DEARBORN - Among the mist-shrouded karst mountain tops of Guizhou province in China, 24 hairpin bends twist precariously on a gravel track over just four kilometers.
The Stilwell Road is one of the world’s most stunning drives, but the breathtaking beauty hides a tough wartime history.
During the Second World War, Allied supply trucks negotiated the road’s tricky ascent to deliver supplies to the frontline in China. The 24 blind bends that climb the mountainside were one of the most treacherous parts of the road, which stretches all the way from India to China. But once the war was over Stilwell road fell into disuse, and its location was forgotten for nearly 50 years.
That was until 1995 when a Chinese historian rediscovered the road’s location. Today, the terrifying turns of Stillwell Road have been replaced by a newer and safer route, and the only action the road sees is from the occasional passing villager.
That such a magnificent road should lie dormant is a travesty, so Ford decided to bring it back to life using one of its most high performance vehicles: the Ford Focus RS.
Under the power of the Focus RS’ 350 horsepower engine, the gravel of the legendary Stilwell road turned to dust. The adaptive All Wheel Drive system handled each bend with precision, going to show that – in the right vehicle – the once-dangerous mountain road becomes a thrill seeker’s delight. In the Focus RS, the legendary Stilwell road has met its match.