There are cars that are reflective of their time period, and then there are cars that defined it. The beautiful-to-look-at and fearsome-to-drive Ford RS200 is certainly one of the latter.
In the mid-1980s, Ford returned to the World Rally Championship with the aim of dethroning the reigning Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205 T16 titans of Group B rallying. Its weapon of choice would be the clean-sheet RS200, a specially-design car with four-wheel drive and tremendous turbocharged speed.
A series of fatal accidents would prematurely close the door on Group B forever, just as the Ford RS200 was making its racing debut, nevertheless its story still remains intertwined with the golden era of rally racing. And this car—a special 1985 “Evolution” version—is one of just 24 RS200s built, and on March 12 it will cross the RM Sotheby’s auction block in Amelia Island, Florida, expected to sell for between $475,000 and $675,000.
In order to go racing, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) required that constructors build 200 road-going examples of their Group B race cars, which gave a lucky few quite the daily driver. The Ford RS200 featured a sleek composite fiberglass body styled by Ghia, a tough space frame chassis designed by some of the greatest Formula One minds of the day, and a Cosworth BDT 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which garnered 450 horsepower in race-guise.
In its day, these cars were regarded to be the most balanced of the Group B monsters, as well as the quickest. The Ford RS200 could dash from zero to 60 mph in just over three seconds.
The most feared of the road-legal bunch however were the Evolution models, of which Ford originally planned to build 20, but later produced four extras. These RS200 “Evo” cars were fitted with upgraded suspension, brakes, and a larger 2.1-liter BDT engine, which pumped out an incredible 600 horsepower. Understandably, these were not for the faint of heart.
According to the auction house, this 1985 Ford RS200 Evolution was originally sold to Texas oilman Dennis O’Conner, who reportedly purchased three other base-spec RS200s just to get this one. Imagine that garage! It was imported into the US in 1990 and would remain with his estate until 2010, when it was sold to Steve Rimmer, founder of the DirtFish rally school. In 2014, it was sold again to its current owner in the UK.
With less than 280 miles to its name, this is likely one of the world’s most unused and original Ford RS200 Evolutions, and it should have no problem cracking into the upper part of its $675,000 estimate.