1989 Ford RS200 4T 4WD Coupe 350bhp 'Rally Kit', 6804 miles Registration no. C20 ORS Chassis no. SFACXXBJ2CGL00114 Engine no. GL00114
When the Ford Motor Company decided to return to world championship rallying in the 1980s, no compromises were made and, rather than again carrying out competition modifications to a mass-produced saloon, a new purpose-built and FISA Group B Regulations compliant supercar was needed, the solution being unveiled at the 1984 Turin Motor Show. To qualify for the category, Ford or rather their contractor Reliant had to build 200 cars, hence the model's RS200 nomenclature, which the Tamworth firm produced between 1985 and 1986. The basis of Ford's Group B car was a mid-engined GT with chassis designed by GP car designer John Southgate and lightweight, but strong Ghia-styled coupe bodywork for two occupants. A turbo-charged version of the already legendary Ford Cosworth BDA was employed, the RS200's 1803cc BDT power unit developed at Boreham by former F1 engineer John Wheeler. A 5-speed gearbox was fitted, while two or four wheel drive for maximum traction on loose surface stages could be selected by the driver. The suspension was independent front and rear by double wishbones with twin coil spring damper units and anti-roll bars, adjustable at the front. There was an adjustable toe-in control link at the rear and adjustable spring platform positions. The steering was rack and pinion. Although works driver Kalle Grundel put the RS200 on the podium of the 1986 Rally of Sweden, along with the rest of the Group B pack, Ford's rally weapon never really had a chance to show its true potential on WRC events. For after a competing Ford went into the crowd in Portugal, causing fatalities, and the Lancia factory team Delta S4 crew of Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto both lost their lives in a fiery accident in Corsica, the Group B rally cars with their up to 700bhp potential were banned by the motor sporting authorities from international competition. Ford then diverted their Boreham Competition Department's rally efforts into making Cosworth and 4x4 versions of the Sierra into competitive rally cars and decided to sell their batch of RS200s as a high performance special edition. After some chassis had already been consumed by the rally programme, others ended up in rallycross and 50 more were broken by Ford for spares, while the remaining 122 became road cars with leather interiors by Tickford. In basic form, an RS200 cost £49,950, at the time by far the most expensive Ford in the catalogue. Although if all options were selected, then the price of a fully loaded car could rise to £58,995, which was how much chassis 114 - one of the final, if not the last to be sold by Ford - cost when supplied to the first owner in May 1989. It was not registered for the road until 4 August 1993. Finished in original Diamond White, the right-hand drive coupe with most appropriate 'C200RS' registration had a believed to be total mileage of 6804 miles from new displayed when consigned. Apart from having grey leather trim that appears still to be unmarked and as new, the standard equipment also includes electric windows, central locking with alarm, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, and a radio cassette. Whereas a standard car could reach 60 mph in 4 sec and do 140mph, when upgraded with the Ford-supplied 350bhp 'Rally Kit', as fitted to this car, the acceleration became even more impressive and, depending on the gearing, the top speed could be as much as 180mph. The upgrade also includes a red shift lever for selection of two or four-wheel drive and 50/50 torque split. The car sits on 9¼in wide Speedline three-piece composite alloys shod with Pirelli P700 245/45 x 16in diameter tyres (the original alloys also come with the car) and has been further enhanced by the fitment of one of only 20 Stig Blomqvist limited edition leather-covered rim steering wheels. The original 'Stig' is generally recognised as being the 'RS200 Master Pilot' through his storming of the legendary Pike's Peak hill climb course at the wheel of an RS200 in 2001, 2002 and 2004. In ultimate, post-Group B era form, the RS200 would have take some taming, too, as when powered by a 2137cc BDT-E, as much as 815bhp was on tap! Also included with this car are an auxiliary rally lighting pod, which was originally supplied with the car but never fitted, some spare body panels, an RS200 car cover and Ford supplied leather-bound and extremely comprehensive owner's handbook/manual for this model. As an inspection will confirm, this very low mileage example - one of only approximately 58 such road-going Group B Fords in the UK, with right-hand drive cars rarer rather than left - is in stunning cosmetic condition having never been rallied or raced or subjected to track days. Having been clearly very well preserved during current ownership, C2O ORS No. 114 has been mechanically checked through recently and will have been freshly MOT tested by sale day. The finite number of Group B cars produced and their awesome reputation for still being able to smash A to B times means that the Group B legend lives on with collectors and, apart from being able to sprint and hill climb their cars, owners are afforded plenty of eventing opportunities by the Group B Car Club and Slowly Sideways UK organisation.