1988 Merkur XR4Ti

This Merkur sold for $4,350.

As enthusiasts, oddly we often lament new cars. Undoubtedly, newer models turn better, stop better and accelerate faster than most of the cars that they replace. They return better fuel economy, have more gears, and are generally more reliable. In a crash, they’ll save your life and some will even call the police for you. Impressive? Sure, without a doubt. But if I had a nickle for every time I heard how some enthusiast would rather have a brand new example of a car from their youth, I’d be a rich man. I’ve heard it from all sources; desire for a bullet-proof reliable new W126 S-Class, longing for a return of the real Quattro with locking differentials, dreams of finding a new E30 M3 or 3.2 Carrera. But if you’re a bit different, perhaps you’re one of the devoted Merkur fans.

Now, I know what you’re saying. Merkurs are Fords, and Fords are American. How about this – Ford Europe’s headquarters is in Cologne, Germany. And they produce a fair amount of cars in Germany even today. Since we consider the Volkswagens built in Chattanooga and Westmoreland, the BMWs built in Spartanburg, and the Mercedes-Benz models bolted together in Alabama, I think we can deviate for a moment into a hot Ford.

Audi and SAAB helped to mainstream turbocharging, and by the 1980s it was almost expected in performance circles. That culminated in a wave of ever increasing performance hot hatchbacks that completely changed our perception of speed. As newer, faster models emerged, the technology increasingly filtered its way into lower-spec models until the results of all of the turbocharging basically were acknowledged to be wrecking the world’s environment. I call it ‘Trickle-down Turbonomics’. The result? Ford launched a series of turbocharged hatchbacks and sedans in the 80s, including the Fiesta RS, the Mustang SVO, the turbocharged Thunderbird, and this car – the XR4Ti, the US version of the Ford Sierra.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti on eBay

Continue reading

Cologne Compressor: 1991 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo

Before we move any further, yes, I know this is a Ford. Ford isn’t German, you’re sure to say, not even when they’re masquerading as Merkur. Right you’d be. However, allow me a bit of latitude; first, Henry Ford was I’m fairly confident the only American to receive the ‘Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle‘ from one Adolf Hitler. I always love to toss that one into a conversation should I be cornered with a true-blue American-devotee proudly wearing a Ford hat at a social function because he’s also a ‘car guy’. “You know Henry Ford was basically a Nazi, right? I mean, beyond hating the entire Jewish race, he was also a megalomaniac who wanted to create his own master race of workers. No, I’m not joking – it was called Fordlândia. Look it up.” The conversation usually ends quickly after that.

Too edgy?

Okay, how about this – Ford Europe’s headquarters is in Cologne, Germany. And they produce a fair amount of cars in Germany even today. Since we consider the Volkswagens built in Chattanooga and Westmoreland, the BMWs built in Spartanburg, and the Mercedes-Benz models bolted together in Alabama, I think we can deviate for a moment into a hot Ford.

So what Ford is it? In many ways, this is the perfect follow-up for the Quattro. Audi and SAAB helped to mainstream turbocharging, and by the 1980s it was almost expected in performance circles. That culminated in a wave of ever increasing performance hot hatchbacks that completely changed our perception of speed. As newer, faster models emerged, the technology increasingly filtered its way into lower-spec models until the results of all of the turbocharging basically were acknowledged to be wrecking the world’s environment. I call it ‘Trickle-down Turbonomics’. The result? The Fiesta RS Turbo you see here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

1986 Ford RS200

Now, before you start shouting at your screen that there’s a blue oval appearing here, I’m aware that Ford is an American-based company. I could go into theatrics about how we’re actually speaking a form of German to attempt to rationalize a Ford appearing on these pages, or I could point out that Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday – the only American to ever receive this award. Of course, that and Ford’s inclusion in Mein Kampf probably aren’t highlights in the storied history of the family or the company. But it does point towards Ford’s reach across the globe, and indeed the European branch of Ford is Ford of Europe AG, headquartered in Cologne, Germany. If that still isn’t German enough for you, let’s just say that once in a while something that’s partly non-German pops up that we’d like to cover. While usually that’s a Swedish car, today it’s a Ford. But this isn’t just any Ford, okay?

The RS200 was conceived in a world for a world that, by the time it came to fruition, no longer existed. Built to maximize the Group B rules, Ford spanned Europe looking for the best talent to make the RS200 a winner. The body of the car was Italian in design but assembled in France. The chassis and engine designs were perfected by Formula 1 aces in England. It was a winning formula that unfortunately was launched at an time of unprecedented speed and power in the World Rally Championship; a combination that proved deadly. Barely into competition, the FIA changed the governing rules in the WRC and immediately the RS200 was shelved. The result was a few hundred competition ready cars that were hugely expensive with nothing to compete in.

