Junkyard Find: 1995 Mercury Tracer Trio

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1995 mercury tracer trio

Kicky appearance packages and vivid colors were all the rage among Detroit makers of cheap econoboxes during the late 1980s through middle 1990s, and so it became necessary for the Dearborn masterminds to create a Mercurized Ford Escort that would enthrall younger car shoppers. Thus was the Mercury Tracer Trio born. Here’s a screaming purple ’95, spotted in a Denver self-service yard.

The Trio package included these fender emblems and a decklid wing; the paint color appears to be Ultra Violet Metallic.

This car earned its keep, racking up close to a quarter-million miles during its 22 years of service.

This car is a Mazda under the skin, being a sibling to the Protegé, but the engine comes straight from Ford. This is the 1.9-liter, 88-horsepower version of the CVH four-cylinder, a Michigan-built engine with European ancestry.

Mercury Sables got an illuminated plastic grille insert (which usually yellowed and cracked after a few years), but the Tracer got a non-illuminated plastic grille insert (which usually yellowed and cracked after a few years).

The original 1980s Tracer was based on the Australian-market, Mazda 323-based Ford Laser; it didn’t sell well in the United States, but that didn’t stop the Mercury Division from reviving the name for the Escort-based Tracer.

These horrible automatic seat belts were pure maddening misery, especially the oft-recalled Mazda ones like this. The best that can be said about them is that they weren’t as bad as the seat belt interlock systems required for US-market 1974 cars.

“It’s gotta have a serious sound system!”

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  • Webibeay Webibeay on Jan 16, 2018

    Hard to believe I actually owned 2 of these... a 93' Automatic which i purchased used with 3,000 miles on it, and when it proceeded to fall apart after 2 years, a '95 5 speed Tracer Trio. The '95 drove great and moved along quite well with the stick, but also proceeded to fall apart after 2 years and I traded it on a Subaru.... The '93 was a true POS, the '95 was nicer but in the end the same.... you can put lipstick on a pig... but it's still a pig!!!!

  • CarOli CarOli on Jan 19, 2018

    Wasn't the "Trio" a package that included three expensive (on their own) options like AC, Cassette deck, and Alloy wheels or something like that?

    • ColoradoFX4 ColoradoFX4 on Feb 13, 2018

      I think it was basically Mercury's version of the Escort Sport, which included the same options you mention, along with a driver's airbag (before they were federally mandated). But I'm not sure the Escort Sport was ever offered for the 4-door, just the 3- and 5-door.

  • Dusterdude When there is a strike the union leadership talk about “brothers and sisters “ . They should give up that charade . Bottom line is they are trying to wring out every last penny they can and could care less ( putting it politely) about the future of the industry 5 - 10 years+ down the road
  • Ronin They all will back off, because the consumer demand is not there. Even now the market is being artificially propped up by gov subsidies.
  • Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.