All Original Hot Hatch: 1985 Merkur XR4Ti

This 1985 Merkur XR4Ti is a surprisingly well preserved example with just over 75,000 original miles and remaining in stock condition. Purchased as an autocross project for the seller and his son, it is now for sale as the son never embraced the Euro-spec Ford product. The seller has made some sensible repairs but claims it’s a very good driver in need of some cosmetic love. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $2,250 and no reserve.

These cars are near impossible to find anymore in anything other than total project heap or near-junkyard ready condition. They weren’t ever embraced by U.S. shoppers and I’m sure many of them fell into neglect once Lincoln-Mercury dealers stopped hawking them. This one features the iconic bi-plane wing and repainted OEM alloy wheels.

If I were still seriously considering buying one of these, I’d be bidding on this one. The seller notes it was stored in a barn beginning in 1990, which helped save it from years of winter driving and / or being picked up by a teen driver as a cheap turbo project. It’s the preferred 5-speed manual and comes with OEM floormats and a totally rad period car phone.

The seller cleaned out the fuel system, refurbished the gas tank, adding new lines and a fresh fuel pump. The brakes were rebuilt, as were the injectors. It’s got new tires as well and the seller notes it’s still a very quick little car. A period application of undercoating has kept rust to an isolated spot at the leading edge of the door, and this otherwise looks like a story-free example.

 

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Comments

  1. Tony Primo

    Bonus points if you can make the car phone functional again.

    Like 10
    • grant

      It would be awesome. I don’t know if an analog phone would work on any network anymore, but I’d bet the guts could be changed to more modern digital stuff.

      Like 6
    • Jack M.

      Makes me miss my Motorola flip phone with the extendable antenna.

      Like 7
  2. sir mike

    Sounds like it would make a great daily driver…good price

    Like 2
  3. GeoffF

    Always liked these, and if I get a job in the next 4 days I may bid in celebration!.. Anyway,,,What is going on with the “grill” in the 1st pic?

    • davew833

      Looks like some kind of aftermarket front panel with a grill opening. If you google XR4Ti there are a number of cars with a similar treatment.

      Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      GeoffF; nothing going on with the grill here – this is either an OE off or a duplicate to resemble the front found on the European Ford Sierra RS Cosworth.

      Though it’s stated in the write-up as an Euro-spec car, the one featured here is clearly a US model; Merkurs never sold in Europe. European Sierras were never delivered with an I-4 2.3 either, rather a V6 2.3. The bigger 2.8 and 2.9 V6s sold in performance versions only.

      Anyway, they can be built to be quite capable autocross or road racing machines with the right engine

      Like 5
      • Z1rider

        Yes, that front facia is a European item which came on performance versions. I’m surprised the seller didn’t mention it as one of the pics does show the original stock facia in place so it would seem the current owner sourced it and made the modification.

        Like 3
      • Bruce Dabney

        I got one of these in the early 90s as a friend had one & I really liked it. Mine had lo miles and was clean. It turned out to be the biggest nightmare I ever owned- dash electronics messed up, turbo blew, musty smell (Scotchgard, the salesman said), which was rear hatch gaskets already bad…on & on. I owned it for 11 months, and about once a month something expensive broke. I loved it when it was right, but was really glad to see it go.

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Bruce,
        I remember that musty smell in the hatch. I couldn’t figure out how the moisture was getting in but finally found that it was a slow leak coming in from the power antenna.

  4. Mr.BZ

    I was fascinated by these four-wheeled freaks as a 25 year old man who thought he had seen the last, fast factory car more than a decade prior. Just the illusion of speed was enough to get my attention, but I never had the chance to drive one. They are rare and odd enough that a decent example deserves to be preserved, for my entertainment if nothing else!

    Like 1
  5. Mitch

    Where is to and how do I bid?

  6. Llewellyn

    Something seems a little off. Look at the grille in the 2 pictures of the front on ebay. They’re different.

  7. Ian

    …there would be a queue round the block for it here in the UK !!

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    My xRATi was a great car as long as you forget about the multiple literally melted manual trannys, water leaks, electrical gremlins, etc.

    Good luck to next owner.

    Like 2
  9. Superdessucke

    I’d hate to get hit with that telephone in a collision. My God.

    Like 1
    • ace10

      It’s on a mount.

  10. Del

    A German engineered Ford.

    Werner Von Braun would be embarassed.

    Like 1
    • Camry wagonmaster

      I aim for the Moon(but sometimes I miss).

  11. CanuckCarGuy

    Back in ’87 my father was looking at a used ’85 at the local Ford dealer and the want was high on his part…the old man was offering $13K but they wouldn’t budge from $13.5K and figured he’d go for it. He walked away from the deal on principle and a month later an opportunity came up on a winter home in Florida…for $13K. My folks wintered there for the next 20 years…that car was likely scrap after 5 years. To this day, I’ve wanted an XR4Ti in memory of dad.

    Like 4
  12. Stevieg

    I try to not be negative, especially regarding appearance (taste is subjective, and I have not aged well myself lol), but this is flat out ugly. I always thought that. Was not impressed when these were new, still not.
    I do, however, like the “unique” factor. You just don’t see these on the road any more. I would imagine finding parts would not be a big deal, and I hear they were fun to drive. Subsequently, I would consider it if I were in the market for another toy, just for the fun & “oddball” qualities. The car phone is a bonus!

  13. DayDreamBeliever Member

    $2250 with but a single bid.

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