One of 20 examples of the Ford RS200 ‘S’ road-going rally car is for sale in the UK – and is tipped to sell for more than £300,000 ($AU520,000).
The Ford RS200 is one of the most iconic cars from the golden era of rally racing, and a limited number of examples were made available as road cars. Now one of these extremely rare machines is heading to auction in the UK.
According to RS200.org – a UK website dedicated to the road-going rally car – Ford built 141 RS200s, despite being required to produce 200 examples to meet the minimum production requirements to enter the top tier of rally competition, known as ‘Group B’.
The Ford RS200 was designed to compete against iconic rivals such as the Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16 and Lancia Delta S4 on rally surfaces which varied from ice to dirt and even tarmac.
Powered by a mid-mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, the Ford RS200 could produce more than 330kW as a rally car, delivered to all four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission.
The RS200’s high power was paired with its low weight, tipping the scales at just 1050kg – about 200kg less than the cars currently competing in the World Rally Championship.
After months of delays, the RS200 finally made its global rally debut in 1986 at the Rally of Sweden, scoring a podium thanks to local driver Kalle Grundel.
However, one event later in Portugal, a Ford RS200 crashed into a crowd and killed three spectators. Another crash involving a Ford RS200 several months later killed the car’s co-driver.
The Group B rally era ended in late 1986 amid more fatal crashes, leaving Ford without a purpose for the RS200s it had been required to build for motorsport homologation.
Silverstone Auctions claims 20 of the cars intended for road use were sent to Canada and fitted with electric windows, a more comfortable interior by Tickford, improved air flow and ducting to the engine, plus a power increase from the road car’s standard 186kW to 261kW.
According to the listing, this Ford RS200 S was delivered to a West German car dealer who had already ordered three other examples. Its first owner kept the car in Germany until 2015 when it was purchased by the current owner in the UK, having so far completed just 1200 miles (1931km) in its 37-year life.
Silverstone Auctions estimates the Ford RS200 S could sell for anywhere between £300,000 ($AU520,000) to £350,000 ($AU607,000) when it goes to auction on 25 February 2023.
The record auction price for a Ford RS200 was set in 2017, when a Ford RS200 Evolution sold for $US550,000 – equivalent to $AU870,000 today – at a Bonhams auction in the US.