But like the Sport Quattro, 205 Turbo-16, 037 and Delta S4, the Group B cars have all experienced a resurgence in interest in the past decade and appreciation has gone from just a group of oddball, off-beat rally fans to the greater automotive community. The result has been spectacular pricing on models like this 1985 RS200:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Ford RS200 on eBay

Continue reading

Cosworth-off: Real v. Replicas

Is there a better known name across multiple marques than Cosworth? From the DFV formula one engine to Can-Am, Touring Cars to Rally, I can’t think of a more versatile or storied engine supplier. Just the other day, Paul took a look at an expensive and questions asked 1986 190E 2.3-16V Cosworth, and that got me thinking about some listings I’ve run across. Today, then, I have an interesting question and two very different cars that share one word – Cosworth. Both are legends in their own right and both are rare to see in the U.S.; and each for each model I have a valuable original and a replica. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16V Evolution II on eBay

Continue reading

1988 Merkur XR4Ti with 5,000 Miles

As enthusiasts, oddly we often lament new cars. Undoubtedly, newer models turn better, stop better and accelerate faster than most of the cars that they replace. They return better fuel economy, have more gears, and are generally more reliable. In a crash, they’ll save your life and some will even call the police for you. Impressive? Sure, without a doubt. But if I had a nickle for every time I heard how some enthusiast would rather have a brand new example of a car from their youth, I’d be a rich man. I’ve heard it from all sources; desire for a bullet-proof reliable new W126 S-Class, longing for a return of the real Quattro with locking differentials, dreams of finding a new E30 M3 or 3.2 Carrera. But if you’re a bit different, perhaps you’re one of the devoted Merkur fans – and your dream could be realized:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Merkur XR4TI on eBay

Continue reading

1984 Volkswagen Vanagon

$_57

VW vans are not usually known for their speed, with a few amazing skunkworks exceptions. There’s a reason my continent-traveling friend’s blog is titled 63mph – that’s about the best his Weekender can do on the highway. While those in search of more power usually go OEM+ or Subaru routes, this owner clearly does things his own way. He bought a 2.0l Ford Zetec crate engine pushing 130hp, as well as fabricating some fun bits himself like the bumpers and some funky wood interior panels. I happen to like the Mad Max-styling, especially the steel wheels. The Zetec is a completely new direction; can you handle a little American in your German?

Click for more details: 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon on eBay

Continue reading

1985 Merkur XR4Ti

It’s always interesting to see automakers test the US waters and offer intriguing models outside of the bread and butter lineup. Such was the case with Merkur, Ford’s attempt at capturing a bit of the Euro car buying public in the 1980s. Sold through Lincoln/Mercury dealers, two vehicles were on offer under this badge: the five-door Scorpio and the three-door XR4Ti we see here. Based on the Ford Sierra, this car had a 2.3 liter turbocharged four cylinder under the hood similar to the Mustang SVO’s powerplant. Combining decent power with hatchback practicality wasn’t enough to garner significant sales and after a few short years in the US, the brand was pulled from dealers. There are still a few of these captive imports running around today, like this XR4Ti for sale in Ohio that had an overhaul in 1999.

Year: 1985
Model: XR4Ti
Engine: 2.3 liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 161,000 mi
Price: Reserve auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Merkur XR4Ti on eBay

1985 XR4Ti 2.3 Turbocharged 5 speed. ***Near new car!!***

Mineral Blue with grey leather.

I have service records from Liberty Ford in Vermillion Ohio extensively mechanically restoring this car. One receipt alone is for 12960 dollars!! This receipts shows a full engine rebuild, new struts, rear end, turbo, and about 4 pages worth of other replacement parts. There are other receipts as well. The work done to this car makes it one of a kind. The work was done in 1999 with 148k on the odometer. The car now shows 162k and counting. Its like having a 27 year old car that is really only 14 years old and has 14k miles on it mechanically.

The paint is still very shiny and presents well, some minor wear and tear from age and user like dings, scraches. The paint on the spoiler does have some clear delaminating around the edges and the spoiler is also cracked by the windshield wiper arm. The wheels are refinished and look like new with new tires with only a few hundred miles on them.

