one year after Italdesign Giugiaro designed a stunning concept for it (many of the visual features were toned down for production), was Hyundai’s first indigenous model, which would also be exported.
Previously, Hyundai had produced local versions of the Ford Cortina. And they reportedly repurposed some of the parts used for that activity to create the Pony, while using Mitsubishi engines and hiring ex British Leyland people to bring it all together—the Brits brought along some Morris Marinas that were also used in the process.
So, we can now move on to the rendering showcasing Ken Block’s fictional Hoondai, especially since we’ve established that the small RWD original Pony, which came in multiple body styles, was a pivotal car for Hyundai and South Korea in general.
Ken Block’s fictional Hoondai Hoonicolt
Shashank Das (aka sdesyn), the digital artist responsible for the work, which has been done for the Kore Enthused digital KDM (Korean Domestic Market) community, describes it as a “1st Gen 1976 Hyundai Pony cranked up to 11”.
However, we feel that’s somewhat of an understatement. This thing was light to start with and, to counteract the effect of the added tech spice (we’ll get to that in a moment), it’s been put on a carbon fiber diet.
As such, the Pony maintains its factory weight of around 2,000 lbs (900 kilos), despite having been converted to AWD and fitted with a sequential tranny.
After all, you’re better off with four driven wheels when the 60 horses of the Mitsubishi 1.4L engine were replaced by some 500 ponies coming from a more recent Hyundai Beta 2.0L turbo that’s been fully built.
Also, more Ford
In another Ford nod, the Hoondai Hoonicolt, as the artist has named his creation, takes a cue from Block’s 1978 Ford Escort MK2 RS1800. Sure, that was a RWD isle in the master driver’s AWD ocean, but we’re referring to the exterior here—from the flat black dominant color to the widebody work, the sponsors, and even the stylized flag design adorning the hood.
Oh, and while the Fifteen52 Integrale wheels are shod in Toyo Proxes rubber, the latter shouldn’t remain in one piece for too long.
We’ll once again mention the Pony Heritage Edition electric concept, whose pixel lights have obviously influenced this work.
Who knows? Perhaps this wishful thinking-fueled piece of eye candy will turn into a visionary rendering over the years.