Wednesday, July 11, 2012 14:59
San Francisco is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s also the second-most densely populated city in the U.S. after New York City, with just over 17,000 people for each of its 50 square miles. So you can imagine how hard it was to talk the city into closing off some of its famous streets and bridges so Ken Block could go hooning around in his 650-horsepower Ford Fiesta for Gymkhana 5, the latest in a series of videos showcasing Block’s talent for reducing tires to smoke in ways that make your eyes bug out.
Ken Block said, “When we found out that San Francisco was actually available as a location, that’s when the gears started turning about what we could do, how we could utilize the unique terrain within the city. Once I knew I’d be able to jump streets I was able to envision certain tricks, like the jump drift.”
As someone who was born in San Francisco, and much later had to drive through it several times a week, it’s downright eerie to see the streets so deserted––they were cordoned off for filming, but there’s no one even standing nearby watching. (At a World Rally Car event there’d have been people lining the curbs and reaching out to touch the car as it sped by.)
But what was even stranger was the feeling I’d seen this before––and of course I had, along with millions of moviegoers back in 1968. Here’s the eternally cool Steve McQueen and a couple of bad guys rockin’ it old-school on the streets of San Francisco at the wheel of cars your parents learned to drive in.
And so it goes.