Ford imagines RS200 electric car for ‘secret projects’ book

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Ford’s European design team redraws iconic RS200 as an electric car for inclusion in book on firm’s ‘skunkworks’ projects.

One of the most iconic Ford models of the past 40 years, the RS200, has been reimagined by the company’s European design team to tie in with a new book revealing some of the company’s most secret projects.

Mid-engined, four-wheel drive and turbocharged, the RS200 was conceived as Ford’s rally challenger for the all-conquering Audi Quattro. But the radical-looking creation was launched relatively late in the life of the spectacular Group B era, and it contested only a handful of WRC rounds in 1986 before the category was banned. Just 200 examples were produced, to comply with homologation requirements.

Earlier this year Ford’s European design boss, Amko Leenarts, asked his team members to submit their vision for how a modern, all-electric RS200 could look. A number of concept drawings feature in the latest book from motor industry insider Steve Saxty, and one of the entries, seen here, features on the design department’s 2021 Christmas card.

The Vision RS2.00 is a dramatic-looking vehicle with clear influences from the original car, notably the round headlights and round lower foglights. Its designer, former Kia man Michael Barthly, says he created the car “to respect the RS200’s DNA but with a futuristic twist”. It’s envisaged as a vehicle that could be chosen and driven in a computer game, much as the Extreme P1 that Ford officially released in 2020.

As such, the design features ‘holographic’, slightly bitmapped Hella foglights in the front bumper, as well as an ‘audio blade’ in the bonnet that creates noise as the air rushes through it. The spoiler, whose presence in the side profile is perhaps the strongest nod to the original Ghia-designed vehicle, incorporates a wraparound tail-light, and there are cooling slats in the rear bodywork. The car carries a modified version of Ford’s mid-eighties motorsport livery.

“Because the original is so strongly linked to its era,” Barthly said, “I thought it was important to imagine a new car that could become an icon for future generations. The Vision RS2.00 plays with the RS200’s pedigree, while offering twists to make it a digital racer that a new generation of race car lovers would find efficient and entertaining to play with.”

Automotive Daily understands that there are absolutely no plans within Ford to revisit a vehicle like the RS200 in production guise, and that while the design exercise was officially sanctioned, this occurred purely as a contribution to a special ‘RS edition’ of Saxty’s latest book, Secret Fords Volume Two.

The latest title also includes a detailed history of Ford’s planned Ferrari rival, plus exhaustive, never-before-seen galleries of a number of projects that were ultimately canned before reaching production. It is available in a variety of editions, including the special RS version at stevesaxty.com, alongside limited quantities of Volume One.

John McIlroy

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