Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Ghia
Jeff White, Detroit, Michigan (acquired in August 1994)Henry Van Vurst, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (acquired from the above)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida, 2010
After several seasons in the World Rally Championship with its dominant Escort, Ford’s European racing division set its sights on the FIA’s Group B series. While initially Ford developed an Escort-derived rear-wheel-drive car for the series, the production team ran into obstacles that were deemed insurmountable, so the decision was made to build a new car from the ground up.
British engineer and Formula 1 designer Tony Southgate and engineer John Wheeler were brought on board to mock up the RS200’s tubular space-frame chassis, which used dual shocks at each corner. A Cosworth turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder was mounted amidships, while the transmission was installed up front for optimal weight distribution. Power was sent back to a central differential with three different rear-to-front torque split settings, 50/50, 67/33, and 100/0. The Italian design firm Ghia was tasked with penning the composite body and created a design that mixed hard edges with more gentle curves, yielding an aggressive and purposeful appearance.
In race form, the RS200 was one of the most balanced and best-handling Group B cars. The engine was rated at 450 bhp in homologation race trim. In its later Evolution form, the RS200 was capable of upward of 900 bhp with further tuning and could launch from 0–60 mph in just over three seconds, making it the fastest accelerating car at the time – a title it held in the Guinness Book of World Records for 12 years.
Per the FIA’s requirements, Ford built 200 road cars to homologate the RS200 for Group B competition. Slightly detuned, the road cars were fully upholstered with gray carpet, complementing door inserts and red Sparco seats with matching steering wheel. The car here, no. 169, is believed by the RS200 book author Justin Smith to be “about the last car to actually leave” Ford’s facility in Boreham, England. Acquired by an American enthusiast in 1994 from that same facility, this RS200 has just three known collector owners from new and has never run in competition. A well-preserved example, it is accompanied by its manual and service-parts book, and service receipts, including recent invoices for almost $16,000 of recommissioning work undertaken by Motor Classic and Competition Corp. of Bedford Hills, New York.
The RS200’s racing potential was cut short when the FIA abolished Group B at the end of the 1986 season. However, it would find success in rallycross and hill climbs such as Pikes Peak. Registering just 2,004 km, or 1,245 miles, at the time of cataloguing, this rare and collectible Ford RS200 may be one of the lowest mileage and original examples around, and an opportunity that no motor sport fan should miss.