1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Exam Drive: Rally Close to This

Ford GT Complete Overview

The Ford GT40 and two Ford GT products usually are not the only mid-motor supercars the Blue Oval has produced. Ford of Europe designed the RS200, often forgotten on this aspect of the pond, in the United Kingdom for just two brief decades. It is an exceedingly unusual legend in its individual proper, and I a short while ago had the opportunity to push 1.

What Is the 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution?

Despite the fact that the formulation for the GT40 and its successors has remained rather constant—mid-mounted engine in a V-configuration (V-8 for the GT40, supercharged V-8 for the to start with GT, and twin-turbo V-6 for the most latest GT), rear-push, and a aim on street-racing—the RS200 broke from the mildew. Ford of Europe crafted the auto to compete in Group B rallying against the likes of the Audi Quattro, Lancia 037 and Delta, and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. Significantly like the GT40 and afterwards the GT at Le Mans, the RS200 aimed to be the pinnacle of the minimally controlled rally collection.

Its light-weight Ghia-styled fiberglass clamshells protected a one of a kind system built by ex-System 1 engineers, and a mid-mounted turbocharged I-4 was developed jointly with Ford partner Cosworth. Early variations displaced 1.8 liters and created close to 250 hp. Later autos this kind of as the 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution I’m about to strap into (courtesy of Stratas Auctions, wherever it is really for sale), experienced a 2.1-liter model building about 600 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. All that electric power was routed via a sophisticated system of propeller shafts and driveshafts to a front-mounted 5-pace guide transmission, and then out to all 4 wheels by means of a transfer situation with two modes: rear-wheel drive for tarmac, and all-wheel travel for gravel. In other terms, it’s fairly considerably a reverse, handbook Nissan GT-R.

Why Group B Mattered for Roadgoing Hypercars

The fundamental premise of Group B procedures was that each individual motor vehicle experienced to seat two occupants side by aspect in an enclosed cabin, and each maker experienced to homologate (market) 200 models for the product to be viewed as a generation auto. If you preferred to make a modification or “Evolution,” a even further 25 production autos with the modifications had been demanded. This led to an period where by automakers were being locked in an arms race of including horsepower, dropping body weight, and coming up with novel engineering methods in an energy to earn rallies.

Driving the 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution

The 1986 Ford RS200’s reputation precedes it. Confident, it’s not considerably to look at—some fiberglass clamshells, doorways from a Ford Sierra, and dorky headlights—but from everything I would heard, it was a nightmare to travel on the street, with a finicky clutch, quirky gearbox, significant steering, and peaky engine. And it failed to enable to then listen to how Stratas put an early halt to the former RS200 test push by a journalist, because of to too much stalling and about-revving.

I just about failed to want to travel it. Not only was there the possibility the auto would someway disappoint—the stating “never ever fulfill your heroes” is precise sometimes—but there was also the opportunity I could permit the motor vehicle down.

Even so, I squeezed into the charmingly reduced-hire inside (one particular that should to make Merkur XR4Ti entrepreneurs sense right at household) and plopped into the significant-back bucket seat. The 2.1-liter turbo-4 fired proper up, generating a incredible racket before settling into a lower, imply burble accented by the whirring and whining of the gears and shafts crisscrossing the underbody.

The Ford RS200 is an undeniably challenging auto to get shifting. Developed for racing, the clutch is heavy, with its chunk position about a third of an inch long and just towards the best of the Jeep-like pedal travel.

The very first a few or four stalls were not encouraging. The up coming 6 or seven were not, either.

Ultimately, I acquired it. A rapid blip of the throttle helps the dog-ring guide shifter slide into initial. Feather the clutch little by little and breathe on the throttle, and, if finished correctly, you are off. Once going previously mentioned single-digit speeds and prior to the turbo improve hits around 4,000 rpm, the RS200 is a amazingly effortless car to drive. The motor, even when working off-boost, is responsive, and the gearbox has short, exact throws that are an absolute address to ram dwelling into gear. Nonetheless, you need to have to be guaranteed to execute your heel-toe downshifts properly, or else you’ll hear the indignant sound of gear-on-gear motion.

Mat the gas and dangle on as the tach swings north past 4,000 rpm and the massive turbo has a probability to spool up, and the 1986 Ford RS200 is an complete laugh riot. Like a fighter jet hitting the afterburner, or the Millennium Falcon leaping into hyperspace, the feeling of velocity will increase exponentially as the automobile squats down on its haunches. The engine and drivetrain vibrations strike you in the upper body, and the planet outside your window turns into a blur of lights and sluggish motor vehicle-formed objects. Accelerating hard in the RS200 Evo is like almost nothing else I have expert in an inner-combustion-driven auto. A Porsche 911 Turbo S arrives close, but it lacks the gritty, uncooked, mechanical resonance of the very little Ford.

The RS200 Evo’s electricity shipping and delivery isn’t always stunning, as its 600 horses need to have to transfer just a lot more than 2,600 kilos or so, supplying it a pounds-to-energy ratio of 4.3 pounds for each horsepower. What does come as a shock is how properly it rides. Most ’80s-era mid-engine supercars,  like the Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari Testarossa, are rather stiffly sprung. But the RS200 exhibits its rally roots with the two its phenomenally swift non-boosted steering and its remarkable trip top quality. Railroad tracks, drainage ditches, and growth joints all dissipate without punishing the driver or upsetting the car—exactly what you would want on a rally stage.

How Considerably Does a 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Cost Currently?

Handing the Ford RS200 Evo’s keys back to Stratas was not effortless. Throughout the RS200’s small 1984-86 output operate, Ford made just 200 illustrations, in addition another 24 RS200 Evolutions, the latter of which ended up supposed to compete in the canceled 1987 Team B time. As this kind of, they are high priced right now Stratas expects this particular vehicle to sell for about $500,000.

Truthfully, it would seem like a cut price. Even with the RS200’s (perhaps deserved) name as a agony in the ass to operate, it can be the rare classic supercar that is very well sorted, pleasant to travel, and able of hanging with (and uncomfortable) fashionable efficiency vehicles. Ford’s GTs are deserved legends in their personal suitable, but they’re certainly not on your own.

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