- Engine Bay
- Trunk Area
- Chassis # SFACXXBJCGL00080
- Ken Block's Self Described Dream Car
- Number 80 Of Only 200 Produced To Meet Group B Homologation Requirements
- Upgraded To Evolution Specifications
- Custom Crafted To Ken's Specifications By Hoonigan Racing
- 2.1 Liter Evolution Spec Turbocharged 4-Cylinder
Affectionately known as Ken Block’s “Dream Car,” this is his Ford RS200. 1 of 200 homologation specials originally built to compete in the legendary Group B era of the World Rally Championship. Thanks to a heavily modified Evolution variant of the turbocharged, 4 cylinder engine, Ken’s car produces over 700 hp. This personalized example features bespoke interior, paint, forged wheels, and numerous suspension modifications by Hoonigan Racing.
The Group B Era
What happens when the governing body of rally racing removes all the restrictions and gives speed-obsessed teams and drivers free rein to build their cars as they please? Boundaries are pushed, new technologies are born, speeds reach ludicrous levels, and the golden age of rally racing is born. This is the Group B era.
Up until 1983, the two major classes of top-tier rally racing were Group 2 and Group 4. Many of the larger manufacturers competed in Group 4, producing some very noteworthy cars including the Lancia Stratos HF, Ford Escort RS 1800, and the Fiat 131 Abarth. For 1982 the FIA decided to restructure and separate the rally cars of the series into 3 classes: Group N (production cars), Group A (modified production cars), and Group B (modified sports cars). The restrictions for both group N and group A were significantly more strict with cars having to include 4 seats and at least 5000 examples produced to meet homologation requirements among a vast list of other criteria.
When Group B was introduced it relaxed the restrictions almost entirely and gave manufacturers largely free range to build their cars as they saw fit. Some of the only requirements were that the car must contain 2 seats and could not be open top. Homologation restrictions were also relaxed to only having to produce 200 examples, allowing manufacturers to enter the series more easily. Although the FIA had made four-wheel-drive legal in 1979, it wasn’t until the Group B era that we really saw manufacturers openly adopting this technology, thanks in large part to the increases in horsepower that the series saw. The opening up of the series rules meant manufacturers could experiment with things like composite materials, advanced aerodynamics, and new engine technologies like combining a turbocharger and supercharger on the same engine, in the case of Lancia’s Delta S4. Many of these engineering and design breakthroughs would go on to influence road car technology for the manufacturers, providing a lasting legacy of the Group B era. Manufactures and teams went wild with the top-tier cars utilizing advanced aerodynamics and four-wheel-drive systems to try and keep their cars on the road while pushing almost 600 horsepower in some examples. Naturally, this amount of competition and progression led to ludicrous speeds and unfortunately, some serious accidents that inevitably spelled doom for the series after only a short 4-year run.
1986 was the seminal year for Group B rallying for a number of reasons. At this point, most of the manufacturers now had Group B specific cars, including Ford who entered the 86’ season with their all-new RS200. Many of the cars were now pushing well over 500 horsepower, effectively doubling the horsepower of the cars from just a few years ago.This increased power and the highly specialized nature of the cars meant that 1986 saw never before seen speeds on circuits. Unfortunately, these increased speeds led to a number of fatal accidents during the 1986 season that ultimately spelled doom for the Group B series. At the Portugal rally, local driver Joaquim Santos lost control of his RS200 and veered off into the crowd killing 3 spectators and injuring 31 others. Many of the teams pulled out of the remainder of the rally, and Audi effectively cancelled their Group B program after this incident. Only 2 rallies later, at the Tour de Corse, another fatal accident would occur, this time taking the life of Henri Toivonen and co-driver Cresto, when their Lancia Delta S4 went off the side of the road, plunged down a ravine, and erupted in a ball of fire. It is largely thought that this accident, along with a number of previous incidents is what ultimately swayed the FIA’s decision to cancel Group B at the end of the 1986 season. The remainder of the 1986 was embroiled in one controversy after another, but in the end it was Juha Kankkunen behind the wheel of his Peugeot that took home the drivers championship as well as the manufacturers championship. Although 1986 was the final year for Group B, its legacy lives on in both the legend of the drivers and the cars that it helped produce, as well as the technology that facilitated the vehicles. It was a truly impressive time, with fearless drivers and ludicrous machines, both pushing each other to the brink all in the name of speed.
