Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1988 Merkur XR4ti

"Don’t buy this car if you just want basic transport to work and the grocery store. That’s why they build Kias."

That first sentence comes from the seller's ad. That's great!

This is a very nice 1988 Merkur XR4ti.

The Merkur XR4ti was a study in how NOT to market a car. Ford did just about everything wrong. The name was tough for Americans to pronounce. The Lincoln / Mercury dealers that sold the cars didn't seem to like them very much. (I was talked out of buying one in 1989 by the DEALER. I've heard similar stories from other people, too.) Small design issues (like the rubber A/C line running right above the hot turbocharger, which the seller mentions in his ad) were not addressed by Ford in a timely manner. The list of stupid, little things Ford did wrong in marketing this car is amazing.

And that's too bad too, because the Merkur XR4ti is a damn nice car. It was a car that competed well with the BMWs, Audis and Saab Turbos of the day. The engine is the same 2.3 liter turbo 4 found in the Mustang SVO. It's been said that the computer mapping on the XR4ti was different (more performance oriented) from the Mustang. 60 MPH came in under 8 seconds.

The seller bought this car in 1992 with 17,000 miles on it and has put another 90,000 miles on it in the past 17 years. It's not a show car, it needs a few things, but it appears to be a nice, well maintained driver. Best of all, as the seller writes, "The car has not been buggered up with well meaning but poorly executed 'improvements' and modifications that I have seen on so many of these cars. It is basically stone ass stock."

The car comes with spare parts. You don't have a choice. From the ad: Conditions of purchase. - You buy the car, you take the load of spare parts as well. You’ll need to bring a pickup truck. I will pull stuff from the attic, garden shed, storage shed, workshop shelves and all the other places I have squirreled away stuff for the last 17 years. Bring a pickup truck. I will not release keys or title till the spare parts are gone from my property.

The car is located in Reno, NV. Click here to see the Craigslist listing. The seller has "taken a pile of photos and put them on one of those websites". He includes a link to that website.


m4ff3w said...

The XR4ti did not have an intercooler.

I lusted after XRs for 12 years and finally bought one when I needed space to take my kids to school (was driving a Megasquirt'd Fiat X1/9) and I have been underwhelmed.

I suspect it is from placing the XR4ti on a pedestal all these years combined with following up to the best drivers car ever.

My shameful plug for MY XR:

That said, the XR is a good car. It is certainly a very good platform for a fun car.

San Antonio, TX

Just A Car Geek said...

I stand corrected and made the change. A guy who had a business next to mine many years ago had a XR4ti. His had an intercooler. (I was impressed) It must have been an aftermarket design.

Thanks for the input!


Just A Car Geek said...

Matthew, I just looked at your Craigslist ad.

You're looking for "something along the lines of Alfa Romeo Milano, GTV, Alfetta. Rovers or Peugeots."

That's great!

I've owned all of those!

My mother never told me I had a twin brother!


m4ff3w said...

I had my heart set on an 84 Maserati Biturbo that needs some work (don't all of the carb'd Biturbos need some work?) But the seller won't come down to a reasonable price.