Junkyard Find: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1988 merkur xr4ti

The Merkur XR4Ti (turbo-Pinto-engined Ford Sierra XR4i to you European types) wasn’t selling so well by the 1988 model year, but enough were built that I was able to find this example in a Northern California wrecking yard. In fact, this is just the second XR4Ti in this series, after this ’89 from two years back.

Quite a few of these cars compete in the 24 Hours of LeMons, in spite of their well-known proclivity for breaking down early and often under the strain of endurance racing.

Without the distinctive double spoiler, the ’88 and ’89 XR4Tis don’t stand out from the crowd quite as much as the earlier cars.

Perhaps this car would have sold better in the United States if the Argentina-market advertising had been used.

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Sep 05, 2014

    The XR4Ti was the ford turbo they got right. The first version was in the very first fox bodied Mustangs. No intercooler, carburetor fed, four speed manual. What a disaster. The engine would load up with gas in hot weather, as it was a "draw though" design. The four speed trans in the Stang had very poorly chosen ratios. Many of the tests of the time told you to forget the Mustang turbomotor and that the Merkur motor was "fixed". My mom had one (stang). The only good thing was the TRX tires, which, at the time, were an improvement. I always like this car, oddball division.....

    • Gsf12man Gsf12man on Sep 05, 2014

      No intercooler on the XR4Ti, either, unfortunately. When I got my second XR4Ti, I put a Rapido intercooler on it, which made it pull like a mad thing on boost. Not that it was weak in the knees before that. Some minor Rapido suspension bits, KYB shocks and struts, a Sierra Cosworth RS steering wheel—I wish I still had that car! A real nickel-and-dimer but the engine was essentially bulletproof. The Sierra/Merkur is still in my top three favorite designs.

  • Kosmo Kosmo on Sep 05, 2014

    I traded in a Saab 900 on a lightly used, corporate driven Scorpio with 7,000 miles and some superman warranty from Ford. Went to test drive a new Taurus SHO. Great engine, but still a Taurus, and saw 4 Scorpios sitting on the lot at slightly less than half of sticker. Ford had decided to quit selling them, and required the corporate guys to turn them in and drive "what we sell". I loved that car. Underpowered, and undershocked (hooray for adjustable Konis), and that is the end of the criticisms. Big, quiet, smooth, RWD, hatchback, kick-a$$ stereo and on and on. When I eventually traded it in for another Saab, the small dealer said he was reluctant to take it, but two of the mechanics really wanted to buy it themselves. Deal done. One of the few cars that I continue to miss long after moving on.

  • TheEndlessEnigma That's right GM, just keep adding to that list of reasons why I will never buy your products. This, I think, becomes reason number 69, right after OnStar-Cannot-Be-Disabled-And-It-Comes-Standard-Whether-Or-Not-You-Want-It and Screw-You-American-Car-Buyer-We-Only-Make-Trucks-And-SUVs.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Does this not sound and feel like the dawn of ICE automobiles in the early 20th century, but at double or triple speed speed!!There were a bunch of independent car markers by the late 1910’s. By the mid 20’s, we were dropping down to 10 or 15 producers as Henry was slashing the price of the Model T. The Great Depression hit, and we are down to the big three and several independents. For EVs, Tesla bolted out of the gate, the small three are in a mad dash to keep up. Europe was caught flat footed due to the VW scandal. Lucid, Lordstown, & Rivian are scrambling to up production to generate cash. Now the EV leader has taken a page from the Model T and is slashing prices putting the rest of the EV market in a tail spin. Deja vu……
  • Michael Eck With those mods, I wonder if it's tuned...
  • Mike-NB2 I'm not a Jeep guy, but I really, really like the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept.
  • William I'm a big fan of 70s Lincolns. I really liked the 1980s Mark Vl. I thought it was very classy, and I never thought of it as a restyled Town Car. I did own a 1990 LSC, it was black over black leather interior. I loved the LSC as soon as they were introduced. I loved the sound of the duel exhaust, I thought it fit the car perfectly. I never had any problems with it. The 5.0 is a great engine, and never had any issues with the air suspension system. It had the the analog dash and I made good use of the message center. I highly recommend this Mark. The black paint and interior fit the car and me perfectly.