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A 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution heads to auction, one of only 24 ever built A significant piece of Ford Racing history could be yours! Hemmings Daily is reporting that one of only 24 1986 Ford RS200 Evolutions ever built will be coming up for sale at the Gooding and Company auction this August. Ford built 146 RS200 models before the FIA pulled the plug on Group B rallying, and of these, just 24 were converted by the factory into higher- performance Evolution trim. Able to run with (and often, leave behind) more prestigious and expensive supercars of the day, the RS200 Evolution remains a sought-after collectible among Ford performance enthusiasts, especially those with a passion for WRC history.  In August, chassis 106, a 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution and one of the original 20 cars upgraded by Ford, heads to auction in Pebble Beach. Looking for a competitive edge in the FIA’s fearsome Group B rally class, Ford Motorsport  started with a clean sheet of paper to design the RS200.  With an engine amidships and power sent to all four wheels, the RS200 could have been a contender for Group B dominance, even against the Audi Sport Quattro S1 and the Lancia Delta S4. In homologation form, the 1.8-liter turbocharged four was rated at 450 horsepower in race trim, while the diminutive car’s plastic and fiberglass body (designed by Ghia) helped keep weight to around 2,300 pounds. The RS200 made its debut appearance at the 36th International Swedish Rally, the second race of the 1986 season. Driver Kalle Grundel and co-driver Terry Harryman delivered a podium finish, but that proved to be the sole highlight of the car’s 1986 season (and, in fact, its Group B career). At the next event, Rally de Portugal, Ford factory driver Joaquim Santos lost control of his RS200 in a corner, killing three spectators and injuring over 30 more. The incident prompted factory teams to withdraw from the race, but more significantly, it signaled the beginning of the end of Group B, which would be phased out at the end of the 1986 season. The cars had proven to be too fast to be safe. That left Ford with ample RS200s under construction, along with parts and plans to build the higher-performance Evolution variants. Originally, late production chassis numbers 201-220 were to have been built in Evolution trim, but the demise of Group B forced Ford to pull assembled RS200s from the warehouse for conversion. Instead of sequential chassis numbers, Ford used chassis 012, 070, 071, 081, 083, 084, 086, 087, 096, 097, 098, 099, 101, 105, 106, 145, 146, 153, 168 and 174 in constructing the first 20 Evolution models; later, chassis 020, 089, 161 and 182 would be converted to Evolution specifications as well, and these cars are often referred to as “E2″ models. Evolution models received a 2.1-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at a minimum of 600 horsepower in “stock” trim, though the use of larger turbos, bigger intercoolers, a variable-boost controller and updated tuning could produce outputs as high as 900 horsepower. Torque could be split three different ways, including 100-percent rear; 63-percent rear and 37-percent front; and 50:50, depending upon road conditions and driver preference.  Performance of Evolution models, even in stock form, was impressive, with the run from 0-60 MPH taking just three seconds and the run from 0-100 MPH taking a mere five.  Chassis 106 was delivered to its first owner, Californian Frank Profera, in May of 1989.  Meant as both a track car and a street car, the Evolution received a full interior and power steering, a feature exceptionally rare on RS200s.  Unsatisfied with the car’s racing-spec AP brakes in street driving, Profera reportedly had special brake pads developed that could stand up to the rigors of track use, while still providing adequate stopping power when cold. Though documentation is spotty, chassis 106 is said to have turned a lap time of 1:17 at California’s Willow Springs, making it over one and a half seconds quicker around the course than the IMSA GTO lap record. Chassis 106 later crossed the Atlantic, passing through a few owners in Great Britain.  In 2005, the car sold at a U.K. auction for the bargain price of £54,000 (then the equivalent of $97,725), against a pre-auction estimate of £75,000 ($135,729), and somewhere along the line the car’s color was changed from yellow to white.  As of 2009, chassis 206 was back in North America, reportedly owned by a Canadian enthusiast. Gooding & Company is predicting a selling price between $500,000 and $750,000 when the car crosses the stage at Pebble Beach this August.
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