Cars like today Nice price or no dice Merkur XR4Ti used to be called a “conditional import”. See if this rare old Ford can win your heart for the price it’s asking for.
Now, while I agree with the general consensus in the comments about yesterday BMW Isetta 1957 that it really does need a thorough cleaning before it gets posted on Craigslist, I still don’t think the dust can guarantee to knock down the car’s $21,000 price as thoroughly as you all did. Isetta prices are all over the board these days, and despite being filthy, yesterday’s car looks pretty solid beneath its dusty coat. However, that failed to convince the majority of you to support it, with the bubble car falling with a 77% No Dice loss.
Yesterday’s BMW is a European model, privately imported into the United States by its current owner. By contrast, Ford Motor Company has been trying for decades to bring some of Europe’s Ford models through the right channels in order to give US buyers a little bit of the magic that their European neighbors have. we can enjoy.
Let’s tally those patterns by decade. In the 1950s, the company brought in a number of UK-sourced models, with names like Anglia, Consul and Prefect. And yes, that’s where Douglas Adams got the name Ford Prefect for Hitchhiker Galaxy’s Guide.
By the 1960s, Ford had pared that down to just the Cortina and Capri. With the dawning of the 1970s, Ford dumped the Cortina. It later added the Fiesta, but only briefly. The 1980s saw both the Fiesta and European Capri get the boot, but the European candy store was just too big a draw so Ford leaned on its German subsidiary for two new models. Those were to be sold under a new “Merkur” brand under the XR4Ti and Scorpio names. Both the brand and the cars failed in the U.S. and seemed to dissuade the car maker from further imports. Instead, in the ’90s Ford made certain models “global.” That allowed both the Focus and Contour to be much closer in design to their European siblings. In this Century, Ford once again dipped into its European model line, giving Americans up until recently the Transit Connect vans.
Today we’re going to take a page out of the history book and take a look at one of Ford’s 1980s imports, specifically a 1986 Merkur XR4Ti.
The Sierra on which the XR4Ti is based was created in the early days when Ford engineers and designers seemed to be obsessed with bars of soap and had locked down manageability so they didn’t drop prices as radically as the duo. born Taurus/Sable and those brilliantly re-imagined Thunderbird Aerobird. The Merkur brand being overseen is Ford’s attempt to once again capitalize on the European product market and establish an element of differentiation for Mercury dealers where it will be sold.
Sadly, it didn’t work very well. Midwest dealers couldn’t pronounce the brand, and the German mark/dollar exchange rate pushed car prices up a roller coaster ride. Well, at least the first part of the ride, you know, where it just kept going up. The Merkur only lasted 4 short years and two models. These days, finding the second — Scorpio’s big hatchback — on the road is like discovering a real Roca Almond in a cat’s litter box.
The smaller and sportier XR4Ti, on the other hand, remains an iconic and desirable ride, and current cars are generally divided into two categories — dog carriages or Schnell-wagons. This ʼ86 seems to fall somewhere in between. The chassis of the European Ford Sierra, on which the XR4Ti is based, rivals the contemporary BMW 3-series in terms of prestige: a solid monocoque body architecture, coil suspension and struts with IRS swingarm in rear and disc brake the whole journey. It can also be equipped with a smooth-shifting 5-speed T9 manual transmission.
Wrapped around those specs is a body that stands in stark contrast to the Bavarian’s inability to think out of the box, and matches its fat American cousin Taurus in roundness. The XR4Ti arrives in the United States with additional unique styling features of the side glazing and dual-plane rear spoiler. The Merkur’s engine is a tried and true 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Pinto from Ford, in this case a turbocharged engine is attached to it. With a manual transmission, the SOHC turbo-four engine delivers 175 hp out of the box.
This one comes with a clear header and cherry-colored metallic paint on the gray plastic bumpers and panels. A lot of that plastic has gotten better but at least it’s all intact. That’s an important factor because the bodywork and glass parts of these cars are increasingly hard to find. Among those hard-to-find parts is a hub cap for factory alloys, which, in fact, this car doesn’t have.
The cabin is also a bit tired, with stretched fabric and a split seam on the driver’s seat. Another problem is that the cargo lid is sagging alarmingly.
On the plus side, the dash and door tag look in good shape. Missing, however, is the Ford/Grundig stereo. Odo says 30,077 but only 5 boxes, that may have gone around the horn at least once.
According to the seller, the car “runs and drives well”, but is described as a “fun driveable project car”. The seller also claims to have “a truckload of parts waiting to be fitted and reassembled.” Along with the vehicle and those parts will come what is described as a 30-year receipt for the care and maintenance of the vehicle. The reason the seller gives the sale is that they have “more important things to do”.
What we need to care about is the seller’s asking price of $5,000 and whether that is acceptable to us. What do you think, is this vintage captive import worth as much as it is now? Or will this be just another humiliation for Merkur?
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