1988 Merkur XR4TI: Nicest One Left


Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know that phrase is overused, but these Merkurs were notoriously fiddly when new and rarely are seen today in anything short of basket case status. Sure, there are devoted owners groups but that doesn’t change the fact it’s an affordable car to buy and a target for teenagers drunk on dreams of cheap speed. This 1988 model here on craigslist has fortunately escaped this fate and been owned by a mature enthusiasts all of its life, and with only 18,000 miles on the clock, it should continue to be preserved for a long time to come. This particular model is the hot ticket combo: turbocharged with the 5-speed manual. The basketweave alloys and black paint are nice bonuses, too. Although I personally like the bi-plane wing, this is a gem regardless of the spoiler. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Charles H for the find.


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  1. Chris in Nashville

    God, I wish I had the funds… Drove one a friend of my Father had in the early 90’s when I just got my licence and recall it as being pure joy. But hell I was 16 and my 67 MGB was still fast to me…

  2. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow that’s clean!

  3. Howard A Member

    Principal Skinner drove a Merkur.

    • VictorMatthew-Brown

      He drove a Honda most of the time

  4. James

    we got these over here in the UK ( ive owned 3 ) but known as the ford sierra xr4i we never got the turbo version sadly we got the 2.8 v6 which was a good engine and made it a quick car in its day but I cant help but think that we got robbed not getting the turbo version

  5. VictorMatthew-Brown

    We call that a ford Sierra! 3 door is getting rare now, but the headlamps on that are the first generation, ’83 on so I am surprised they are on that ’88. Most of the fast hatchback (3/5 door) sierras of that era would have had the whale tail double decker spoiler, so that one looks quite tame!

  6. jim s

    would you pick this for $9500 or the geo metro that is at $8100 with reserve still not met. i think i could lhave a lot more fun driving this. great find

    • Russ

      I think someone left the decimal point out of the price for the Geo Metro. It should be $81.00.

  7. krash

    ….a fun car with the added bonus of that big ol’ hatchback….quite handy…

  8. Karl

    Years ago I test-drove a second-hand Merkur like this. It was the automatic version that had the turbo but only 140hp IIRC. The owner was a kid who had hit a deer with it. The deer had rolled up and over the car; it still ran, but was pretty snaggletoothed. I met him at his workplace at one of the local malls, and drove it around the mall parking lot in a light rain. Even with the lower horsepower, it was fun. The damage wasn’t overwhelming and the price was right, so I went a step further and looked into the price of the needed parts. That stopped me dead. I had a friend who worked at a local Ford dealership, and I was told that even with the friend-of-the-partsman discount, the hood alone was over $900. The windshield was similarly outrageous. My friend told me, “I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to refuse to help you with this. These cars are money pits. Ask anybody in the shop.” With that kind of encouragement, I gave up the idea. I’m still a little wistful about it.

  9. Peter

    Never liked the (brand) name, nor the face (and I’m a Ford truck guy).

    But I was surprised how LOW Hagerty’s values this as:

    Avg: $2,530*

    #1.: Which almost NO car is: @ $5,500.

    #2.: Which this one probably is: @ $3,900.

    Link: https://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/HVT/VehicleSearch/Report?vbe=37668

    Just shows (again) that, sadly, rarity (even in great condition) doesn’t always equal valuable.

    Although sometimes can be more than a little bit off the market, IME, but for those interested in this, perhaps an email with that link, pointing out the Condition #1 standards included GROOMING THE TIRE TREADS, and perhaps offers of less than half would be entertained?

    If this guy really wants the money, he should be advertising in Hemmings, IMO, or consigning to a noted auction house.


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