Auctions and Brokerage
Frank Profera, Sherman Oaks, California (acquired new in 1989)Jonathan Beck, Mansfeld, United Kingdom (acquired in 2003)Phil Richardson, Burlington, Ontario, Canada (acquired in August 2005)David Kedward, Cheltenham, United Kingdom (acquired in February 2010)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Conceived by Ford Motorsport and built in limited numbers, the RS200 was among the most exclusive and exciting sports cars of its era. Unveiled to the public in 1984, the new purpose-built Ford was an engineering tour de force, with an advanced four-wheel drive system, a turbocharged Cosworth engine, and a sophisticated suspension system intended to cope with the punishing conditions of rally racing. Not only was the RS200 a technical marvel, its Ghia-designed bodywork was visually striking and, even in standard street form, the car’s performance was truly staggering. For many years, The Guinness Book of Records listed the RS200 as the world’s fastest accelerating production automobile, achieving 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.2 seconds and a 0-100-0 time of just 12.6 seconds.
The 1.8-liter RS200, and its full-out competition variant, the more powerful 2.1-liter Evolution, marked Ford’s attempt to conquer FIA’s popular Group B formula. Though the series was canceled before Ford had a chance to fully develop the RS200’s potential, these extraordinary cars went on to achieve great success in rallycross, ice racing, hill climbs, and many other forms of motorsport. Of the 144 RS200s produced – including the 24 Evolution variants – chassis 106 might well be the finest example ever to leave the Ford Motorsport works in Boreham, UK.
According to factory records, chassis 106 was custom-tailored to the exacting standards of its first owner, Frank Profera of Sherman Oaks, California. Intended for use as an exhilarating road car, this RS200 was specified as a left-hand-drive Evolution model, finished in white and outfitted with a fully trimmed interior, Speedline split racing wheels, power steering, a suede-wrapped MOMO steering wheel, and rally-spec AP Racing brakes. As indicated on the Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, this bespoke RS200 developed 600 hp – nearly 100 hp more than a standard Evolution – through the use of a ported Mk II heads, larger turbocharger, IMSA-spec intercooler, cockpit adjustable-boost dial, and 4" works rally exhaust system. Completed and prepared for delivery to California in spring 1989, this specially tuned RS200 commanded a lofty retail price of £63,357.55.
Amazingly, the RS200’s initial performance was not enough to satisfy Mr. Profera, who eventually sent the engine to Brian Hart Limited in Essex, UK, for further tuning. Mr. Hart had overseen the development of the RS200 Evolution engine for Ford Motorsport, and his reputation for creating high-performance engines was well known throughout the racing world. Working in tandem with East Coast Racing, Mr. Hart designed a second ECU, with full mapping for street use, along with other modifications for reliability and strength. The result was an engine that produced 704 bhp at 8,000 rpm with 535 lbs./ft of torque at 5,550 rpm.
A letter in the car’s history file written by Bob Howe, a former vehicle development manager who worked on the RS200 project with Ford Motorsport, testifies to chassis 106’s revered status. “In my opinion the changes Frank made turned this car into the most unique example of the RS200 anywhere; certainly I don’t know of another which has been boosted so much, made safer and legal for road use as well as having been made ‘civilized,’” Howe wrote.
Since leaving Mr. Profera’s hands in 2003, the RS200 has been owned and maintained by prominent collectors including David Kedward, a noted UK enthusiast with a passion for historically significant rally cars.
In the care of the current owner, chassis 106 was faithfully and sympathetically restored; as such, it presents in exceptional condition today. Autometric Collision European & Exotics in Pontiac, Michigan, refinished the RS200’s exotic bodywork while Hall of Fame Designs of Dearborn, Michigan, carefully re-trimmed the interior in correct OEM materials. Once the cosmetic restoration was completed, RM Motorsports of Wixom, Michigan, a firm specializing in Ford racing cars, oversaw the final assembly process and meticulously overhauled the car’s chassis and mechanical components.
Today, this exceptional RS200 Evolution is accompanied by a comprehensive file containing important Ford factory documents, registration records, EPA and DOT declarations, and recent restoration invoices totaling nearly $100,000. Also included in the sale is a cache of spare components, including a new gear cluster, drop-gear set, clutch, rear-suspension arms, the original ECU and related fittings, as well as a very rare RS200 owner’s manual, factory brochure, and fully bound shop manual.
The unique combination of rare factory options and performance upgrades, Brian Hart’s engine development, extensive documentation, superb provenance, and outstanding presentation, make chassis 106 a particularly fascinating and desirable RS200. For the forward-thinking collector, this one-of-a-kind RS200 Evolution is a true prize, and its appearance at auction represents a most exciting opportunity to acquire what many would consider the holy grail of Group B homologation specials.