For $8,500, This 1988 Merkur XR4Ti Is Almost Like New

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

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe XR4Ti couldn’t be any nicer, and seems barely broken in. That condition is reflected in its asking price, which you’ll have to decide if it’s worth breaking out the wallet.

Restomods are old cars with modern kibbles and bits thrown in to make them feel less like… well, old cars. It’s sort of like putting your granny in Victoria’s Secret undies. Wait, it’s not really like that and now I can’t get that image out of my head. Aaaaah!


Actually, a restored is like last Friday’s 1969 AMC Rambler wagon. That car looks like something nuns had been driving for the past 40 years, while underneath it rocks an LS1 V8, T56 gearbox and a whole lot of re-engineered undies to make the whole thing work.

All that work led up to an asking price that 80% of you deemed Crack Pipe worthy. Our good friend Matt Farah over at The Smoking Tire disagreed however, and will be digging on the Rambler on his show in a couple of weeks. We on the other hand, will just be rambling on.

Merkur is German for Mercury and so it was fitting that German Fords sold in the U.S. at Mercury dealers be called Merkurs. Or maybe not. Seeing as most Mercurys were sold in the great swath of the U.S. known as the Mid West where folks didn’t really kitten to the name, perhaps because it was too close to Merkin.


In fact, Ford’s ‘80s dalliance with selling their European wares here in the States as Merkurs was a bit of a disaster. After all, they were trying to sell cars without grilles on dealership floors shared with cars that were designed with massive chrome grilles as a point of pride.


Not only that but, for the time, the XR4Ti was weird. It was shaped like something the cat forgot to cover up in the litter box, and had not one but two spoilers on its hatchback. Ford eventually decided that the reason sales were not meeting expectations was owed to that superfluous spoiler and cut it out on the later cars.

This 1988 XR4Ti is one of those later cars, and rocks the single spoiler, but still the weirdly wonderful multi-paneled side glass. I for one loved the unique biplane rear spoilers of the earlier editions, as well as the rubber duckies that were applied to the contemporary Mustang SVO.


You might prefer this less audacious look. You definitely will like this car’s current condition and low mileage as it’s almost as-new. In fact, I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen a Merkur interior this nice. Maybe it was in 1989? No wait, it was last summer when this very car was on BaT for a grand more. I guess that didn’t work out.


The seller says that he is the second owner, and that he has known the original owner for years. Maybe he can ask that first owner why he chose to drive the car so little. There’s only 18,000 miles on the clock, and while the odo only has five barrels leading to the possibility that it’s 100K, or 200K more, I defy you to find an ‘80s Merkur interior that would have held up this well over that many miles. I doubt all the ancillaries—A/C, power this, heated that—would be working after that many miles either, and they all are.


It’s not all puppies and beach volleyball here, there are a couple of minor dings reportedly suffered over the years, and the exhaust system couldn’t do the time so it has been replaced with a new system capped by a tip apparently off of an F350 or something. I guess at least it’s not a fart can.

Pop the hood and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time warp. The turbo Pinto mill looks remarkably clean and should still rock the 170-bhp/195 lb-ft it did when it was new. A five speed manual sweetens the experience.


Yes, these cars were not successful here in the States when they were new, but like everything weird and old they’ve developed quite the following and today there are some folks who would pay top dollar for one in really nice shape. This one’s in really nice shape, and it’s now time for you to decide if $8,500 is top dollar to own it.


What do you think, is this museum-quality Merkur seem to be worth that $8,500 asking? Or, is this low mileage XR4Ti priced to stay low mileage?

You decide!


Cincinnati Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to rtaq for the hookup!

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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.