Think back and remember all the greatest supercars; the McLaren F1, the original Koeniggsegg, Ferrari F40 and F50, the Saleen S7 and so on. Now think of how quickly they can reach 60mph; blistering fast, most in the low 3-4 second range. Of all these cars and of all the supercars that you could get, which do you suppose held the title for fastest 0-60 for the longest amount of time? McLaren? Ferrari? Nope, none of those. In fact the longest title for 0-60 was actually held by a Ford. This one to be specific.
This is an RS200 Evolution, it is a homologated road car that was meant to race in WRC’s Group B era. You probably know it from when the series had cars going close to 165mph over dirt, snow, gravel, and ice. During the same period that saw countless spectators and drivers killed because of the insanity of these cars. But the RS200 Evolution stands out from the crowd because while homologation rules require the manufacturer to build a road going version, the rules don’t really specify how similar you need to make it to the road going version.
Most manufacturers will detune the rally engines to be more compliant on the street by reducing suspension travel and a whole host of other things to make the car actually drivable. Look at Audi’s Quattro, both the rally car version and the consumer car had similar layouts and the same type of engine, but that’s where the similarity stopped. Ford decided that having “just” similarities was a stupid idea with the RS200 and gave the road version the whole bhp from the rally car with added interior. All 580bhp where put into this car. Let that sink in for a moment. 580bhp from a 2.1l inline 4 cylinder running 23 pounds of boost! That coupled with the low weight of 2300lbs and AWD, make this car an absolute animal. Take a look at some of these figures.
Aspiration: Garrett Turbocharger
Valvetrain: DOHC, 4 Valves per CYL
Power: 432.5 kw / 580 bhp @ 8000 rpm, 491.53 bhp per ton
Torque: 400lb ft@5500rpm
One of my favorite stats is the tire widths. 225/50’s on all four corners. They aren’t massive Veyron tires, or anything you would think would have the ability to hook up all that power. They are practically Corolla tires. It’s ridiculous. It had a full double wishbone suspension in both front and rear, and was mounted to the front and rear steel sub frames that attached to the aluminum chassis.
The rally and consumer car were co-developed by Ford and Cosworth as a mid-engine rally rocket ship. They saw how fast and how well a Formula 1 car handled and accelerated, so they tried to figure out how to build a rally car in the same way. What Ford did next was create Frankenstein’s monster and then sold it to the general public. They took the very mundane road going Escort and threw away everything that actually made it a consumer car, and then replaced all of it with go-faster bits. They called the FiA and told them this is the consumer car, because it had a glove box, and were done with it. It was literally a rally car with some interior pieces in it. Ford built a total of 200 road legal cars and only 24 were converted to the Evolution spec. And. It. Was. Glorious. However, Ford didn’t realize what they had done with this car until a bit later.
1986, in comes some bloke named Stig Blomvist, if you don’t know who he is go to YouTube immediately, I will wait.Back? Amazed? Yeah, he’s that awesome.
Stig decided to set 0-60 times in the RS200 Evolution. He set the fastest 0-60 time of any road car for the next 12yrs. 3.07seconds. In 1986. In a homologated rally car. From Ford. The same company that brought you this in the same year.
If none of this is making your heart race, you are either dead, or insane. And usually the insane people get this rally. That’s why I love this car. It is absolutely the most ridiculous car ever made.
Take into account just the engine, or the low weight, or even the unbelievably short wheelbase, which comes out to be 99”! It’s a car of improbable numbers. For 12yrs it was the fastest from 0-60; beating out Ferrari, McLaren, and all the rest. Some say it could have gone faster, that Stig was actually short shifting it to save the transmission on the day Guinness was there. When turned up, the fastest Evolution’s got to 60 in 2.1 seconds. That’s amazing even by today’s hypercar standards. It all comes down to the fact that I need one of these cars immediately. I may not fit due to my height, but I couldn’t care less. This is a legend.