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43 pieces of unique Ken Block memorabilia are heading up for auction

Let the bidding commence! Old Gymkhana car parts are being auctioned off for charity

Published: 03 Apr 2024

You couldn’t have scripted this one. A businessman and born marketeer, Ken Block was the accidental automotive superhero the 21st century world didn’t know it needed. The co-founder of skate apparel brand, DC Shoes, when Block sold his stake in 2004 he was free to pursue a career in rallying – a journey that led to total internet dominion via the Gymkhana series. Arguably the greatest side – slide? – hustle in history, and now you can bid for a slice of it as “From the Collection: Ken Block” drops items of memorabilia from a film series that’s genuinely, yes, iconic.

“Ken Block was an undeniable inspiration to car lovers and fans everywhere – he united automotive and pop culture in a way that no one else could,” says Chris Prill, Global VP of eBay Motors. “We are deeply honoured to partner with the Block family and support Ken’s commitment to the community by connecting our enthusiasts to his legacy through these one-of-one pieces.”

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So what are we talking here? How about a set of sequential gears from Hoonicorn v1, damaged in Gymkhana Seven. Perhaps some burnt clutch plates from Hoonicorn v2, as used in Climbkhana: Pikes Peak? Then there’s a rear fender from Ken’s personal Ford Raptor project car, an AlpineStars race suit from 2016, or a Specialized bike in Block style by Livery Artists. In total, 43 collectibles are available, in honour of Ken’s race number but also to raise money for the 43 Institute, a foundation established by his family to maintain his legacy.

That, by the way, isn’t just about upholding the memory of a man who could achieve frankly astonishing drift angles in increasingly outlandish locations, but also in creating opportunities for people who might otherwise not make it into motor racing, action sports, or the creative arts. Block was about empowerment, in every sense of the word.

FTC Ken Block - Lucy Block caught up with Ken’s wife Lucy, herself a pro rally driver and now principal of Block House Racing, to discover more. We find her in the back of the family motorhome, currently stationed in Moab, Utah, where her daughter Kira is taking part in the Easter Jeep Safari. She’s just rock crawled to the ‘top of the world’. (Elder sister Lia is currently competing in the F1 Academy; both are chips off the, erm, old Block.)

“Ken probably didn’t realise that helping others was going to be one of his legacies,” Lucy explains, “but so many people have said that something he told them became a turning point in their life or career. We’re continuing to build on that with the 43 Institute, helping people who might otherwise struggle to gain access into careers, skills development, and improving physical and mental health.”

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TopGear, of course, had a long association with Ken Block, a man whose inexhaustible lust for life was tempered by an unexpectedly Zen-like approach to what he did. A genius behind the wheel with an innate gift for content creation, like so many other apparent extroverts Ken was actually meticulous and methodical.

“He was doing things that he loved. He’d say to me, ‘I get to do motorsport and snowboarding, at the best level, with all my friends’," Lucy recalls. “But he also loved marketing and creating, dreaming up an idea and moving it forward and making it happen. And along the way he inspired others, came up with stuff that other people thought was crazy and could never work but he pushed them to make it happen. His energy came from his own passion.”

FTC Ken Block - Lucy Block

Having already built a brand himself, he knew what worked and what didn’t, an understanding that made him something of a dream partner for the likes of Audi and Ford when the Hoonigan operation began to take off. Not that Block and his team were targeting world domination.

“With the first video it was a case of, ‘let’s see what the car can do’,” Lucy recalls. “It wasn’t intended to turn into this viral phenomenon, there were no sponsorships. It was very raw. But Ken couldn’t turn his brain off, so it was his natural instinct to think, ‘well that worked, we didn’t expect it to work that well, so now how can we make it better?’” He didn’t just make Gymkhana videos because that’s what he wanted to do, he made them because it paid for rallying. That’s not a cheap sport.”

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She continues: “He was a very calculated individual. We have a lot of friends in action sports, and they really do just go for it. People thought Ken was like that, but everything he did was very thought-through. And yes, he was very calm in the car. He didn’t do anything he didn’t think was 100 per cent possible.”

As for auctioning the memorabilia, well, Lucy Block is realistic without being unsentimental. Talking to her about her late husband, one of the great entertainers of our time but also a fantastic guy and much-missed family man, is as emotional as you’d imagine it to be.

“These are amazing items, but Ken drove race cars for a long time, so this isn’t the only race suit or helmet that we have,” she says. “Honestly, I’m not an object human. So we decided to release some items for others to share what we already have, a memory of Ken that resonates for them. And we can also raise money for the foundation. We decided to partner with eBay. It was a good fit and they’ve been incredible.”

Today, by the way, is Ken Block Day. You know what to do. 

You can see all the items by clicking these blue words, with the auctions running from today up until 13 April. All proceeds will benefit 43 Institute.

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