About the Ford RS 200

In 1982 Ford needed to homologate
200 cars to enter Group B rallying.
The RS200 was conceived, designed
by John Wheeler and Ex F1 designer
Tony Southgate with no compromise.

In 1982 Ford needed to homologate 200 cars to enter rallying's Group "B", their previous attempt (the RS 1700T) had failed miserably. So the RS 200 was built purely for motorsport. Tony Southgate and John Wheeler (Ford F1 designers) both submitted ideas for the car although the original RS200 chassis came almost completely from Tony Southgate. However before unveiling at the 1984 Turin Motorshow, the car had been fully redesigned by John Wheeler and his team. Exactly 200 cars were built in total (6 prototypes) at the Reliant Shenstone (Staffordshire) factory. The car was a clean sheet design four wheel drive two seater coupe (the styling was by Ghia) and used hi-tech materials, however some parts (such as the doors, wing mirrors, and window glass) were sourced from other Ford cars, for example the rear tail lights came from a Sierra. The RS200's GRP bodywork was manufactured by Reliant (famous for the Robin/Kitten 3/4 wheeler as well as the Scimitar) who had great experience in fibre-glass mouldings, unlike Ford. Reliant also influenced some RS200 design points. The car had a complex (in what it did) yet simple (in the way it went about it) transmission from FF developments. It had 3 different torque splits: fully rear wheel drive (for fast tarmac stages), 63:37 (rear bias for multipurpose use), and 50:50 (for when the going got tough). The torque split could be selected on the move, ie without stopping. However this feature was disabled on many road cars. The car also had three viscous couplings to put the power down where it was needed. The engines were Cosworth BDT units left over from the RS1700T, but bored out to 1804cc to get around certain regulations (FISA allowed an increase 16.7% increase in capacity for evolution engines which took the BDT to 2.1 litres, conveniently at the RS 200's class capacity limit). In standard specification the engines were ridiculously under stressed for reliability ("only" 250 horses) although more powerful motors were available for order. When FISA banned Group B Ford was in trouble. The RS200s that had been made were not only of full rally spec but were also poorly put together as they were made in a rush to get to meet homologation date. Although normally these cars could have been sold off to other rally teams this was obviously no longer an option. The 10 million pumped into the RS200 project had to be recouped somehow so some cars were stripped down for parts and the other cars were properly rebuilt and re-trimmed as a luxury car. These cars were gradually sold off over the next five or so years to wealthy buyers. FISA would allow special "Evolution" models of cars as long as their production run was not less than 10% of the original model. For this reason Ford built 24 of the RS200s to evolution spec. This meant all round improvements to brakes, suspension etc, and a 2.1 litre 550 bhp BDT-E engine which had been specially tuned by Hart Motorsport. However several RS200s have been upgraded to evolution spec since. Of the 144 RS200s that left the factory only about 90 cars are thought to exists, and very few in standard 250bhp specification. 90 cars were road cars, 29 were rally cars, 24 were of evolution spec, and one was a special IMSA GTO version. A large proportion of the cars were left hand drive (92 in total). 67 cars were sold to British buyers, 26 to the USA, 9 to Germany, 2 to Canada, 2 or 3 to each EEC country, 12 to Japan, 1 to Jordan and 1 to Guatemala.

Body panels Supply-Repair

Ford, or rather Reliant made four
sets of moulds for the RS200.
Of these several were seriously
damaged in a fire at Shenstone.
We own the most complete set.

Purchased back in 2001 from a kit-car maker who had been using them to make replica's using of all things the Austin Maestro as the base donor car. The moulds needed minor repair before they could be used. We are also lucky to have not only all the exterior body moulds but the entire interior, sub assemblies and rare evolution only panels. Added to this is all the original trim and installation jigs making this the most complete and original set left in the world.

We have, over the years, made many body panel sets for various applications. We have learnt the best techniques to produce panels designed for the purpose they are to be used for, whether it be an original specification road car, works rally car or rally cross special. we also repair accident damaged original panels for owners wishing to keep complete originality.

Available panels.

Exterior panels:

Front Bumper.
Works Front Bumper.
Front Bumper Insert.
Bonnet inner stiffener.
Radiator ducting panel.
Front inner arch shields.
Main body tub including
Standard and Evo firewalls.
A panels.
Door and door inners.
Main rear body section.
Intercooler top cover.
Evolution inter-cooler "Ears".
Rear inner arch liners.

Inner and special panels:

Heater box upper and lower panels.
Dashboard LHD and RHD.
Dashboard Binnacle surround.
Glove-box blanking panel.
Dashboard outer air vent covers.
Dashboard centre switch panel.
Drop-box standard blanking panel.
Drop box Evolution blanking panel.
Air filter top cover.
Main body tub fittings jig.
B post trim and fitting jig.
Scuttle trim and fitting jigs.

Interior and Plastic parts:

Glove box plastic liner.
Roof lining/headlining.
Door card trims. Roof map light surround.
LHD and RHD drivers side carpet.
LHD and RHD passenger side carpet.
Centre tunnel carpet.
Firewall upper carpet.
Firewall centre carpet.
Firewall lower carpet.
Firewall window surround carpet.
Sill main carpets.
Sill to A panel filler carpet.
A panel carpets.

Chassis Repair-Replace

Engine and Alloy wheel bespoke
Design and CNC Manufacture.
Autoclave and Rapid Prototyping.
Laser Scanning-Reverse Engineering
Aero Dynamic Design and Testing.

The Ford RS 200 chassis consists of a main central tub constructed from Aluminium cored Aluminium skinned panels. combined with a composite Kevlar and carbon fibre transmission tunnel. Originally the chassis was made by cutting the separate Aluminium skins and bonding the central core under a heavy steam press. We now manufacture individual repair panels from pre-bonded 2.4m by 1.2m panels which are CNC cut to the required shape. Full Chassis can be supplied, but most communally we replace the two main floor sections and the fuel tank side panels as most have over the years become separated from the core material.

Additionally to the main central tub there are a front and rear lower subframe. these are made from steel and carry the lower suspension mounts, battery, oil cooler, radiator and rear diff mountings. We manufacture these as complete replacement sections only and recommend that we fit them to your chassis.

Added to the main tub and the front and rear lower subframes are a complex series of tubular links and stiffeners, the Roll cage and upper inter connecting tubes. We have patterns for all these tubes and stiffeners.

Ford RS200 Chassis, Body and Interior - scroll across for more pictures

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