Ford RS200 - Rally of Sweden 1986

Ford RS200 - Rally of Sweden 1986

Postby wixwacing » Wed 27 Jul, 2011 6:03 pm

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Scalextric Ford RS200
Rally of Sweden 1986


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By Phil Wicks


The Mk lll Escort was a divergence for Ford as it was their first ‘flagship’ foray into front wheel drive. Being old school, they had resisted the trends of the sixties and seventies towards this form, lead by French companies especially, advocating that it wasn’t for them. The Mk lll turned into a sales bonanza assisted by results from track events although it wasn’t a great rally car at this time. The RS2000 was the true predecessor, and after the Mk lll had been in production for four years, new changes in Rally classes prompted Ford to dip their toe into the ‘Group B’ world of rally.



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This was a field that Audi and Peugeot had already come to grips with and were doing very nicely thank you very much. So after a false start and a period of wasted effort, Ford had a lot of homework to do to catch up with the class leaders, and to be fair to them, in the little time they took, they did a pretty good job. The result was the Ford RS200.



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Because of the construction of the body, Ford chose a company with many years experience in fibreglass/plastic composite bodies to build the Ghia design for them. This was the ‘Reliant’ company who originally produced those decidedly unstable three wheelers often seen in a particular UK comedy show, but in fairness to them they did also make the Scimitar which was a different creature altogether.


RS 200 at auction



In the rush to finish the model, the RS200 inherited several components from the Ford parts catalogue and when finally assembled, a 1.8 litre Cosworth BDT engine was mid mounted. Finishing touches were a huge turbo and a four wheel drive arrangement. Even then the model was down on power compared to its counterparts.



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Group B was already operating under a shroud and with accidents on high speed stages causing concern, Ford had their part to play in its demise. This model is based on the Factory car as driven by Kalle Grundel, who finished third in the 1986 Rally of Sweden. Ironically, it was an RS200 which was involved in spectator deaths in the Rally de Portugal at the next event and the FIA, already with its hand on the group B plug, pulled the plug at the end of the season, leaving Ford with nearly 200 homologation units to get rid of!



RS200



A few RS200’s went on for a few years contending European Rallycross events with a good deal of success and Norwegian Martin Schanche won the 1991 title driving an RS200 E2. sporting the 480Kw BDT-E engine.







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Scalextric have made a fine model here and I have to say that although they were recently beaten to the punch by a newcomer to the field, they have made a great home/club racing model which is ideal for racer and enthusiast alike and which with little modification, should produce pleasure and results in abundance, so lets see why.



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First trick is removing it from the box. Not such a big deal but Scaley have opted for a ‘wing nut’ type fastener instead of the usual knurled barrel. Fine for getting the model out, but if like me you like to store your model in the box between events, it is a bit fiddly getting the car and the spacer and the screw all synchronised and back into place while holding onto the box The old knurled metal barrel just needed a roll between the fingers to secure it whereas this needs a physical ½ turn screw and release motion taking several goes to get the thread started?? But maybe that’s just me!!



Scalextric service sheet download




From the outside it is well detailed and the tampo indicates that this model is from an age when factory teams didn’t hunt tirelessly for sponsorship, and when one or two main sponsors were all it took to adorn the outside bodywork. This one is traditionally known as the ‘Shell’ livery and probably one of the more sedate colour schemes.



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The model is one of Mr Scaley's super detail models and the best of the detail is on the inside. Both occupants look good unlike those in the MGB and they carry extra detail in the form of belts and buckles. The navigator has his notes and dash detail, although hard to see, is all there. One thing that would be nice and I’m sure Mr Scalextric has it in hand, and that is if they actually made two dissimilar heads, so we don’t have the Thompson twins as driver and navigator?? Drifting to the rear there is ample engine detail considering the motor is shoehorned underneath it all.



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Outside is sharp and once again the finest of detail is clearly distinguishable. Compared to the real thing, everything looks to be in its place, right down to the tampo’d tampo on the driving light covers! It’s two weaknesses would be the roof aerial and the door mirrors. Unlike Carrera, Scalextric do not give you the option of removing these before you put it on the track.



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Scalextric have opted for photo etched grilles and I have to say that in this models case they do look good. It is often impossible to get mesh fine enough to represent the real thing but Mr Scaley has got one step closer with this model. Underneath is simple and business like. Here you can see the recesses for the motor and the traction magnet, giving the chassis extra vital space to recreate the interior in. Once again, six screws holding it all together with two of those fixing into the drivers tray.



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The first observation is that this model has very soft tyres. I suspect this will pay dividends and I’m sure Scaley have done their homework. Wheels are concentric as we have come to expect and the little runout there is can possibly be attributed to the tyres. A light sanding should see this all sorted though. Wheels are very effective and as nearly all models have good wheels now there is little else to wonder at.



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Inside the model are a few Scaley trademarks. The drivers tray is a clip in affair but I notice Mr Scaley has put a spot of glue on the rear clip. The rear mounting posts are part of the drivers tray and I expect this drop of glue is an insurance measure against it coming loose. Just remember to replace it if you do remove the tray! Also part of the drivers tray are some retaining brackets. When the chassis is in place two will hold the axle in and the other two will stabilise the motor. Good thinking on behalf of Scalextric, but will this affect those of us who like to run their bodies loose? Mmmmmmmmm?



