1988 Ford RS200
- A genuine time capsule, displaying fewer than 1,200 miles from new
- Fresh from a mechanical restoration totaling £30,000
- Fitted with the rare optional two-/four-wheel locked differentials
- One of the rarest and most useable Group B homologation specials
The Ford RS200
Did you know that the three-times Formula 1 World Champion Jackie Stewart had a major hand in developing Ford’s Group B thoroughbred, the RS200? Or that its chassis was the work of the accomplished Formula 1 designer Tony Southgate?
The lesser-known facts go some way to explain just how much effort and expense Ford invested (£10m, in case you were wondering) in the mid-engined car with which it wanted to write the next chapter of its World Rally Championship legacy.
Alas, the writing was already on the wall for Group B by the time the RS200 hit the special stages and the Ford’s great potential was sadly curtailed. Everyone knew that had it been afforded the chance, the RS200 – in its 700HP-plus Evolution guise – would have wiped the floor with everyone. It was glorious Group B’s logical next step.
If the frenzy this car caused when we recently posted some photos of its on social media is anything to go by, the road-going Ford RS200 is a car that resonates with a great number of people. Okay, so it was a pussycat in comparison to the rally car, but that doesn’t mean it was a pussycat full stop.
Quite the contrary, in fact – this was a lightweight mid-engined four-wheel-drive sports car designed from the ground up as a rally winner and whose turbocharged BDT engine produced an ample 250HP, after all. Miraculously, the RS200 also errs on the right side of useable, unlike the majority of its Group B homologation counterparts.
Ford Motorsport in Boreham was supposed to build 200 RS200s in order to homologate the rally version, though the authority on the model Justin Smith reckons that as few as 147 were actually sold, 90 of which were left-hand drive.
This Ford RS200
Museum piece. That’s how we’d describe this time-warp Ford RS200, which has covered a scant 1,200 miles since it left the factory in 1986. Whether you agree or not with buying cars to hide away and look at rather than drive is beside the point. The condition of this RS200 is nothing short of extraordinary, which is a testament to the restraint of its small number of owners over the years. It even retains the slightly disconcerting ‘Cold Start Procedure’ sticker on the windscreen. “Failure to observe correct procedure may result in expensive engine damage.” Yikes.
A left-hand-drive example, this RS200 was built in 1986, fitted with the optional two-/four-wheel-drive locked differentials, which were operated by a smaller lever beside the gearstick. Ford retained the car until December of 1988, using it occasionally for promotional purposes (there are multiple photos of it in Fast Ford magazine), when it was sold to the Colorado-based entrepreneur and author Robert DeLano for £30,000. It arrived stateside on the 24th December, just in time for DeLano to enjoy a liberal Christmas Day dose of Group B lunacy.
In 2002, the RS200 was sold to Oregon with just 498 miles on the clock. After a four-year spell on the West Coast, it was bought by the managing director of a Ford dealership in Pahiatua, New Zealand. So proud was he of his new Group B time capsule that he displayed the car in pride of place in his showroom and had the Bush Telegraph, a nearby newspaper, publish a story about it.
This RS200’s next Australian owner Andrei Shinkarenko imported it from New Zealand to South Queensland in March of 2011. With a car that had barely travelled 1,000 miles, he recognized the importance of preserving its originality, storing it carefully for almost a decade. After a surprise feature on Silodrome in 2019, the car’s next owner took the decision to restore the car mechanically, entrusting the work to Dutton Motorsport. Between March and August of 2020, a total of £30,000 was spent on refreshing this RS200.
Not only is this Group B homologation special presented in the most beguilingly original condition and accompanied by an expansive history file, but it’s also on the button and ready to be enjoyed. The reference RS200? We certainly think so.
The following documentation accompanies this car:
Ford RS200 owner’s manual
Ford RS200 sales brochure
Ultra-rare Ford RS200 press kit
Ford commercial invoice, 1988
USA import entry summary, 1988
Air waybill, 1988
USA EPA form, 1989
Sales invoice, 1993
Sales invoice, 2002
Insurance identification card, 2003
Bush Telegraph feature, 2010
Australian vehicle import approval, 2011
Dutton Motorsport invoices for mechanical restoration
Copy of 1988 Ford RS200 service parts
Copy of FIA homologation papers
Copy of Ford Motorsport price list, 1991
Girardo & Co. History report
Girardo & Co. History file
Price: £250,000 (GBP)
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