1985 Ford RS200 Evolution
- One of only 24 RS200 Evolutions built
- Upgraded by the factory to 600 brake horsepower
- Less than 450 original kilometers
- Long-standing Guinness record for “fastest accelerating car in the world”
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.
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. With the advent of Group B, Ford set out to develop a rear-wheel drive, turbo-charged variant of their Mk III Escort, dubbed the Escort RS 1700T. However, after development problems, Ford was forced to abandon the project. Not wanting to simply write off the cost of the 1700T, Ford executives decided to make use of the lessons learned to build an all-new, purpose-built rally car. In order to compete with the likes of the Lancia Delta S4 and the Audi Quattro S1, they decided the new vehicle should also feature four-wheel drive.
In 1984, the RS200 was a unique design, featuring a composite/fiberglass body styled by Filippo Sapino at the Ghia Design Studio. Formula One designer Tony Southgate designed the chassis along with former F1 engineer John Wheeler. With a mid-mounted Cosworth “BDT” engine and its transmission mounted up front, the RS200 was often considered to have the most balanced platform of its contemporary competitors.
FIA homologation rules dictated that at least 200 of these monsters be built for the road. The one thing separating these RS200s from the all-out Group B competition cars is the interior, which was comfortably trimmed by Tickford with grey carpeting, door inserts, red Sparco seats, and a matching red leather XR3i steering wheel. Furthermore, of those 200 slated for production, only 20 were initially set aside to be converted into sacred “Evolution” models (four more were built later). The RS200 Evolution received uprated suspension and brakes and a larger 2.1-liter version of the Cosworth powerplant, among other updates. At full boost, the RS200 could tear up the tarmac with upwards of 600 brake horsepower on tap and sprint to 60 mph in just over three seconds. In fact, only a few production examples left the factory at full-tune—including this RS200.
The ultimate specification RS200, this 2.1 Evolution, boasting an incredible 600 horsepower from the factory, was originally sold to renowned philanthropist, rancher, and oilman Dennis O’Conner of Victoria, Texas. In fact, he agreed to purchase three other RS200s from Ford in order to acquire this car! After several years, the car was finally imported into the US around 1990. After O’Conner’s passing in 1997, the RS200 remained with his estate until 2010 when it was acquired by Steve Rimmer of Seattle, Washington, the following year. Founder of the DirtFish rally school, Rimmer, an avid rally aficionado and owner of several RS200s, maintained the car in his collection until 2014 when it was sold to a collector in the UK. With limited mileage since its original delivery, this ultimate-spec RS200 remains in excellent condition throughout and shows just 430 original kilometers.
Probably one of the most, if not the most, unused RS200s, and certainly one of the most powerful, this car has never been run in competition. The unusual rally-bred supercar is 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 Evolution would make an important acquisition to any collection as a notable example of one of Ford’s most extreme racing creations.
Please note that DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington have generously offered the buyer of this RS200 a complimentary One Day Rally Fundamentals course for them and a guest.