Richard David Nener
The RS200 was a pure two-seater, mid-engined, four-wheel drive car designed for Group B rally competition, to compete with the MG Metro 6R4 and Lancia 037. The car was conceived in 1983 as a collaboration between Ford and Reliant. It turned out to be a very expensive one for Ford, which invested over £10m in producing the RS200.
The vehicle shell was designed by Ghia in Italy, working closely with the Ford Motorsport design team. The chassis was designed by former Formula 1 designer Tony Southgate, and car was constructed using a steel platform with a monocoque centre section bonded and riveted onto it. Three tubular steel subframes were bolted onto the platform forming a chassis.
Although as the name suggests 200 cars were to be produced, it is thought that far fewer (about 144) actually left the Reliant production line at Shenstone. Of the cars produced 90 were road cars, 29 rally cars and 24 were of evolution spec, and one was a special GTO version.
The road cars were detuned for sale to the public and trimmed by Tickford to provide increased levels of comfort. These cars featured Sparco seats in red or black, with a leather trimmed XR3i steering wheel and a full stereo system. The road car also had fitted carpets and door inserts. Left and right hand drive cars were produced.
The engine was based on the RS1700T’s, which was still in development at the time. The 1.8 -litre 16 valve DOHC engine was longitudinally mounted at the rear of the car and coupled with a hybrid TO3/4 Garrett turbo and developed 250bhp. This was somewhat less than the rally version, which developed 380-450bhp. Top speed was still 142mph and the 0-60 time was about 5.2 seconds. The RS200 had a list price of £50,000.