At $5,100, Is This 1989 Merkur XR4Ti a Mercury Rising?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe XR4Ti describes it being “as new.” Considering that the cars didn’t do so well when new, maybe that’s damning it with faint praise, and maybe that makes its price damnable too.

People keep saying that the end is neigh. I keep telling them to shut up and get out of my bathroom so I can poop in peace. I may need to buy new locks for my doors.


Regardless of the intrusive nature of the messengers, the message itself is foreboding and warrants some planning in case we actually are afflicted by the Rapture, zombie plague, Nickelback tour, or other major calamity.

A good start might be buying yesterday’s 1989 Ford Bronco pop-top camper. Its sturdy off-road-ability and sleep-away camp efficiency make it the perfect getting-out-while-the-getting’s-good vehicle. Not only that, but with a healthy 68 percent Nice Price win, paying its $11,000 asking won’t make fleeing society’s collapse any more shameful than it already is.

Speaking of abject collapses, here we have a 1989 Merkur (nee Ford Sierra) XR4Ti. As most all of us know, Merkur was at one time an attempt by Ford to inject a little European flavor into their somewhat moribund Mercury brand. Merkur meant Mercury in German and it was the foreign-ness of that name that helped ensure the made-up marque’s doom in America’s breadbasket. This example seemingly succeeded, and is offered today here in Ohio. It’s also one of the nicest XR4Tis you’re likely to find on the market.


Ford introduced the radically-designed Sierra for the European market in 1982, in replacement of the Cortina and Taunus. The Sierra was as round as its two ancestors were square and the new model laid the groundwork for Ford’s Aero styling push in the ‘80s. That would result in cars like the Taurus and Sable, the resurrection-giving Aerobird, and one of the swoopiest F-series’ in the model’s history.


America got the Sierra too, but only in the form of the three-door hatch with its funky three-light greenhouse. The early models also arrived with a cool bi-plane rear wing, but by the time this last-year model was produced that had been culled down to a more modest single-wing boot-topper.

Powering all American XR4Tis was Ford’s ubiquitous Lima four with a Garrett T-3 turbo, a mill that was shared with the contemporary Mustang and Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. The fuel injected 2.3 put out 145 horsepower when paired with the optional C3 three-speed automatic. The standard T-9 five-speed got you an addition 30 horses.


This car comes with the C3 and hence, the lesser populated corral. Yes, I know, sad trombone and all that. Still, even though it’s less powerful and a bit less engaging to drive, just look at this beauty. There’s a mere 81K on the clock, and the white on medium toast car looks like it’s only done a quarter of even those. The paint looks mar-free in the pics, with all of its trim intact and headlights that show no age apparent. Factory basketweave wheels underpin and seem free of curb rash.


The interior is an especially good find. Merkur interiors generally don’t hold up all that well, and aside from a driver’s seat that looks a little used everything here seems to be in terrific shape. The factory (Grundig, I think) stereo remains to add to the nostalgia, and the seller says the car even “still smells pretty new.” Heated seats and power this and that make you feel like you haven’t given up too much stepping back in this time machine. The title is clean and like Ray Charles, the car has never seen a rain storm.


A garage queen maybe, but then aren’t they the best finds of them all? And as such, wouldn’t you expect to pay a premium for such exemplary condition? You may.

The asking price is $5,100, and it’s now time for you to vote on whether or not that’s a deal. Yes, a few will say stick shift or GTFO, but then there are auto lovers too for whom this might just be the perfect retro ride.


What do you think, is this tidy XR4Ti worth that $5,100 asking? Or, for that much is this Merkur a mistake?

You decide!


Columbus, OH Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to onlytwowheels (again!) for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.