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Thursday 2nd February 2012

Chris Harris video: Sport Quattro vs. RS200

Road going Group B legends head to head with Harris at the wheel



It would seem the best way to drive the cars of your dreams is to write the immortal words ‘I have never driven’ and some kind person will emerge and alter the situation.

I did this in reference to a Spotted piece about an Audi Sport Quattro a few weeks back. Luckily Andrew Donaldson of Oakfields, who is selling the gorgeous machine in question, was reading and sprang into action.

Sport Quattro discovered in a Spotted piece
Sport Quattro discovered in a Spotted piece
Now I do not have an especially large list of friends-with-a-Group-B-car, but I did want to add a little context to the Sport Quattro by adding something else from rallying’s finest hour, so I phoned a man at Ford. He’s called Paul Wilson and has a reputation of conjuring miracles. He said that Ford still owned an RS200 and that I was welcome to use it to compare with a Sport Quattro. At this point thoughts turned to collecting every Group B car together for one vast celebration – they then receded quickly as the enormity of such a task sank in. Although at this point I should  like to mention that I do know where an example the rarest of the rare, the Citroen BX 4TC, currently lives. I wonder what the collective noun for Group B cars should be? A mate suggested ‘tumescence’, which I thought wasn’t bad.

As for the cars: remarkable, both of them. The RS200 as a single-purpose prototype built by the company that, at the time, made the Mk3 Escort; the Sport Quattro as a surprisingly polished road car intended, with some big wings, to stop Peugeot and Lancia winning the whole time.

RS200 is an acquired taste
RS200 is an acquired taste
The RS200 is horrid at low speed. The transmission winds itself up, it needs great pushes of throttle to get it off the line and the motor is gruff. But set it moving and it suddenly feels light and agile. It was designed to change direction. Unsurprisingly, it wants to do this the whole time.

The Quattro couldn’t be more different. Faster, more finished, more like a road car, I was completely taken with it. Before driving the thing it was in my all-time top 10, now it’s climbed even further up that imaginary list. And it looks so damn cool in the raw. The green paint has sunk into the Kevlar’s grooves over the years, and it even has the original, optional harness belts, which clip into extra buckles already attached to the seats, in the boot. It has turbo lag, it porpoises under power, it feels lazy after the Ford. But I could easily imagine driving it to Geneva and back. In the RS200, you’d need a lobotomy to attempt something similar.

"Be careful, it's worth a fortune..."
"Be careful, it's worth a fortune..."
Ultimately, these were the two great failures of Group B: one delayed and almost obsolete when it did arrive, the other battling a mechanical layout demanded by the marketing department, but which could never really compete with mid-engined prototypes. Perversely, that makes them the two most interesting of the type to me 25 years later.

And to finish: “I have never driven a McLaren M8F”.

Enjoy the video.


Chris Harris
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Author Discussion

P4ROT

Original Poster:

1,037 posts

79 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Great stuff- I was born in 89 so wasn't around for any of this sadly. However, they're still two very desirable cars to me- which I think says a lot!

Hellbound

2,246 posts

62 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Fantabulous!

jimslops

6,419 posts

40 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Thank you. Wonderful way to begin my Thursday. Very informative and lovely mix of detail and everything else.

Gruber

5,163 posts

100 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
jimslops said:
Thank you. Wonderful way to begin my Thursday. Very informative and lovely mix of detail and everything else.
Exactly this.

I'm now late for work, but it was worth it. More please.


chandrew

310 posts

95 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Really, really great video. Will be watching for some time.

I saw a Sport Quattro on the road last year (covered in period logos) followed a couple of km down the road by a 2.7 RS. Must have been off to an event together. Spent quite some time explaining to my 5 year old why these were two of the most special cars of all time.
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rallycross

5,871 posts

123 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Superb clip. Have not seen one of his videos before but really enjoyed that and will be looking out for some more - brilliant!

jimslops

6,419 posts

40 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
rallycross said:
Superb clip. Have not seen one of his videos before but really enjoyed that and will be looking out for some more - brilliant!
He has another very good one on the drive channel using a Merc and skinny tyres smile

Rawwr

14,500 posts

120 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
The RS200 is definitely on the 'drive before I die' list. Uncannily, it's also on my 'die whilst driving' list.

Ved

2,904 posts

61 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Lovely stuff, Chris

iain a

299 posts

113 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
I was spectating on the RS200's first compatative outing.. the Centurion Rally in Northumberland. Loved it then and still think they are great. Pity Ford never made much use of the shape.. Maybe as a 2WD replacement for the Capri??

s m

10,428 posts

89 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Great video Chris!

At least you didn't do a 'Green'! wink

goron59

394 posts

57 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Lovely piece. Lovely motors. Thanks!

jason s4

2,831 posts

56 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Superb!

Thanks.thumbup

paulmon

721 posts

127 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
There was a small garage near Wigan that had an RS200 in the showroom. I used to go out of my way on a regular basis to go an oogle it through the window. I was a teenager at the time and to me it was pure automotive pornography. The mists of time maybe cloudy but I'm sure the price on the window was close to £100K which in the mid/late 80's was an extraordinary amount of money for a car.

P

timskipper

1,219 posts

152 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Is it just me or is the sound very quiet on that video? Great watch though, as usual.

GroundEffect

8,008 posts

42 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Chris, one of your best ever videos.

Well done.

Owlwood

131 posts

42 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Another great vid from Chris, keep it up!

I could of watched a lot more of those cars being driven around. Appreciate you probably arent allowed to rag them about, given that they are essentially museum pieces.

Dave Hedgehog

7,270 posts

90 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Im in love, proper cars biggrin

MagicalTrevor

5,388 posts

115 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
I guess Chris didn't get a new jumper for Christmas wink

hulken

1 posts

164 months

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Thursday 2nd February 2012 quote quote all
Great cars, great video! Thank you smile
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