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  Ford RS200      

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1985
Numbers built:200
Designed by:Ghia
Successor:Ford RS200 Evo
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 17, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the 1970s, Ford was one of the leading manufacturers in the World Rally Championship with various evolutions of the Escort. The arrival of Group B with its purpose-built rally cars saw the Boreham-built machines drop out of contention. Initially, Ford Motorsport tried to create a Group B car based on the Escort but the RS 1700T proved no match for the bespoke, all-wheel drive rally cars. The program was quickly scratched and instead work was started on a proper Group B car. In reference to the 200-car Group B homologation requirements, the new Ford rally car was dubbed the RS200.

It was a very ambitious project and, accordingly, Formula 1 engineers Tony Southgate and John Wheeler were tasked with the design. Consisting of a central aluminium monocoque with separate steel subframes, the chassis was built around the mid-mounted Ford BDT. Displacing just over 1.8 litres and fitted with a turbo, the twin-cam, four-cylinder engine produced around 250 bhp in road trim and 350-450 bhp in Group B rally trim. To perfectly balance the weight, the gearbox was mounted as a transaxle at the front of the car. This meant that the Ford Group B had two propellor shafts; one running from the engine to the gearbox and the second running back from the gearbox to the rear differential. Each corner of the RS200 featured double wishbones with twin coil-over spring and damper units.

Ford's subsidiary Ghia was entrusted with the exterior design of the RS200. The shape, however, was dictated by the mechanicals over which the body was draped as tightly as possible. The fibreglass and composite body featured round headlights while the rear boasted a duck-tail spoiler and taillights that were identical to those fitted on the contemporary Sierra production car. To keep costs down, the parts bin was further raided for much of the interior for the switches and also the steering wheel. Even the windscreen was shared with the Sierra road car.

To meet the homologation requirements, Ford ordered parts for 200 cars, which could be finished as a road car or to full Group B rally specification. It is not likely that all 200 were ever built but by February of 1986, the sport's governing body was sufficiently satisfied to issue homologation papers. Stig Blomqvist had already briefly shown the car off as a course opener of the 1985 Rally of Great Britain. Still in its development phase, the RS200 was fielded only in select events during the 1986 season with a third for Kalle Grundel in the car's Swedish Rally debut the best result.

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  Article Image gallery (35) SFACXXBJ2CGL00133 Specifications User Comments (14)