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Moving onto the chassis, there isn’t too much to go wrong as this layout is tried and tested......or is it?? The light boards are very effective as expected and all the other model automotive parts are very familiar. Axle bushes are tight, guide OK, Motor tight, lead wires clipped to the chassis!! A good idea and maybe a Scaley first?? This does away with the need for another two pairs of hands while refitting the body like some Fly models do!



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One thing I did spot though is that the traction magnet is loose in its recess. Big deal? maybe not, but I was uncomfortable with it. So I placed a steel rule on the underside of the model to hold it firmly in place and put a couple of spots of Superglue on it to hold it in place. Hopefully I have negated the need to disassemble the model on a race night because the magnet has become detached in transit and is stuck to the engine or an axle or who knows what else!!



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So as we have said, this is a nice model.....a very nice model, but what does it go like. As we speak, I have access to a variety of track formats. Nonmagnetic board, Board and magnabraid, Scalextric sport and Carrera. All have varying degrees of traction, from the gravity of non magnet, to full on Scaley traction. So I decided to take it for a run. Firstly, to painted non magnet board at the home of the Red Team......



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Placing it on Red Lane (as you do!) I punted off round the first bend and down the back straight. Here, the model decided to deslot and punch lightly into the foam which was disguised as a rock face. A friend at this end of the track placed it back in the slot whereupon the lights illuminated but the model refused to make forward progress??!! Closer inspection revealed that the spur gear was locked and wouldn’t go forward. This was traced to a small piece of grit which had lodged itself in the gear mesh preventing forward motion. With the grit extricated I decided to move on. Application of power saw the lights flash briefly and then total silence, and a mere wisp of smoke could be detected from the model??? Oooooooeeeeeerrr?



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So, for the second time in its preciously short life the body was removed. The cause of consternation was immediately visible. For some unknown (or known) reason, one of the guide lead wires had burned through! Mmmmmmm! At this point I will explain to the novice that Scaleys arrangements for wiring at the guide end of the model are not every body’s cup of tea. In this case, one of the wires had failed unspectacularly and immobilised the model. The load on the motor caused by the jammed gearing must have been too much for what must have been a faulty wire?



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The two single strands of wire which come from the guide to the DRP plug are in actual fact both legs of the little round ceramic capacitor!! The lead wires are attached to these legs quite high up and underneath the black shrink tubing. An ingenious idea from the design department, but in this case almost a fatal floor! So what needed to be done?. The guide was removed and the two contact plates were unsoldered from the guide loom.



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The single strands were unsoldered from the DRP loom which left the motor lead wires, one green and one yellow. The ends of these leads were prepared and lightly tinned and, while holding the little plates in a small alligator clip, I applied some heat to the terminal end and slipped the green and yellow wires into their new home, (see photo) thus bypassing the necessity to have the capacitor thingy or its frail legs. The whole lot was reassembled back in the front of the model and Robert ‘s your mum’s brother!



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This wasn’t the only problem either. Whilst looking around the inside of the model I noticed one of the body mounting posts was split up the side??!! Not a big deal to the finished model but a wonder as to how it got there? The spit is in the chassis part of the model and providing it isn’t reefed up it shouldn’t present a problem.



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So with a cure effected it was time to put it to the test. The traction magnet on this model is good but not great. Scalextric have mounted it as close to the rails as possible without it hanging out the bottom of the model which is fine for Scalextric track. And on Scalextric track it is an impressive little performer. It will hold on tenaciously in all but the fastest of corners when, if pushed hard, it will execute a roll over deslot. On Carrera it still has a degree of track adhesion but not as much as the Scaley setup. Again, to its advantage it will tear off into the distance and some hard braking and severe speed moderation will be needed to stay on round some of the huge Carrera corners. On Magnabraid the model does have a measurable degree of magnetic attraction but unless you sand the tyres away to nothing to lower the magnet there will be moments when the model may well negotiate some corners on its outside wheels.



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Board track non magnet racing is good fun. The model demonstrates an unusual amount of drivability for this medium but, once again, in a serious race situation the model may need its overall weight increasing by up to twenty grams depending on the track surface and technicality, and there is little space available to do this unless the drivers tray is butchered. Out of the box it behaves well and is mostly predictable on most surfaces. Raced against similar models it should be a heap of fun, and other models in its era currently available from other makers include the Lancia Delta Integrale, Audi Quattro, VW Golf, Subaru RX, MG Metro 6R4 and Peugeot 205.



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This is another model in Scalextric’s ‘Super Detail’ range and I think it has earned it. It is also a model which is quite drivable and it would be a shame to see racers gut it and hybridise it, there are other RS200’s about which that can be done to. And alongside the original Spanish Scalextric model it looks like Scaley got it right all those years ago. The only thing missing on the new model which would have been nice to have is four wheel drive.



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Scalextric 2011 and Scalextric Spain 1987





This one will get a good workout no doubt and even though this model is in the definitive RS200 livery, there are hopefully a couple more very nice liveries to come! The model's lights are good too, but wouldn't it be nice to see a bank of working driving lights across the bonnet of the next release!!! Looks like I might have to buy a couple of these just so’s in twenty years time there is still a mint and boxed one on the shelf!!


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