Thursday, January 22, 2009

1989 Merkur Scorpio on eBay - A Bargain Basement European Sedan

01/28/09 UPDATE - This car is back on eBay. The "Buy It Now" price is now $899.00. Click here to see the new eBay Listing.
Merkur seemed like such a good idea. By the 1980s Americans had, in a big way, taken to sporty European sedans and coupes. Ford had a few in their European stable. It seemed like a no brainer to bring them to the US. In 1985 they introduced the Merkur XR4Ti (based on the German Ford Sierra XR4Ti) and in 1988 the Scorpio (based on the Ford Scorpio Mark 1).

Things didn’t go quite as planned. First of all, we Americans had some sort of mental block when it came to pronouncing the name. Meant to be pronounced “mare-coor” , most people wound up calling them “merk-kers”. Not very classy. Secondly, Ford decided to sell them exclusively through Lincoln – Mercury dealers, not the first place (especially in the mid-eighties) people thought about when looking to buy a sporty European car. Thirdly, many dealers seemed not to like the cars and almost resented having to sell them. Fourth, the XR4Ti’s styling was considered by many to be too outrageous (the first ones had a two winged spoiler on the back) and the Scorpio’s styling too conservative. Fifth, they had some initial reliability problems, especially with the electrical systems.

Ford finally gave up and pulled the plug on the Merkur line in 1989.

The car listed on eBay is a 1989 Scorpio. Scorpios had a V6, were relatively quick, and by 1989, like all Merkurs, were fairly reliable.

It’s not a perfect car. The seller states that it needs some work. But it’s drivable and, best of all, it’s cheap. As I write this you can still pick it up for the $999.00 “Buy It Now” price.

If the “wow factor” is important to you (and there’s nothing wrong with that) this is not a car for you. But if you want to own a sporty European sedan (that few will recognize as being one) at a bargain basement price, this may just be the car to buy.


Click here to find the Merkur Club of America website. (A bit confusing to navigate, but it contains a wealth of information)

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