There’s been so much love for the Merkur XR4Ti these days, that I’ll bet it makes Ford wonder where the hell were you guys in the ‘80s? This Nice Price or Crack Pipe Euro Thrash is here today, and it’s up to you to say whether its price is anything to love.
With its 87% Crack Pipe vote yesterday, there was no love lost for the 1991 Saab 900 turbo
SPG SE. Despite being meticulously maintained and quite fetching in its yellow duds, it was still a Saab story, few of you wanted to hear.
Ford of Europe’s Sierra, upon which today’s 1988 Merkur XR4Ti is based, was created in those heady times when Ford’s engineers and designers seemed like they were given free reign, or had locked management out of the building. How else could you explain such radical fare as the Taurus/Sable twins, the brilliantly re-imagined Thunderbird Aerobird, or the too cool for spool Merkur sport coupe?
Owning to an unfavorable Deutschmark/dollar exchange rate, and a general inability for Americans to pronounce the name, Merkur only lasted for 4 years and two models here in the states. These days, finding the second - the Scorpio hatchback - on the road is like discovering an actual Almond Roca in the cat box.
The smaller and sportier XR4Ti on the other hand is still to be found, and remains an iconoclastic and desirable ride. These days they very typically fall into two categories: dog turd, or Schnell-wagon. This ’85 seems to slot into the second category.
The chassis of the European Ford Sierra, upon which the XR4Ti is based, rivals the contemporary BMW 3-series for creds: solid uni-body architecture, coil and strut suspension with trailing arm IRS in back, and an available T9 five-speed. Wrapped around those specs is a body that was the antithesis of the Bavarian’s inability to think outside the box, and that rivaled its contemporary American cousin- the Taurus - for roundiness.
This red rocket sadly doesn’t have the audacious twin wing of earlier cars but it does still have the funny little windows. It also has the pressurized four cylinder, and while lacking the bottle to feed it, the ad claims that is set up for N2O. For whatever reason, that seems to be giving the seller delusions of grandeur as he claims to believe the Pinto four now puts out 450 bhp or better. And, that’s with turbo plumbing that looks skinnier than a cat’s peen.
The best part of this car however is the custom velour seat inserts. Velour is awesome, and it’s fun to say. I like to pronounce it vuh-LOO-ah, and I imagine driving this car would be like being draped in a king’s robes. . . without the onus of being the king.
But would you have to be royalty to be able to afford this 150,000 mile Merkur? At $3,700, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Whether or not it’s a deal is however and so its now up to you.
Is this modded Merkur a bargain at $3,700? Or, does that price rub your velour the wrong way?