The Birth of the RS200
Like most manufacturers at the time who were competing in rallying on the global stage, Ford saw the introduction of the Group B rally class as a shot at glory and notoriety. Their top tier rally car at the time, the MKIII Escort would simply not keep them competitive in this new class of essentially limitless possibility and it was determined that a new design would be needed. A plastic fiberglass composite body was designed by ghia and wrapped around a lightweight aluminum chassis which was developed by former F1 designer Tony Southgate. A mid-mounted 1.8 liter, single turbocharged Ford-Cosworth BDT straight-4 engine was utilized, which produced about 250 horsepower in road going trim and somewhere between 350 and 450 hp in its racing variant. To help the new RS200 put that power to the ground, a four-wheel drive system was utilized in addition to a double wishbone suspension setup with twin dampers on all four corners. In an effort to save some money on development costs, both the wind screen and the rear tail lights as some as some other pieces were borrowed from the parts bin of the significantly less sporty Ford Sierra. Despite its fantastic handling and weight distribution, the RS200 had some issues staying competitive early on, generally blamed on its power-to-weight ratio and significant amount of turbo lag at low rpms. Although it was first shown to the public in 1984, the RS200 was not officially homologated until the 1986 season.The highlight of the RS200’s 1986 season was when factory driver Kalle Grundel piloted his RS200 to a 3’rd place finish at the 1986 WRC Rally of Sweden. In an attempt to try and make the RS200 more competitive for the 1987 season, Ford underwent development of an “EVO” version of their engine which would displace 2.1 liters and put out well over 500 hp depending on the mechanical setup. However, due the untimely end of the Group B series the 1987 season never took place and the Ford RS200 likely never got to see its true potential on rally stages around the world. 24 of these EVO engines were however later retrofitted to existing cars along with some additional modifications. Some of these updated EVO cars (also known as the Ford RS200 E) even competed in Rallycross with Norwegian Martin Schanche claiming the 1991 European Rallycross title in one.
Had the Group B series been allowed to continue, it is highly likely that with further development the RS200 EVO would have been extremely competitive in the series. In the latter part of 1986 an RS200 EVO driven by Stig Blomqvist managed to set a Guinness World Record 0-60mph time of 3.07 seconds, a feat which stood for an astounding 12 years. In the end Ford produced 200 examples of the mighty RS200 to meet its homologation quota with parts for roughly 20 more examples set aside for their racing teams. Each one of these cars represents the peak of rally racing design and technology for the time, crafted with the sole purpose of being a rally car and built from a clean slate. Even in today’s world of bonkers modern supercars the RS200 remains blisteringly fast and has a special aura that surrounds them that is impossible to replicate. Each of the 200 examples represents a brief window in time when the rules were thrown out, designers and engineers were given the ultimate “go ahead”, and drivers who were crazy enough to step behind the wheel of these machines were exalted as titans of their time.
