DC Shoes Presents Ken Block Ragging A MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block - 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Ken Block – 1978 MK2 Ford Escort

Gargling Gas loves Ken Block’s hooning abilities, especially his Hoonicorn ’65 Mustang. Yesterday’s post involved a nostalgic reflection on the tin boxes my Grandfather drove me around in, one being an Austin Metro, the other a MK2 Ford Escort. I recalled a video of Ken Block hooning a MK2, which led to a rather silly mind’s eye image of my Grandfather ragging his sandy coloured MK2 like Block style.

30 years on, the legendary MK1 and MK2 Escorts’ prices are soaring, and the simplistic and lightweight, RWD car is still the preferred choice of chassis to learn the art of rally in.

Check out Block and the 1978 MK2 Ford Escort rally car – I can’t remember where I read it, but I’m sure Block does this from time to time, man and machine stripped of computer aids, a pure way of honing reflexes and skills.


Mini Monster Metro

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

The car pictured above is everything Gargling Gas isn’t – pathetic, weak and helplessly slow. However, this post came to be (or will come to be) out of a combination of nostalgia hailing back to when I was around four-years-old, and one of my favourite rally cars.

Aside from the colour, the cute little gold car above is identical to the one my Grandfather owned, the fifth Metro to leave the production line and the first painted bronze. He owned a MK 2 Ford Escort before it, and even though I was still learning to tie my shoelaces at the time, I understood this Metro car wasn’t as cool.

However, it was – much to my delight – the first car I managed to sit in the front of whilst moving, a memory I still cherish. I think it was around the time seatbelt laws were introduced as my parents never let me sit up front, but my Grandfather, well he was easy to manipulate. I begged and begged and eventually I broke the old man, and before he’d even walked around to open his door, I was all strapped in. I marvelled at the open space and the fact I was so close to the controls.

“Don’t tell your mum and dad,” he said.

“I won’t,” I replied.

And I didn’t.

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

So what about the rally car? How could this little tin box ever hope to race, let alone compete with the likes of Audi, Lancia and Peugeot on the world stage of Group B?

1985 MG Metro 6R4

1985 MG Metro 6R4

The monster above is the mighty 1985 6R4, a compact weapon of mass destruction. Whilst the family runaround possessed around 60-bhp depending on engine choice, the 6R4’s 3.0-L V6 delivers over 400-bhp.

The 6R4 started off well, only Lancia bettering them, but after mechanical gremlins throughout 1986 and the fact Group B rally was banned due to a series of accidents and spectator deaths, the lunatic Metro ended up competing in rally cross at the hands of privateers.

MG Metro 6R4

MG Metro 6R4

Another interesting fact about the little boxy car is its link to Jaguar – the 3.0-L V6 found in the 6R4 was given two turbochargers and put into the XJ220 supercar.

I think the fact my Grandfather owned and ferried me around in a Metro is the reason I love the 6R4. They took a popular British runaround loved by the blue-rinse brigade and turned it into something capable of messing the overalls of a seasoned racer.

Just listen to how furiously angry this little Metro is once it’s in full race mode…

Keep Drifting Fun: The Essence of Togetherness and Community… With Much Smoke

Andy Sapp Keep Drifting Fun -

Andy Sapp Keep Drifting Fun –

If you’re really into the drift scene you’ve no doubt watched this excellent documentary, Keep Drifting Fun – I may have even mentioned it on here a while back. If you haven’t, this 30 minute film highlights the passion and sense of community drifting cars can create, not just in local clubs and groups, but worldwide.

I chose the above image as an introduction as it’s a scene from the film etched into my memory, chiefly because it’s a BMW drifting on the highway, and the driver, Andy Sapp is one cool guy – Gargling Gas considers the combination of his beard and his entrance to old school Metallica noteworthy to say the least.

Andy Sapp - Pro Drifter and All Round Metalhead

Andy Sapp – Pro Drifter and All Round Metalhead

In 2010 Joshua Herron and Will Roegge toured America in Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van, filming the very essence of what is was like to be a part of the grassroots drift scene. Although the project was cut short, the pair picked up where they left off in 2011 and, combining their edit with their footage filmed at the 2012 XDC Phoenix, they prepped the final cut to release publicly. In the summer of 2012, Keep Drifting Fun thrilled two sold out audiences at Mid Town Art Cinemas in Atlanta, Georgia.

