One of Ford’s oddest creations, the RS200, lived a short life in expectation of Group B success. However, the near-stillborn project came a little too late, as the diminutive little Ford had hardly arrived on the scene when the entire series was canned due to rising concerns about safety. The RS200 didn’t fall into anonymity, however, because its potential and the onset of big-budget rallycross helped pump some oxygen into its wilting lungs. As evidenced by the footage here, the little Ford knew how to throw down some seriously quick laps when called upon, and it was no stranger to long, lurid slides.
The quirky RS200 was not only a spiffy looking machine, but it housed an odd drivetrain as well. With the 1.8-liter, turbocharged motor mounted midship, the transmission was hard to integrate with those miniscule overhangs. To help balance the car, the transmission was mounted up front, which would then send power to the center differential, which would allocate power to the front and rear axle via individual driveshafts. Quite a complex procedure. Plus, the differential could use different torque distribution ratios of 37:63, 50:50 or 0:100, depending on the terrain and traction available.
With all the power available, the four wheel-drive traction was very useful. The road car came with a paltry 250 horses, but racing versions were reputed to make closer to 450 ponies, and Liam Doran’s machine — as seen here — is capable of twice that. With that much grunt, it doesn’t seem too challenging to throw the nimble little Ford into fast, snappy drifts, with four wheel-drive pulling the car from its oversteering state, accelerating the car with the rear wheels lit. Nervous, dangerous, flame-spitting, loud and very rapid, this RS200 is a memento from a bygone era when excess was what mattered.