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1986 Ford RS200

Now, before you start shouting at your screen that there’s a blue oval appearing here, I’m aware that Ford is an American-based company. I could go into theatrics about how we’re actually speaking a form of German to attempt to rationalize a Ford appearing on these pages, or I could point out that Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday – the only American to ever receive this award. Of course, that and Ford’s inclusion in Mein Kampf probably aren’t highlights in the storied history of the family or the company. But it does point towards Ford’s reach across the globe, and indeed the European branch of Ford is Ford of Europe AG, headquartered in Cologne, Germany. If that still isn’t German enough for you, let’s just say that once in a while something that’s partly non-German pops up that we’d like to cover. While usually that’s a Swedish car, today it’s a Ford. But this isn’t just any Ford, okay?

The RS200 was conceived in a world for a world that, by the time it came to fruition, no longer existed. Built to maximize the Group B rules, Ford spanned Europe looking for the best talent to make the RS200 a winner. The body of the car was Italian in design but assembled in France. The chassis and engine designs were perfected by Formula 1 aces in England. It was a winning formula that unfortunately was launched at an time of unprecedented speed and power in the World Rally Championship; a combination that proved deadly. Barely into competition, the FIA changed the governing rules in the WRC and immediately the RS200 was shelved. The result was a few hundred competition ready cars that were hugely expensive with nothing to compete in.

But like the Sport Quattro, 205 Turbo-16, 037 and Delta S4, the Group B cars have all experienced a resurgence in interest in the past decade and appreciation has gone from just a group of oddball, off-beat rally fans to the greater automotive community. The result has been spectacular pricing on models like this 1985 RS200:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Ford RS200 on eBay

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Le GLi: 1989 Peugeot 309 GTI

Let’s suspend our rules of engagement at GCFSB for a post and look towards Germany’s western neighbor, France. While we write up a Swede from time to time, it’s not often that French cars make our blog. But since the Franks, who established rule over France under the Merovingians in the late 400s, were actually a Germanic tribe, let’s make an exception and consider this listing. Being a fan of European cars, it’s not often that I get stumped by one – but in my normal searches I came across the front end of what appeared, at first, to be a Peugeot 205 GTI. The 205 is perhaps the car that out-GTI’d the original GTi, better handling, awesome looks and more speed meant it’s become as legendary as the car credited with starting the market segment. But it didn’t look quite right, and a closer inspection revealed it was in fact the bigger brother of the 205; the 309. In GTI trim, they mimicked the recipe started by Volkswagen; turn up the engine, lower the suspension, fit larger alloys and of course stick red accents and “GTI” badges everywhere. Producing 120 horsepower and with low weight, these were fairly potent hatchbacks in their day:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Peugeot 309 GTI on eBay

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1994 Porsche 968

The Porsche 911 could be described as the eternal sports car. It has a style all its own that has lasted for over fifty years, albeit with some refinements along the way. The Porsche 968, however, looks like it could have been designed yesterday. I never stop thinking about what the Porsche 928 and 968 might have turned into, had Porsche continued on with their transaxle greats which exited stage left in 1995. These are cars that deserved a second life and had plenty of fans, to which the folks over at flüssig magazine can attest. This 1994 968 for sale in Florida was originally sold by Brumos Porsche and has covered just over 80,000 miles.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 968 on Pelican Parts

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Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Time for another edition of Wednesday Wheels and another peek around the interwebs looking for some neat wheels. This week we have a rare set of Remotec intended for Mercedes-Benz models from the 1980s; they’d look great on a period 500SEC in my mind. Next are a very odd set of Crimson twin-wheels intended for Porsche 911s, apparently. Why? Great question. Redeeming myself partially, I have a set of OZ-made Carlsson wheels that are simply stunning. They’d really look fantastic on an Audi S4 or E500. Finally, rounding things out are a set of Rays Gram Light wheels originally bought for an Audi S4. They’re an unusual choice but mimic the original Quattro’s Ronal R8s. Which are your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Remotec 5×112 16×8 Wheels on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi Variant

Something really strange happened to me about a decade ago; I got old. Sure, part of it was the numeric figure I associated with my age, but the bigger problem was that I had a job that I was paying the gas bills for, and I needed to drive – a lot. I was adding between 45,000 and 55,000 miles a year to the odometers (when they were working). My preferred mode of transport to that point was Audis, and while they were quirky, fun, and neat looking compared to a Kia, the fuel mileage was nothing to write home about. My 200 Quattro Avant struggled to get 25 m.p.g., and my V8? If I could manage 20, that was a good day. So, despite my desires for a high performance steed, increasingly as gas prices rose my thoughts kept shifting towards how I could maximize my fuel mileage. One thought I had was to take something like the 200 and swap in a TDi drivetrain. Would it be slow? Sure, it wouldn’t be nearly as quick – but the prospect of 40 plus m.p.g. was infinitely appealing to easing my multi-thousand dollar gas bills. It seems I wasn’t alone in my thinking:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi on eBay

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