Previous Next

Lot 230

1986 Ford RS200

  • Chassis no. SFACXXBJ2CGL00169

$475,000 - $600,000


250 bhp, 1,803 cc DOHC Cosworth turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with Bosch electronic fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs and shock absorbers, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 99.6 in.

  • One of 200 road-going versions; the last customer car delivered
  • Two private owners since delivery; extremely low mileage
  • A near time-capsule example of Ford’s Group B legend


THE GOLDEN ERA OF RALLY

The Group B regulations fostered some of the quickest, most powerful, and most sophisticated rally cars ever built. This period of competition is often referred to as the Golden Era of rallying.

Though less high profile than sports-car and open-wheel racing, modern rallying has attracted many discerning fans over the years with its point-to-point multi-leg format and highly modified, small-displacement, production-based cars. Such enthusiasts almost universally speak with glowing memories of the Group B era, when revolutionary all-wheel-drive chassis and turbocharged engines resulted in some of the most athletic cars to ever face a timer.

While Ford’s European racing concern in Boreham, England, had dominated WRC competition in the 1970s with various iterations of competition-prepared Escorts, even winning the Manufacturers’ Championship in 1979, America’s oldest carmaker dropped out of the format in 1980 to develop something that could compete with Audi’s forthcoming Quattro and the mighty R5 Turbo from Renault. A new program was undertaken in 1983 to build an alternative to the conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive Escort, one that would prove to be a disruption of its own.

Formula 1 designer Tony Southgate engineered a brand-new chassis predicated on all-wheel drive and the mid/rear placement of a 1.8-liter turbocharged Cosworth engine. The motor was slated to produce 250 horsepower in street guise, though in race format it could develop a shocking 420 horsepower or more. The distinctive new bodywork was designed by Italian styling house Ghia.

As 200 road-going examples were required to homologate the model for WRC certification, the new creation was dubbed the RS200, and it showed tremendous promise right out of the gate with a victory in its debut race. At its first WRC contest, the car came in 3rd, portending a great future. Unfortunately, the new Ford arrived to the party a bit late, with the model only debuting in the 1986 season after more than two years of development. Several tragic accidents compelled the FIA to cancel Group B classification after just four years, making the RS200 ineligible for the WRC after only one season of competition.

In terms of its Italian exterior design and F1-bred chassis, the purpose-built RS200 is almost completely unique to Ford’s history, perhaps comparable only to their great GT40 endurance racer. Ghia’s softly curved wedge design was copied in numerous road cars of the era, and the mid-engine layout was also soon imitated by other manufacturers. Though it took no racing titles, the RS200 was an incredible evolution of the everyday sports car. The RS200 remains a favorite of Group B enthusiasts to this day, likewise appreciated by design experts and performance connoisseurs for its disruption of the conventions of the day.

CHASSIS NUMBER 169

Chassis number 169 is among the later RS200 examples built and is believed to be the last car delivered from the manufacturer’s stock, reportedly sitting at the Boreham facility until August 1994. Acquired then by a Michigan-based enthusiast, the RS200 was treated to a pampered life while occasionally taken to motorsports events for display, including the Daytona International Speedway in 2010.

Currently displaying approximately 1,960 kilometers, this Ford was recently acquired by the consignor. Though the car has been kept in very good mechanical condition, the grey carpeting had deteriorated somewhat from natural aging, so correct Wilton wool carpets in the original color were sourced and properly installed. This is believed to be the only non-original item in this otherwise totally original RS200. The car is currently titled in the United States, having been properly imported during the 1990s, and is therefore ready to enjoy on the open road as US compliant.

Probably one of the most, if not the most, unused of the RS200 examples produced, this car benefits from just two caretakers over 21 years and has never been run in competition. The unusual racecar is a jewel of disruption, a sensational anomaly in the Ford production output that represented the legendary Group B rally cars. For rally connoisseurs or dedicated fans of 1980s sports cars in particular, this superlative RS200 would make an important acquisition to any collection as a notable example of one of Ford’s most extreme racing creations.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more