Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Oddball Import: 1989 Merkur XR4TI

Ford's decision to import the European Sierra XR4i is often attributed to the automotive icon known Bob Lutz (Swiss born, but American through and through).  Lost in history is the half-brain behind the decision to brand the vehicle as a Merkur and sell it at Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Just what the hell is a Merkur anyway?  The German spelling of Mercury, you say...so what...the bottom line is that buyers had no idea what it was or why they would want one and it was a bust.  Oh yeah, in case the "MeeerrrKURRR" name wasn't pretentious enough, there was a issue with the model name...the unpronounceable and unremembered XR4Ti.  Of course, Maximum Bob Lutz went on to work at Chrysler before the bean counters at Ford realized this European import thing with the bizarre name was a financial disaster, but it would have at least made a bit more sense to sell it at a Ford dealer with a name like Pinto or something. Anyway, a few decades later I do like them on the used car market because they are cool oddball machines. Find this 1989 Merkur XR4Ti here on eBay bidding for $4181 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go, located in Palm Harbor, FL. Tip from Dave.

 From the seller:

Item specifics
Condition: Used
Seller Notes: “Absolutely gorgeous example, no expense spared upkeep.”
Year: 1989 VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): WF1BT80WXKM610835
Mileage: 82000 Body Type: Hatchback
Make: Merkur Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Vehicle Title: Clean
Engine: 2.3 TURBO Options: CD Player, Leather Seats, Sunroof
Drive Type: RWD Power Options: Air Conditioning, Power Locks, Power Windows
Fuel Type: Gasoline Exterior Color: Red
For Sale By: Private Seller Interior Color: Black
Disability Equipped: No Number of Cylinders: 4
Drive Side: Left-hand drive Transmission: Manual
1989 Merkur XR4TI.

·       Genuine 82k miles from new with documented history

·       Rust free example originally from California, brought to Florida in 2003

·       Maintained on a cost-no-object basis.

·       Working A/C.

·       Brand new wheels and tires (18x8 30ET, 215/35/ZR18)

·       New front brakes.

·       New 3" turbo back exhaust.

·       Manual boost controller.

·       New clutch, throw out bearing, flywheel, clutch cable.

·       New sparkplugs, wires, cap, rotor, oil change, oil filter, air filter.

·       Recent repaint.

·       Immaculate interior, dash top has no cracks.

·       Original sets of keys and original owners manual included.

·       Lots of documented history.

·       Daily driven and reliable!!

·       Adult owned

This truly is my daily driver. I don't hesitate to jump in this car and drive it anywhere. Pictures tell the story, this is one of the finest examples of an increasingly rare vehicle. I've owned 7 of these since the mid 1990's and this is the nicest one I've ever owned. Please voice any concerns or ask any questions prior to bidding. This is a gorgeous example of the breed, but it is after all still a 30 year old car, so please keep that in mind, it's not new. Everything works on the car except the cruise control. I still drive this car daily, so the mileage shown will increase slightly before listing ends. If the car sells from this listing, I will stop driving the car as soon as the listing ends. Car is located in Palm Harbor FL. Clean/clear Florida title in my name. Buyer responsible for arranging and paying for any shipping (if necessary). Buyer is welcome to fly into TIA, or PIE and drive the car home. Deposit due via paypal immediately after listing ends. Balance due in cash or cashiers check upon collection. I would like the car collected within 14 calendar days of listings end.

See a better way to drive an oddball Euro import? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Unpronounceable? You mean it's not pronounced "Exerahty?"

    That's one of the cleanest ones I've ever seen, regardless of how to pronounce the name.

  2. These cars were fantastic race cars! Check out this intense battle between Steve Soper and Andy Rouse at Brands Hatch 1988.

    1. That's some great head-to-head stuff right there, and no traction control! Loved that track when World Superbike used to race at Brands. Awesome stuff.

  3. Fleetwood T. BroughamAugust 13, 2019 at 1:39 PM

    I flirted with buying one of these many times in the early 90's....they were serious fun, and it's the most turbo lag with the most abrupt onset of boost that I've ever experienced in a stock production car, and that includes a brief stint as a Saab Viggen owner.

    1. I sold these new in 1985 and 1986, turbo lag was not too bad. I sold the dealers 1986 Mustang SVO demo that he was driving. Now there is a car with some serious turbo lag. One time I floored it from a stop sign and got to the other side of the intersection before the turbo finally spoiled up. No wonder that we sold so many 5.0 litre Mustangs.

  4. My uncle was hired to drive one of these in the 1985 One Lap of America. He remarked that it was fairly comfortable and not to buzzy for the first thousand or so miles but that after that...

    1. ..wait, let me guess. He drove through Kansas and came out as you Aunt? Just thinking.

  5. Girlfriend in high school: why would someone call their car 'rati. XRAti?

  6. He has only owned it since the beginning of the year and looking to flip it already. Here is another one with more updates and better updates and long term owner. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1986-MERKUR-XR4TI/401845736844?hash=item5d8fdf558c:g:erYAAOSwaZRdUan3

    1. Yeah, the whole line of "I've owned 9 of these..." (and I've resprayed and am dumping this one) does not inspire confidence. It's a beautiful car and I've always liked XR4Tis but this deal just smells a little funny.

  7. No expense spared on upkeep but the cruise doesn't work. Maybe he should spend some money on that?

    Those shiny rims and chrome tip on the exhaust look terrible.


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