The odds of finding a Ford RS200 full restoration to feature here are far and few between since not many were ever produced to begin with, so I lucked out to come across this example’s short repaint thread to share from RSownersclub.co.uk. While it’s apart, it gives us an opportunity to take a closer look inside the street version of the purpose-built mid engined, four wheel drive sports car originally designed for Group B rally competition. Ford had them produced from 1984 to 1986, but the short lived series was ultimately cancelled because the technology the race cars employed was considered as advancing at too quick of a rate. They were deemed as too fast and therefore too dangerous for spectators and drivers alike, especially after several unfortunate casualties…
This one had only collected a mere 2,000 miles on it before it’s latest owner bought it and had it delivered from The Isle of Man to the U.K. to have it stripped of it’s previous company livery and resprayed in proper Ford Diamond White.
For homologation purposes the FIA had required manufacturers to produce at least 200 road legal versions of their competition cars in order to be allowed to go racing.
Ford chose the well respected outside fiberglass company Reliant to produce their Ghia-designed plastic composite bodies around chassis and suspension designed by former F1 designer Tony Southgate and former F1 engineer John Wheeler.
Interestingly, they chose to mount the transmission at the front of the car to help weight distribution, necessitating the power from it’s mid mounted engine go first up to the front wheels and then back again to the rear.
Although power came from a 1.8 liter, single turbocharged Ford/Cosworth “BDT” engine producing 250 hp in road-going trim and between 350 and 450 hp in racing trim, upgrade kits were commonly used to boost the street versions to over 300.
With their double wishbone suspension setup with twin dampers on all four corners, RS200s are widely regarded as having the best balanced platform of any of their competitors from that glorious era, a view that is emphatically shared by RS200 owner Jim Avis in the following video:
Once this example was put back together to O.E. spec, it’s refurbished rims and new badges were installed and it’s final results turned out looking factory fresh.
Perhaps it’s time to take it back to The Isle of Man to explore it’s limits while collecting some well earned stone chips, wouldn’t you agree?
Find the build thread HERE.