For $1,200, Is This Scorpio Rising?

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

In the Simpsons episode You Only Move Twice Hank Scorpio is an evil genius who is hell bent on world domination, and equally obsessed with his employee's work-life balance. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Merkur Scorpio may never dominate anything, but will its price at least prove worth plotting its take over?

Patrons of the arts you proved not to be, or perhaps it's just that you hate Mazda3s. Either way, with a Crack Pipe loss for its fourteen grand price, yesterday's custom painted and sound system'd '06 proved that, for at least 95% of you, Art is just a guy with no legs and no arms hanging on the wall.


According to the famous crackpot astrologist Alan Leo, people born under the sign of Scorpio tend to be determined, reserved, loyal, and secretive. That may also describe people who own the few remaining Merkur Scorpios, considering how few you see around anymore. This loaded '89 is remarkable in that it appears completely intact, faring much better than its maltreated siblings.

The Scorpio followed the smaller and turbo'd Pinto-powered XR4Ti in Ford's push for unpronounceable brand expansion. Built in Germany, the sales of both Merkur models suffered from unfavorable exchange rates driving their prices up, and the fact that each sported a body style that has never caught on here in the U.S.. That in fact is a prime difference between this country and the Continent - we like our hatchbacks to be small and unpretentious, while in places like Germany they like big backends with gaping openings able to take massive loads without complaint. Oh yeah, they also love big hatches.

It didn't help matters that the Scorpio looked a lot like Mercury's contemporary Sable sedan - at a third higher price tag - although the import did sport a proper rear-drive set up with independent suspension all around. It also received but a single engine option, that being the Cologne 2.9-litre V6 which offered an adequate but not ball sack-elevating 144-bhp.

Thing of it is, both the XR4Ti and the Scorpio have their fans, and if you happen to jones on Ford's big European luxury sedan then your options for getting a decent one are getting fewer and farther between. Contrastingly, this Vegas-based golden girl appears to be in excellent shape, its metallic paint seemingly unmarred by time or sun and all the plastic bits so popular back in the ‘80s amazingly intact. A typical wear point on these cars is the plastic wheel centers which inevitably succumb to sun and even car washes stripping their paint and revealing their soft yellow plastic underbelly.


Those factory wheels on this Scorpio look pretty good, as does the U.S.-only rubber duck spoiler which Ford used as a way of integrating the CHMSL on the car. Even the headlamps look to have survived, an amazing feat for two decade old plastic facing daily sandblasting.


From the single interior shot, it looks like the insides are as tight as the outsides. There's no good shot of the seat surface, and the leather - like the wheel caps - is another pain point on these cars, it just doesn't stand up to years of jeans sliding in and out of them. On the downside, this car is one of the 21,950 cars sold with an automatic, rather than the 60 or so that came over with a T9 between the seats. That being said, there are a pair of lumbar-inflating sphygmomanometer bulbs next to the console to give your right hand something to do. Those are currently made of unobtainium here in the U.S., and other parts - such as the useless-as-a-toothpick Tibbe key or a replacement spoiler - may require some legwork to source, but overall keeping a Scorpio on the road shouldn't be too big a nightmare.


The seller of this Merkur doesn't like exposition but does seem to try and make up for that by communicating his brief mots d'esprit in all-caps. Still, he does say that the car is clean, and after all what more could you ask in a used car? He also has set the price for this Nevada-licensed beauty at $1,200, which while not wallet eating does need to be considered in light of how much bang you're getting for those bucks.

What's your take on this failed Ford franchise fodder? Is $1,200 too much for even Hank Scorpio to pay? Or, is this a Merkur that's mercantile worthy?


You decide!


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