In July 2013, the tires, calipers, rotors, pads, the AC receiver dryer, and expansion valve, blower motor rebuilt, and clutch quadrant were all replaced by the previous owner. The interior is in very good shape with reupholstered leather seats and a hard cover on the dash. There is wear and tear from age and use, some sun damage to plastics, headliner worn some, monor staining here and there, overall cleans up very well.

Its starts up and runs/shifts great, no noise from the rear end or transmission. This is a turn key ready to drive home car! AC blows very cold and heat is very hot! Heated seat option still works great also!

Rare, rear wheel drive European Ford, very much like a European Mustang. Quick, great handling, fun car that can be driven every day or kept as an investment. Great car!! Just drove on a trip to Michigan for work over 400 miles. Runs and drives excellent, would not hesitate to drive anywhere, any distance!! Excellent gas mileage also.

Bought for my daughter, but as a new driver she is having trouble with a manual and we want to get her an automatic. Consider partial trades of work truck, beaters, ATV, Motorcycles, non running, plus cash. Drive your beater to me and drive this classic turbo home!

Some things I am also interested in:

71-73 Vega Hatchback, Citation X-11, 1988 Fiero GT, Chevy LUV, Monza Mirage or Spyder, Corvair, 82 or 86 Mustang GT, 87-92 Mustang 5.0, other interesting trades considered.

Buyer responsible for shipping or pickup. I will deliver for 1.00 a mile round trip to you or to a shipping terminal for you, but please ask about price and availablity first. Any delivery costs must be paid up front along with the deposit. Good luck bidding!

Tom

An eBayer asked about a drivetrain vibration this car had, below is my answer.

“The special drive shaft set up was rebuilt and crossmember and trans bushings/mounts were replaced by the previous owner along with new tires, I believe thats everything he said he replaced/fixed. It runs pretty smooth, but there still a slight vibration over about 72 mph. I drove 400 miles on all highway speeds on a trip to Michigan and it was great up to that speed and not horrible after that. The previous owner said the only thing he did not swap was the rear u-joint, so mabye that would help clean it up. Thanks.”

One thing that always strikes me in the US is the excuses I hear for not learning how to drive a manual transmission. When I was learning how to drive, there was no automatic in the house and the refrain from my father was simple “you can learn to drive a manual or not drive at all.” If it were my kid and I bought a neat ride like this as basic transportation, well, this would be it. I wouldn’t be trading vehicles. Unless you were missing a leg or had other physical ailments, there’s really not much of an excuse to not master three pedals.

OK, off of my soapbox. It’s quite an impressive amount of money that’s been invested in this Merkur over the years, but at the end of the day, what do you have? A Ford that is not so rare on the other side of the pond. There’s been a fair amount of bidding activity on this one, but I would be surprised to see this car crest $4,500 or so, as that puts it into territory occupied by Audi Quattros and E30s of the day. Still a neat piece to reflect back on and wonder what might have been had more people taken an interest.

-Paul

1989 Ford Sierra Cosworth

Jeremy Clarkson said it best: “I love a fast Ford.” While I’m not the biggest Ford fanatic, there have been models from the Blue Oval that have caught my eye, specifically those from Europe. While the US market was given a taste of the bread and butter Ford Sierra in the form of the Merkur XR4Ti, we never got to sample some of the tastier examples, such as the RS Cosworth.

Beginning with a 2.0 liter four cylinder, the RS added a DOHC Cosworth head, Garrett turbocharger and intercooler for an output of around 200 hp. These models were built in Genk, Belgium by Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering Group. So, while this isn’t a true German vehicle, many ordinary Sierras emerged from the Cologne, Germany factory. One could consider this a relative of one of the most successful European Ford models of the 1980s.

1990 Ford Sierra Cosworth on eBay

You are bidding on a wonderfully preserved 22,432 miles 1989 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. Originally manufactured for the British market, it was imported to Japan when new and lived in a private collection until we imported it to Canada in 2004. Since it’s arrival in Canada it was added to my personal collection and it has been driven only 1,132 miles. It is now properly registered in British Columbia, Canada. This is a true 2 Liter Cosworth powered machine – 204HP mated to the Ford’s reliable T5 transmission propelling 2600lb chassis. The Exterior color is Moonstone Blue Metallic, the interior is Dark Gray Leather. As you can see from the pictures – the condition is “As New”. It is true “Museum” quality. The body is straight and there are no dents, the paint is original and in excellent condition. No corrosion anywhere, no curb marks on the wheels. The tires are as new. The interior is spotless, the leather is soft and supple, no tears or scruffs. The dash is in excellent condition, no cracks or warping. The carpets and headliner are as new. The stereo is Japanese market Sony with 10 disk CD changer mounted in the trunk. Everything works. The AC is ice cold. There are no oil leaks. The car is fully serviced and there are no mechanical issues. All fluids have been changed in 2011. Service records are available. This exiting automobile drives exceptionally well – power delivery is smooth and seamless. The transmission shifts smoothly and positively. The handling is neutral and controlled. The 4 piston brakes are race proven. The exhaust sound is intoxicating.

