Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rare La Carrera Panamericana Race On E-Bay

The car is a rare Ford RS200 which Ford built a required total of 200 homologation versions that were sold during its run from 1984 through 1986. Two disastrous crashes during the 86 season ended it all. It had a turbocharged, 1.8-liter inline four putting out a conservative 250 hp to all four wheels.

This particular example is #135 and was purchased from Robert Sutherland (according to the seller, the lone importer of the RS200 to the States) after it competed in the La Carrera Panamerica in 1986. It's a gorgeous yet subdued gray over red with a few minor blemishes and a host of options, but the only bits that matter are the mid-mounted turbo'd four-pot, front-mounted transmission and its ability to dominate on nearly any terrain on the planet. And if you're willing to risk tinkering with the two-decade old mill, 450+ hp can be yours with minimal modifications. The bidding begins at a ridiculously low $2,500 (expect this to climb... quickly) and, located in Lake Arrowhead, CA, it's one of the few examples left in the U.S. Bid early and bid often. We're pooling our pocket change now.

EDIT: When I just now checked E-Bay the bidding was up to $31,000.

The B200 was tested at MIRA by world famous Jackie Stewart and a number of rally drivers before its announcement. Stig Blomquist went on to use the RS200 to great effect in rallycross and at the Pikes Peak hill climb, and won the Swedish Hillclimb championship.

Then the beginning of the end...

In the rally of Portugal (March, 1986), Portuguese national champion Joaquim Santos crested a rise to find the road blocked with spectators crowding to see the fastest cars come through. Trying to stop, he lost control of his RS200. Thirty-one people were injured and four were killed. In Holland (October, 1986), a Ford RS 200 crashed into a tree and the co-driver died. After these events and the fiery death of Henri Toivenen in the Lancia S4 Group B car, the manufacturers and regulatory bodies got very windy about Group B rally cars. Some pulled out straight away, and others were forced to when the FIA banned these powerful supercars.

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