Joshua Herron and Will Roegge with Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van

Joshua Herron and Will Roeggeand with Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van

The short film features Pro drifters, Chris Forsberg, Ryan Tuerck, Nate Hamilton and Club Loose founder and legend, Matt Petty, along with other big names.


Matt Petty - Drifter and Club Loose Founder / Photo - Speed Hunters

Matt Petty – Drifter and Club Loose Founder / Photo – Speed Hunters

I love this video for the music, the great editing, the cars, but most of all, the smoke.

Check out the finished masterpiece below and let me know what you think.

I’m Invincible In my Car

How many times have you sat at a red light and imagined gunmen spilling out from the back of a van and spraying your car with high velocity rounds? I know, all too often, right?

Well I have a solution that’ll leave the gunmen scratching the top of their balaclavas and you with a smug grin on your face.

Picture the Royal family in their Rolls Royce, the President in a stretched Cadillac or the Pope in his silly white cubicle car and you’ll know what I’m on about – armoured cars.

So unless you are royalty, the leader of a country, a religious figurehead, or a gangster rapper, here’s what you would have to consider if you were to go about turning your car into a impenetrable fortress.


I’ll cover the important upgrades:



To escape gunmen in a car you’ll obviously need a tyre that will take a few rounds. The answer is pretty simple: Run Flat Tire Inserts. These assure continued operation of the car despite ballistic impacts and prevent a total tire blowout.

The system used by the U.S. government is comprised from lightweight, high strength polyester elastomers that make up the roller and a runner. The runner is securely attached to the wheel in the drop centre, and provides a track or channel in which the roller is allowed to move or “rotate” about the wheel at the same speed as the tyre, thus reducing friction and heat build up.



Bulletproof lightweight glass-clad polycarbonate is used as multi-hit protection against those pesky bullets. The glass is seamed, edged and finished using a proprietary quality process that provides unprecedented UV and delamination resistance. All glass features excellent ballistic protection and superior optical quality with very minimal distortion.

Below you can see types of rounds and the velocities taken into consideration when building an armoured car.

Fuel Tank:

This is one component you wouldn’t want punctured. Although a stray bullet is unlikely to cause an explosion (I saw this proven on TV program), a fuel tank resembling a piece of Swiss cheese will leave you stranded. A bullet proof fuel tank features a flame retardant coating, self sealing polymeric foam, insulating foam, and a Kevlar or ballistic wrap.

Bomb Proof Floor:

You can’t be too careful; whilst you are throwing your car around like Ken Block, trying to avoid gunfire, you may have missed the grenades rolling under your car. A bomb proof floor is comprised of multiple layers of Kevlar fabric that’s stitched together rather than bonded under heat, enabling the Vehicle Fragmentation Blanket more flexibility with a blast impact.

Body Panels/Doors:

Depending on the level of protection – bullets or bombs – there are various materials that can be used for a car’s body and door panels.

As I’m avoiding bullets, a wise choice would be Kevlar armour panels. They are very durable, light and easy to install. Because they are so light as opposed to heavy bomb proof steel panels, you don’t have to go crazy upgrading your brakes and engine to cope with the added weight.

Flame Thrower:

This is a little extra, an after thought inspired by a movie. To distract any menacing gunmen, give them a few licks of fire to deal with.



Two Legends, But Who’s God? E30 M3 vs 190E Cosworth

Mercedes 190E Cosworth vs BMW E30 M3

Mercedes 190E Cosworth vs BMW E30 M3

Before you roll your eyes and yawn at yet another BMW E30 M3 vs 190E Cosworth article, consider the prospect of the latter catching up (and dare I say it, surpassing) the BMW in “want” factor. Thanks to the perpetually changing ‘what’s hot”, “what’s not” nature of the automotive world, factoring in the whole Drift/Hipster/Retro movements, could the old Merc capture a little more cool factor and equal that of the Ultimate Driving Machine?

Again, before you write this obvious contender off, a car well known for its performance and constantly compared to the E30, the Mercedes 190E Cosworth boasts both a great back story and amazing racing heritage – the Merc also features the uber cool dog-leg gearing.

Although both cars are luxury German sedans, both powered by a naturally-aspirated in-line 4 engines, both RWD, both punching out around 190-bhp with 170+ft.lbs of torque, their prices differ rather dramatically.