Complete safety and mechanical inspections were performed on this vehicle upon its importation from Japan: there are no oil leaks, all fluids and filters were replaced. All suspension bushings are good. Independent party pre-purchase inspection at your expense prior to bidding is welcomed and strongly encouraged.

As you can see from the pictures, this is one exceptional vehicle. Please, do not e-mail me with ridiculous offers, I will not respond to them. I will, however, answer all serious inquiries promptly and will provide all additional information serious buyers might require.

This vehicle is listed for sale locally. It can be viewed in our showroom in New Westminster, BC, Canada. Attention US bidders! As noted earlier, this vehicle was sold new in UK, which makes it non-compliant with US DOT. EPA does not get involved with vehicles that are 20 years old or older. Some modification may be required to make this car DOT compliant.

For me, this car is simply awesome. Cosworth engine, great color, amazing condition and smart stance. I like the fact that it is a sedan, as well. True, the styling is a bit more formal, but it sets it apart from the multitude of hatchback models on the used market. If only it weren’t for the shackles imposed on car enthusiasts by the United States government, this would be a car that I would seriously consider snapping up.

Recently, the British show Wheeler Dealers had a segment highlighting the Sierra Cosworth:

-Paul

1986 Ford Capri 2.8i

The 25 year rule that applies to cars not federalized to be sold in the United States is always in the back of my mind. What interesting vehicles could one conceivably import to the free world without having the federal government up your rear this particular year? Well, it’s been 25 years since the last Ford Capri rolled off the assembly line in Europe and I think it’s about time we featured one of these cars that Ford claimed “you always promised yourself.”

1986 Ford Capri 2.8i for sale on eBay UK

Ford Capri 2.8i Special, 3 Doors, Manual, Fastback, Petrol, 1986 D Reg, 24,817 miles, Metallic Silver, 2 Owners. Full Service History. The car has only covered 24k miles from new and is one of the most sought after cars of its type.

This car has 1/2 leather Recaro trim in excellent condition, 5 speed box, sunroof and original radio/cassette player. The car has also been wax oil treated. Alloy wheels, metallic paintwork, insurance Group 14. A totally outstanding vehicle in showroom condition averaging less than 1500 miles a year!!! Crazy but true! We would strongly advise on an early viewing. Please call with any questions relating to this vehicle. Viewings by appointment only. £13,995 ono

At today’s current exchange rate, the asking price is around $21,800. For a mid eighties Ford, that’s serious coin, especially when you consider one would have to include shipping costs to the States. For the dedicated Ford fan, it may not be much, but knocks it out of the running for your typical practical classic collector.

The car has a large following in the United Kingdom, as it could be considered their version of the Ford Mustang. Here is a clip from the video series The Car’s the Star, hosted by former Top Gear presenter Quentin Wilson with regards to the Capri’s evolution.

-Paul

1988 Merkur XR4Ti With 73k Miles

Sharing the same turbocharged, four cylinder engine with the rare Ford Mustang SVO, the Merkur XR4Ti was one of those captive imports that never quite caught on in the US market. Known as the Ford Sierra in other markets, this replacement for the Cortina and Taunus went on to campaign successfully in touring car and rally series racing. Here’s a clean, low mileage example that has been repainted in Virginia.

You’re bidding on a pristine Merkur XR4Ti with 73,887 original miles. Equipped with a 4 cylinder turbocharged engine and a smooth shifting 5 speed manual transmission. The vehicle has no major mechanical issues, it runs and drives great! The exterior of the vehicle has been repainted to its original color, pearl white and has no major flaws at all. The interior has all new carpet throughout and two newly re-upholstered front seats. This little Merkur has all the bells an whistles including: Power windows, factory A/C, CD player (aftermarket), cruise control, sunroof, leather seats, heated seats, and much more. Brand new tires and a fresh Virginia State Inspection this jewel is ready for it’s new owner!

With about a week left of bidding and a no reserve auction, this will be a good indication of where the market is these days for these cars. Personally, these aren’t the most desirable vehicles, but it could prove to be a cheap daily driver or an interesting subject at the next local European car meet.

-Paul