1988 / F Reg
Ford had been working on a turbo charged machine that would tackle the new breed of ‘Group B’ Rally cars like the Audi Sport Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16 and the Lancia Delta and 037. Unusually for Ford they failed miserably with the Escort RS 1700T so they were forced to return to the drawing board and start all over again, the result was the RS200. But Ford had now become ‘late starters’ because the others already had a three year start on them. Here was a car that was designed by Ghia and, unusually, the bodywork was entrusted to a company who knew a fair bit about building fibre glass cars .. Reliant. The chassis engineering was looked after by F1 gurus Tony Southgate and John Wheeler. The result was spectacular. The Ford bosses demanded that it must have four-wheel drive and it was built round a space frame chassis, Kevlar body work, and a potent mid-mounted engine courtesy of well proven race engine builder Brian Hart. Add to this an innovative front mounted gearbox for better weigh distribution and balance plus a variable torque split differential from Ferguson and you had a real beast of a car. At the peak of its powers in the hands of star drivers like Stig Blomqvist the larger 2.1 litre Evo engine was claimed to be pushing out around 650 bhp, it was rumoured that even 700/800bhp was used. It looked like Ford finally had the package to beat… however it all began to go wrong after Kalle Grundell came home 3rd in the Swedish Rally of 1986. Tragedy struck on the opening stage of The Portuguese Rally when Joaquim Santos lost control of his RS200 and sadly three people died and many others were injured. Marc Surer also crashed his RS200 in the Hessen Rally killing his co-driver. This was the beginning of the end for Group B Rallying. Soon after this Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergia Cresto lost their lives on the Tour de Corse when their Lancia Delta left the road. This really was the end of Group B, and it was also the end of an era for the fastest, most dangerous, most spectacular period in modern rallying. As a result, after just one year in competition, it was all over for the RS200 so it never got to show off its full potential. However it did prove that it had enormous promise when many of the cars were spectacularly successful in Rallycross.
To get FIA homologation Ford had to build 200 cars, it seems that six were classified as ‘prototypes’ , so only 144 actually left the factory and 90 of them were sold as road cars.
F666 MSL is chassis number 0118 and was sold to Brian Holmes around August 1988. It arrived with a more powerful 300bhp engine, the impressive rally light pod and full harness seat belts. Since then it does not appear to have seen a great lot of action. In 2006 Brian sadly passed away leaving the car to his son Mark. Eventually in 2010 around £25,000 was spent with marque expert Geoff Page re-commissioning the car. This included upgrading the engine to 550 bhp and 1952cc, along with the sensible introduction of bespoke Alcon brakes to make sure it stopped. On top of this was a more up to date engine management system to make the car more usable and easier to drive. All the standard original parts have been retained and they will be included in the sale.
This is a ‘road car’ so it has fibreglass body work as opposed to the competition cars that were built with Kevlar. The car has only ever been owned by the family and has a genuine 1,850 miles on the clock.
The Ford RS200 represents a truly classic era of modern rallying and this road going version of one of these cars, is in fantastic condition with incredibly low mileage. This is a very rare, very rapid road car…
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