BMW E30 M3  King of Europe ProSeries Drift Competition

BMW E30 M3 King of Europe ProSeries Drift Competition

A decent BMW E30 M3 will start at around £25K, where a mint 190E Cosworth will set you back only £12-15K. I’ve seen mint E30 M3s go for as much as £40K, with track-spec examples hitting £100K.

Another factor to consider in is how good a car looks drifting. Obviously the E30s look incredible, both agile and sinister, and because of its perfect balancing, fantastic impersonating a crab. I think the E30 looks more like a racecar than the Mercedes, the latter thought more as a businessman’s chariot.

Mercedes 190E Cosworth Drift Car

Mercedes 190E Cosworth Drift Car

What some may forget are the glory days when Mercedes and BMW duked it out in European Touring Cars – the 190E Cosworth was a winning car, a force that drove BMW to create the M3 in the first place. In fact, the Merc was so good, Ayrton Senna bought one after winning a 1984 Nurburgring race – check out the 190E in action in the video below.

So with its boxy retro looks, its track abilities, its ability to drift and perform on track, could the 190E see its desirability and value increase?

If you’re still not convinced or sure, Motor Trend did an in depth video on the Germans, so take a look and let me know what car you’d rather see in your garage.


No Substitute For Automotive Passion: BMW E30 M3

BMW E30 M3

BMW E30 M3 – Petrolicious

It doesn’t matter what type of cars you’re into, there are certain models that cast a spell, a collection of nuts, bolts and wires that evoke the child-like emotion: “I WANT, I WANT!”

I had this emotion the first time I took a ride in an MGB GT. I climbed out of that car and wandered around like the Toad in Wind In The Willows, “Poop, poop!”



Thanks to my father, and much to my mother’s dismay, my first car was a rebored orange 1978 MGB GT.

There are a few cars that have this hold over me, chief among them the Buick GNX, but rather than list the others, check out the video below and listen to this guy’s story on the BMW E30 M3 (also on my list). If you’re into cars you’ll know the E30 M3 is a classic with perfect balance and handling, a great looking car with more than enough hooning power. A decent one with average miles will set you back around £30K, which may sound a lot to some; to those in know like this guy in the video, it’s a small price to pay for a car you’re smitten with.

I’ve used a video from Petrolicious to highlight the special bond us petrolheads have with our cars before. The YouTube channel is worth subscribing to for it’s fantastic filming and great selection of cars, all of them boasting some kind of cool story – and as far as Gargling Gas is concerned, car stories are the best.


Alpina: More Than Just A Tuning Company

Alpina e12 B7 Turbo

Alpina e12 B7 Turbo

Having owned several Mercedes, a BMW e46 M3 and currently an E36 325i coupe, I’m a massive fan of German cars. Whilst Mercedes have their AMG tuning division and BMW their infamous M division, there’s another name synonymous with BMW that offers more than a badge and extra grunt.

Alpina e12 B7 Interior

Alpina e12 B7 Interior

Since 1965 German manufacturer, Alpina have worked alongside BMW, their platform the canvas onto which they lavish their unique styling and performance enhancements. Whilst the car above could be mistaken for an early e28 M5, if you look a little closer you’ll notice the “Alpina” and “B7 Turbo badges”. Both cars are performance sedans in their own right, however, the Alpina’s styling is more luxurious, complete with signature spoked wheels, and perhaps ahead of its time considering the use of turbos in the current M cars, Alpina turbocharged the engines.

Classic Alpina Wheels

Classic Alpina Wheels

Alpina’s 1979 launch of their B7 Turbo was a significant move forwards regarding the general public having access to big power family cars. In the same year, Road & Track magazine tested the B7 Turbo and proclaimed it as ”The World’s Fastest Sedan.” This is an amazing feat, especially as five years later it still held the title, boasting a 163.9-mph top speed.

Alpina e12 B7 Turbo

Alpina e12 B7 Turbo

We tend to think of the early M cars as the first stupidly fast sedans, but Alpina’s 1979 B7 Turbo produced 296-bhp – that’s more power than BMW’s M1 supercar and 11-bhp more than the first M5 in 1985.

The videos below show off some very rare cars, including a couple of later e28 models, one in action against a BMW e36 M3 – although it doesn’t quite match the e36 in performance, it still highlights the amazing power on offer in 1979, over a decade before the e36 was produced.

I was thinking about getting my hands on another M3, either an e36 or an e46, but after seeing their stylish turbocharged cousins, I’m leaning towards an Alpina.