1989 Ford RS200 Coupé Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia/Tickford Registration no. G776 TJD Chassis no. SFACXXBJ2CGL00090 Engine no. GL00090
Masterminded by its European Motor Sports boss, Stuart Turner, the RS200 was Ford's ambitious attempt at producing a championship winning Group B rally car. Immediately prior to the project's inception Ford's frontline rally car had been the front-engined, rear-wheel driven Escort RS1800, while its intended replacement the Fiesta-based RS1700T - was another rear-wheel-drive design. However, by this time Audi's Quattro had convincingly demonstrated the efficacy of four-wheel drive in rallying, prompting a drastic rethink at Boreham.
Overseen by Ford Motor Sports Chief Engineer, John Wheeler, the RS200 project commenced in 1983 with production of 200 cars planned in order to meet Group B requirements, hence the name. The design, by Tony Southgate, eventually crystallised as a compact mid-engined coupé powered by a turbo-charged version of the 1.8-litre 16-valve Cosworth BDA engine (the BDT) and equipped with four-wheel drive. This engine produced 250bhp in road going trim with up to 500bhp available in rally tune. Ford's Italian subsidiary, Carrozzeria Ghia, was entrusted with the styling, producing a purposeful yet elegant design that has stood the test of time like few of its contemporaries. Aston Martin-owned Tickford built the composite bodyshells at Newport Pagnell.
The RS200 was first publicly displayed in 1984 and homologated in February 1986 after the required 200 examples had been built, all apart from the initial six prototypes being completed at Reliant's factory at Shenstone, Staffordshire. Its first World Championship event was that year's Swedish Rally where the car driven by Kalle Grundel finished 3rd overall, a most promising debut. The RS200 went on to achieve a total of 19 wins and 32 podium finishes at international level before the year's end, securing several national championships along the way. Sadly, that would be the limit of its rallying achievements, as FISA pulled the plug on the Group B supercars at the end of a season blighted by a number of fatal accidents, some involving spectators. Seeking to recoup some of the £10 million rumoured to have been spent on the project, Ford stripped down 120 RS200s and rebuilt them as road-legal supercars to be sold at around £50,000 apiece.
Car number '90' was first registered on 15th September 1989 and owned first by Mr Richard Rhodes of London NW3. In June 1992 the car was registered to its second owner, Alan Gove of Lightwater, Surrey, who kept it until April 1999 when ownership passed to John Bilbrough of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, who was followed by Colin Needham of Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire (the current registered keeper) in May 2000.
Offered with MoT to July 2014 and Swansea V5C document, 'G776 TJD' has covered a genuine 17,090 miles from new and is described as in generally excellent condition with serviceable engine and transmission. State-of-the-art automotive technology in its day and Ford's finest achievement since the GT40, the RS200 is the ultimate acquisition for the serious Ford collector.