As revealed recently, Ken Block's latest toy is no less than Ford's very own Group B machine, the Ghia-bodied RS200. What's more, Block's now Ohio-based car is one of the just 24 original Evolution models, another one of which will go under the hammer a week from now . Would you like to race Mr. Block?
Life won't get boring around an RS200, that's for sure. The child of European Motorsports boss Stuart Turner, this car was Ford UK's purpose-built Group B prototype.
Engineered by the team led by John Wheeler, the project started in 1983, with the plan including 200 road cars for homologation purposes. Tony Southgate's initial design turned into a mid-engined four-wheel drive coupé powered by a 1.8 Cosworth BDS engine. It was tuned to produce 250 horsepower for the road, and up to 500 in rally tune. The styling was done by Ghia, with the production fiberglass and Kevlar bodies produced at Newport Pagnell, at Aston Martin's Tickford plant. The job of assembly landed at Reliant.
As , the RS200 was first publicly displayed in 1984 and homologated in February 1986 after the required 200 examples had been built. Its first World Championship event was that year's Swedish Rally where the car driven by Kalle Grundel finished 3rd overall. Following that, the RS200 went on to achieve a total of 19 wins and 32 international podium finishes before the year's end, securing several national championships along the way.
Sadly, the next chapter included the end of Group B, followed by Ford stripping down some 120 RS200 and rebuilding them as road-going supercars. The car in question here is one of the later 'Evolution' models, intended for the 1987 season and equipped with the much more powerful 2,137cc version of the BDT engine. Developed around a new, thicker-walled cylinder block by British engineer, Brian Hart, this larger engine could only be accommodated by modifying the chassis and firewall.
In accordance with the rules, Ford wanted to build an extra 20 Evolution cars, but with Group B cancelled, the Evos had to came out of the original 200 run. After the first twenty, another four were built, bringing the total number to 24. In late 1986, one of these cars was used by Stig Blomqvist for a Guinness World Record run, setting a 0-60mph time of 3.07 seconds. The record stood for 12 years.
This car, chassis number '00105' was sold by Ford's Competitions Department at Boreham on 30th April 1987 to Mikal Nordstrom, who used it for hill climbs and rally-cross before the car got restored to original spec. Except for the engine, which was built by Geoff Page Racing, and produces over 600 horsepower, being connected to a race gearbox.
Bonhams expects this wonder to fetch between $240,000 - 320,000. We wouldn't be surprised to see it go higher.
Other gems worth noting include , , a lovely , the always desirable , and for not much money.