Sold for $522,500 at 2016 RM Auctions
During the 1970s, the Ford European racing concern in Boreham, England, had dominated WRC competition with various versions of competition-prepared Escorts, even winning the Manufacturers' Championship in 1979. They withdrew in 1980.
With the introduction of the Group B category, Ford began work on a rear-wheel drive, turbocharged version of their MKIII Escort, dubbed the Escort RS 1700T. The project was later abandoned due to development problems. Instead, they used the lessons they had learned to help built an all-new, purpose-built four-wheel drive rally car.
The Ford RS200 was unveiled to the public in 1984 and built in limited numbers. These purpose-built cars were conceived by Ford Motorsport and were an engineering tour de force. They had an advanced four-wheel drive system, a turbocharged Cosworth engine, and a sophisticated suspension system designed to cope with the rigors of rally racing. The RS200 was given a composite/fiberglass body styled by Flippo Saprino at the Ghia Design Studio. Formula One designer Tony Southgate designed the chassis along with former F1 engineer John Wheeler.
The Ford RS200 was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's fastest accelerating production automobile, achieving a zero-to-sixty mph time of less than 3.2 seconds and a 0-100-0 time in a mere 12.6 seconds.
Road-going examples were powered by a mid-mounted 1.8-liter engine while the more-power Evolution examples were given a 2.1-liter unit. The transmission was mounted up front, helping it achieve the most balanced platform of its contemporary competitors.
FIA homologation rules stated that at least 200 examples were required to be built for the road. The road going examples had an interior trimmed by Tickford with grey carpeting, door inserts, red Sparco seats, and a matching red leather XR3i steering wheel.
The Ford RS200 Evo competition variant was intended to conquer FIA's popular Group B formula. However, the series was canceled before Ford had a chance to fully develop the RS200's potential. The cars would go on to achieve great success in ice racing, hill climbs, rallycross, and many other forms of motorsport competition. Just 144 RS200s were produced, including the 24 Evolution variants.
Of the 200 slated for production, 20 were initially set aside to be converted into the 'Evolution' models (four more were built later). The RS200 Evolution were given an uprated suspension and brakes along with a larger 2.1 liter version of the Cosworth engine. With the upgrades, the engine produced upwards of 600 horsepower and could race from zero-to-sixty in just over three seconds.
This particular example is an RS200 2.1 Evolution model. It was originally sold to Dennis O'Conner of Victoria, Texas. He had agreed to purchase three other RS200s from Ford in order to acquire this car! After several years, the car was finally imported into the United States around 1990. O'Conner passed away in 1997, and the car would remain with his estate until 2010, when it was acquired by Steve Rimmer of Seattle, Washington, the following year. The car remained in his collection until 2014, when it was sold to an induvial from the UK.
Currently, the car has just 430 original kilometers. It has never been run in competition.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
The Ford RS200 was designed to comply with FIA homologation regulations and based on Ford's Group B Rally car. Homologation rules stated that 200 examples of road going version must be created in order to compete in rally racing. The vehicle was so perfect that it held the Guinness Book of Records for being the world's fastest accelerating car.
The vehicle was created by Ford of Britain. It was based heavily on the European version of the Escort though its chassis was designed by a former Formula 1 designer named Tony Southgate. John Wheeler used his F1 engineering background to aid in the development. The vehicle was given all-wheel-drive and a mid-mounted engine. Weight-distribution was further improved by placing the transmission at the front of the car. Production lasted from 1984 through 1986. The body was constructed of a plastic and fiberglass composite and designed by the legendary firm, Ghia. The suspension was made up of a double wishbone setup with twin dampers on all wheels. The engine was a l.8 liter Ford four-cylinder unit with Cosworth modifications. A turbocharger helped produce 250 horsepower for the road-going versions and around 350 for the racing versions. Though some of the racing engines were highly tuned and produced horsepower in the 400 through 450 range.
Ford created the 200 road-going versions of the RS200 in compliance with FIA rules. They created additional spare parts which could have created in excess of twenty extra vehicles. These parts were ear-marked for the racing efforts.
With a potent engine, lightweight construction, excellent weight distribution and all-wheel drive the Ford RS200 was theoretically the ultimate machine. In reality, it lagged in the power-to-weight ratio in comparison to other vehicles. Also, the engine produced low-RPM lag which made it difficult to be competitive.
The Ford RS200 best finish in Group B rallying competition came in 1986 at the WRC Rally of Sweden where it placed third. It did achieve mild success in other classes outside of Group B competition and it may have seen more in the Group B class but after one year of racing, the FIA disbanded the Group B and the RS200 became obsolete. The decision to disband came after Herni Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Crestos died in an accident at the 1986 Tour de Course. Officials made the decision that the cars were too fast and posed to many safety risks. This was unfortunate on many fronts. The Group B racing was very competitive and just as exciting. To combat their shortcomings, Ford had planed on resolving the vehicles problems with the introduction of an 'Evolution' version. The upgraded engine was estimated to produce between 525 and 800 horsepower. The rest of the vehicles components were to receive attention such as the suspension, brakes, chassis, and more. Zero-to-sixty was estimated to take around two seconds.
Out of the 200 examples created, around 24 were later converted to the 'Evolution' status.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006
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