How many RS200’s exist today?
An assumption would be “less than the original quantity sold” because, as you will read in the chassis number database , some have met grizzly ends so you would guess less that maybe 150 ? What it would appear though is that many cars, despite suffering what you would have thought was terminal damage, often rise from the ashes. The “original FORD” chassis number is so valuable that some damaged cars, long thought lost, suddenly re-appear. There is a school of thought that once a car is lost it should remain lost forever but what defines lost? If we were discussing a normal production road car then most believe lost to be when it would cost more to repair than the value of the car, others believe it is when a car cannot be physically be put right because the impact damage is so severe. When you apply these rules to a car as rare as the RS200 then what value damage would there have to be to make it un-economical to re-build as the value of the identity of a genuine FORD RS200 chassis number is quite high?
With the skills in engineering available to put right a bent RS200 chassis and a long line of enthusiasts so willing then again, at what point should the car be declared lost and who has the right to determine that? For instance the image shown is of car is #144 and it is (at the time of typing) being rebuilt piece by piece over a period of years. In the world of rallying a car quite often has quite serious damage on an event and then be brought back to the workshops for repair. If the workshops were to replace the bonnet, doors, boot, engine, transmission, glass, wiring then most would agree that the car is still what it was but if the workshops were to use a new chassis to base the re-build upon then does this make repaired car something it was not? Why when a new chassis is used do many feel this changes the circumstances? However, a problem does occur when the now bare damaged shell is sold on and also repaired, what should that car be called? You can see that chassis #076 has been subject of that debate since being mentioned in the RS200 Owners club magazine in the 1980’s. Again, in the world of production road cars, we have all heard of cars stolen and the parts used on a bare/repaired chassis, in Essex “car ringing” was nearly an epidemic in the Cosworth years but it’s diffcult to think of rebuilding an accidentally damaged classic rally car onto a brand new chassis as “car ringing”. I have my views on car ringing and on trying to make things look like they are not but I am not sure myself where the lines should be when an enthusiast trys to keep something alive, perhaps we should all just have our own views, perhaps we should just keep it simple as say it like it is, “This is a car built from X” In the UK the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have rules in place to deal with such circumstances but but these rules are designed around the bulk of the traffic on the UK’s roads and not the rarieties, they have no provision to “tell it like it is”, they want a chassis number and engine number and an index number – Plain and simple!