Euro Ford: 1987 Merkur XR4Ti

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Barn Finds reader Lincoln Scott spotted this down-on-its-luck 1987 Merkur XR4Ti here on craigslist, where it’s been parked for the last ten years. The seller says somewhat wisely that the car ran well when it was left next a bramble patch, but that doesn’t mean much a decade later. Still, these are fun driver’s cars when running well and this one doesn’t appear rusty – plus, those factory alloys and the bi-plane wing are some nice bits to have and it’s only $300. Let’s see if we can make a decent driver out of some cheap parts cars, shall we?

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For instance, take this listing for a factory Merkur turbocharger from a parts car here on eBay. While the craigslist car should have a factory turbo in place (after all, the “T” in “XR4Ti” stood for Turbo), who knows what condition it may be in. The engine was shared with other Ford products like the Mustang SVO and Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, but unlike those vehicles, the Merkur lacked an intercooler. This seller is offering up a supposedly working unit and might even be willing to sell off some other bits of what looks like a complete car. I like those phone-dial style alloys for winter wheels, personally.

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Our craigslist car appears to be missing a headlight, so this listing for a working unit off of a another parts car here on eBay will likely get the job done. Of course, you could always upgrade to the slick European lenses that came stock on the hotted-up Cosworth models, but those can be hard to find – and you’ll need a different grill to make them work. But for $55 shipped, you’ll at least have a car with functional headlights.

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And if you’re really hot for one of these European Fords, you may as well just buy a running, driving unit like this 1988 model here on eBay that also has some nice upgrades, like the aforementioned Cosworth front end and Koni suspension. It’s currently only bid to $760 (with the reserve unmet), so you could have a driver and the craigslist parts car for (potentially) short money. Have any of you ever owned one of these? And if so, would you take a chance on another? Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Principal Skinner drove a “Merkur”, dubbed, “the car for losers”. It was kind of the “new” Capri, which I owned one once, and didn’t care for it one bit. Perhaps that was the downfall of the Merkur, as while many had good luck with a Capri, there were many, like me, that didn’t. I wonder if it has those awful “metric” rims, a story for a different time.

  2. Rich

    One of my first jobs was prepping cars for a Merkur dealership. I loved driving these. The interior was very nice. I recall the seats being heavily bolstered. The Scorprio and XR4Ti were great cars. I’d consider one for a daily driver.

  3. Andrew Minney

    Umm, it looks like a Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth turbo. Ok for Essex man but ‘orrible turbo lag.
    I’ll pass on this one!

    • Rob K

      The Sierra Sapphire was a 4 door sedan shape, this is basically the US version of the Sierra XR4i, which was quickly superceded here in the UK by the XR4x4. The Sierra was a hatchback available in 3 or 5 door models. The 3 door Sierra RS Cosworth is the one to have, but prices are high now.

  4. Blueprint

    300$ ? Great LeMons potential! The “Cologne” V6 probably fits and is found in many donors.

  5. grenade

    I always wanted to take one and make a rough & tough rear wheel drive rally car out of it. With a V8 of course. They’re light enough if you strip em out and unless I’m mistaken, they are front engine, rear wheel drive, 4 wheel independent suspension, disc brakes. If you can’t make something decent out of that, then they should stick to front wheel drive things. 🙂

  6. Thom

    Had one and really enjoyed it–Lost it to an engine fire the day I was suppose to pick it up from the shop that rebuilt the engine–I’ve thought many times of replacing it, but as much fun as this one would be to get back on the road I’m not in a position to do so right now

  7. Michael

    If it has the same turbod engine as the TBird, it is not slow, the bird 4 was faster than the V8!
    Nice thing is parts are readily available and inexpensive and not a problem to work on!

    • MikeW

      My 85 TurboCoupe didn’t come with a intercooler either. The 86-88’s did and are a source of cheap parts at pickapart. You got to love the little XR4TI with the Thunderbird motor very easy to modify and comes with irs. the weak point was the transmission, but a T5 will fix that.

  8. PRA4SNW Member

    Fun car to drive, worst car ever to own.

    I bought one that was 2 years old and dumped it less than 2 years later after dealing with – several transmission replacements / rebuilds, electrical issues, airbag issues, oil burning engine, water leaks, etc.

    Pure misery.

    • David Reese

      PRA4SNW, must have been a really serious airbag issue, as no Merkur had one.

  9. monsieur le baton

    worked for a nissan dealership in england years ago, had one on trade in, but it was badged differently not as an XR4Ti or as an XR4x4 as i was expecting, the original rear badge on it said AR4X4 – think it was a South African import, but i’ve never seen another one – anyone seen one?

  10. David Reese

    Just an FYI, the Sierra headlights don’t need a new grille, they fit just fine. You will need some changes behind the scenes though, they aren’t just a bolt-in replacement. Tons more light from them though.

  11. Tommy Sears

    I had a 1987 xr4ti when I was a teenager. Pay 600$ for her. These cars are fun to drive. Mine was a 5 speed and that little 2.3l turbo really ran great. Use to race my friends in there Honda’s and always pull away from them when that turbo would start to boost. It was great on gas to,even though then it cost about 90 cents a gallon. Would love to have another one of these cars. In the end I melted three pistion but but I drove her hard and for 600$ she was a great time.

  12. Darwin Brooks

    Yes I had one and,I’m looking for one that run and drives about 1988-1989
    the lass two year it was sold in the U.S.

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