The example on offer here, chassis SFACXXBJCGL00080 is a 1986 Ford RS200 owned by professional rally racer and youtube sensation, Ken Block. It is one of only 200 ever built and making it even more unique is the fact that it was upgraded to EVO specifications. Not a great deal is known about the early life of this particular RS200 but it is believed to have been sold to its first owner, who resided in Norway, in December of 1987. According to available information, it appears the car was used incredibly sparingly, accruing just 456 kilometers by 2006. It was acquired by Ken in 2017 after he spent years lusting over them and the Group B era of racing as a whole. Once it arrived back in the Hoonigan Racing headquarters, his team set about customizing the car to take Ken’s dream car and personalize it to his style. The cosmetics of the car were updated to match the rest of the Hoonigan Racing fleet with a stealthy gloss black paint job and complimenting matte black vinyl wrap on the exterior. The interior received an update with custom suede throughout the cockpit and deep set Recaro bucket seats with 5 point harnesses. A custom upgraded hand brake was added to the car should Ken need to…get the rear end a little loose! The 2.1 liter EVO spec engine in its current tuning configuration is said to produce 700hp on pump gas and over 800hp on race gas. It is matted to a custom 6-speed sequential gearbox. The suspension was also updated to KW custom coil overs, no small task as you can’t exactly just order custom suspension for an RS200 out of a catalog! The wheels on the car are a set of custom Rotiform wheels finished in white with Toyo Proxes R888R tires.
As it sits today, Ken’s dream car remains in great condition and has been well maintained by the professionals at Hoonigan Racing. Unlike the rest of Ken’s fleet, this RS200 was treated with a bit more special care and saw minimal hooning (which must have been difficult for someone like Ken!) as well as being mostly driven under nice weather conditions. There are some minor imperfections on the exterior in high wear areas, such as some minor rock chipping on the front bumper, as well as some slight bubbling in the matte black wrap in a few spots, but over all the outside of the car presents very well. The interior of the car is likewise relatively clean and tidy thanks in large part to updating it received when it was purchased by Ken.
The opportunity to own a full-fledged Group B rally car for the road is quite special in itself but when you add in the fact that it was owned by a professional rally driver and the original hoonigan himself, the importance of this car cannot be overstated! This is the ultimate chance to live out a special era of rally racing history from the very seat that Ken Block himself has enjoyed for years.
body and paint
When it arrived to our facility in Pontiac Michigan, the RS200 was treated to an extensive detail by the professionals at Finishing Touch Auto Spa leaving it fantastic looking condition. The gloss black paint is smooth and consistent throughout and the matte black vinyl wrap remains tight smooth. There is a small area of scuffing in the wrap behind the drivers side front wheel well and a small scrape in the wrap on the front bumper where the hood meets the edge line. Overall the body retains good panel fitment and appears straight and clean.
glass and trim
The headlights lenses are clean and clear with no chipping. The rear taillight lenses have some light scratching but are otherwise in good order. The Hella branded Rallye 1000 lights tucked into the front bumper are in good condition. Rubber trim and gaskets appear to be all in good order. The rear engine bay cover, which is made of a clear plastic, has some minor pitting and scratching around the edges but retains good fitment and clarity.
Ken’s RS200 wears a custom set of Rotiform wheels finished in a glossy white and emblazoned with his trademark 43 numbering. All 4 wheels appear in relatively like new condition.
seats and surfaces
The interior of the car was refinished in a custom gray alcantara and remains in excellent condition throughout. A set of deeply bolstered Recaro race seats were fitted along with 4 point Williams harnesses both of which look essentially new. The carpets and headliner remain well fitting and show minimal signs of wear. There is some wear on the door seals on both sides of the cabin and some cracking paint is present in the jams.
functionality and accessories
The gauges all appear clean, clear, and easily legible. They all appear to work as they should with the exception of the odometer which currently reads 000000. The doors open and close as they should and the manual window winders bring the windows up and down albeit with a bit of hesitation likely due to misaligned window tracks. An upgraded custom shifter is housed between the two seats with a custom fabricated housing finished in matching carpet. The 4 point Williams harnesses are valid through 2022.
engine bay and trunk
The professionals at Hoonigan Racing were responsible for the upkeep on this RS200 and it shows in the nice well presenting nature of the engine bay. The engine bay appears well looked after and shows no signs of cosmetic or mechanical issues. Hoses, tubes, and wiring appear in good order and all metal surfaces appear clean and free of issue.
The front trunk area houses the battery as well as some mechanical components. This area also appears well looked after and shows no signs of any issues, cosmetic or mechanical.