By Wallace Wyss
One of the more scary adventures I had in my life as a car writer was volunteering to ride up to Angeles’ Crest Highway, a mountaintop road above Los Angeles, in a RS200 “Evolution” model. So not only was it a rare mid-engined rally Ford but it was a further evolution of the original model. We were blasting 100 mph uphill and, amazingly, at the same time being passed by café racers on motorcycles who thought we were going too slow!
Gooding Auction Co., at Monterey in mid-August, will be selling an almost identical RS200. I think it is a formidable sports car, and the joy of it is that you can drive it off road, which you can’t exactly do with a Ferrari. (Editor’s note: ah, but let’s not forget that Harry Metcalfe recently drove a Testarossa across the Sahara)
The RS200 was conceived by Ford Motorsport in England in the early ‘80s.
It was basically built to showcase Ford engineering, and in a way showed that differently than the previous mid-engined Ford, the GT40 which ran only on nice smooth racetracks like LeMans. .
The RS200 boasted an advanced four-wheel drive system, a turbocharged Cosworth engine, and a sophisticated suspension system that would take all the bumps and dips and rough surface of the rally routes of the world.
Ford says the bodywork was designed by Ghia. I believe it but wonder if it was to a British design, I don’t see much of the grace of an Italian designed car, so maybe that was when Ford owned Ghia and they built the design to whatever Ford design studio sent them.
Gooding says in their catalog that, for many years, The Guinness Book of Records listed the RS200 as the world’s fastest accelerating production automobile, achieving 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.2 seconds and a 0-100-0 time of just 12.6 seconds. I think the one I had a ride in up the mountain was faster, but let me tell you, you don’t want to go any faster, particularly on a dirt road… Continue reading →