Abandoned History: Ford's Cruise-O-Matic and the C Family of Automatic Transmissions (Part VI)
We return to the final entry in our Cruise-O-Matic and C transmission series, at a time when the former’s Fifties-tastic name had faded from the memory of most. The C family was the wave of the future when it arrived as a rework of the Cruise-O-Matic in 1964. The first of the line was the C4, a medium-duty box that was followed two years later by the heavy-duty C6.
Read more
Rare Rides: The 1988 Merkur Scorpio, a Luxury Liftback for Nobody

Rare Rides broached the subject of Merkur in the past with a very clean XR4Ti. Today we have a look at Merkur’s only other offering — the luxurious liftback called Scorpio.

Read more
Rare Rides: This Merkur XR4Ti From 1989 Is Pristine

Imagine you’re an American auto executive in the 1980s, looking on in desperation as all the youthful and wealthy customers head almost solely to BMW showrooms for their sports-oriented sedans and coupes.

Now imagine you work at Ford, and you’ve decided to do something about it. By the way, you’re Bob Lutz right now.

It’s Merkur time.

Read more
QOTD: What Was the Most Awesome Car at Your High School?

It’s been a couple of weeks since we took a stroll down memory lane together. I asked you in May about the worst car you could recall in your high school parking lot. The incoming responses made it seem like our enthusiast B&B members were often aware they were the winner of the bad car blue ribbon in school. That speaks to our level of enlightenment and self-awareness. Think of how many people go through life not ever realizing how bad their cars are.

For today though, we run away from the rust buckets and 75-horsepower Malaise Wonders. I want to hear about the most awesome car in your high school lot.

Read more
Crapwagon Outtake: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti

A few months ago, I lamented how Blue Oval enthusiasts never got the “good stuff” from Europe. When all we saw here was powered by pushrod-laden V-8 lumps, the “sophisticates” to our East could buy high-revving, twin-cam fours in light, sturdy, rally-and-race proven sedans.

I was wrong. For a few short years, Merkur set up shop in Mercury dealers, trying to sell Americans a Cologne version of performance. However, most recall Merkur as “the car with the funny name and the funny wing.”

Read more
TTAC Project Car: Sacrifice to The Sierra Gods!

Merkur? ZOMG SANJEEV Y U NO LS1-FTW?

No surprise, the auto journo that insists on everything LS-swapped is actually a big ol’ fraud. Do as he says, not as he does with TTAC’s Project Car — a 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia previously reviewed with the promise of more to come.

Promises: kept.

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1989 Merkur Scorpio Touring Edition

Now here’s a rare one: a 1989 Merkur Scorpio. While the Merkur XR4Ti (a rebadged Ford Sierra XR4i) sold well enough that most of us have seen one, the other Merkur— a rebadged Ford Scorpio— flopped miserably and sank without leaving much of a trace. This ’89, which I found on Half Price Day in a Denver yard, is the first Scorpio I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years.

Read more
Capsule Review: 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia 2.0

“Wait! Is that a…”

“Are you British?”

“I haven’t seen one of these since I left Venezuela as a teenager, only rich people had Sierras!”

Behold random responses from gawkers of TTAC’s Project Car. The surprises continue after several hundred miles under the Ford Sierra’s belt, as life with this fish out of water is far from a compromise.

Read more
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.

Read more
TTAC Project Car: Citizen Sierra

It’s been a while since our last update on TTAC’s intercontinental project car: a UK-spec 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia finished in Rio Brown. Since then the Sierra’s gifted creator passed away and more positively, Ford wisely ditched its Titanium trim level for a famous name befitting a premium offering with brown paint…even if it isn’t Ghia.

Jealous much of TTAC’s sweet ride, FoMoCo?

Read more
Vellum Venom: Uwe Bahnsen, Car Designer, RIP

Never forget: people make all the difference. This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and every American who loved cars in the 1980s.

How ironic that Mr. Bahnsen’s passing was the week TTAC’s own Ford Sierra passed its citizenship test in Texas: so here’s a great Germanic-Texas Beer for you, Mr. Bahnsen.

Read more
Junkyard Find: 1989 Merkur XR4Ti

Every so often during the 1970s and 1980s, the suits in Detroit had an inspiration: Take one of the corporation’s European-market vehicles, throw some new badges at it, and sell it in the United States. Chrysler did it with the Hillman Avenger aka Plymouth Cricket, GM did it with the Opel Kadett aka Buick Opel, and Ford did it with the Ford Capri aka “the Capri.” While these deals never worked out so well when it came to the bottom line (though the Simca-derived Omnirizon did pretty well for Chrysler), Ford didn’t give up on the idea. Bob Lutz decided that a Mercury-badged Ford Sierra with a turbocharged Pinto engine would be just the ticket for stealing BMW customers: the Merkur XR4Ti.

Read more
  • Inside Looking Out Ford also was bankrupt with his first company that became The Standard of the World.
  • 28-Cars-Later If only some kind of gasoline/electric... hybrid... existed.
  • Wjtinfwb Cool cars that drover pretty well, thank to the Benz bits underneath. But that interior.... Chrysler must have sourced interior materials to Lego or Mattel. I spent a week in a rented 300 Touring of this vintage, very enjoyable car to drive but the interior would have made an old Isuzu i-Mark blush. No sale at any price.
  • Wjtinfwb The airport I fly out of and frequently rent from when driving (VPS) has no facilities for charging an EV. It's just an open, unsecured lot that requires getting the agreement and keys from the counter in the terminal. I doubt Hertz would want to invest in the infrastructure needed to add Hi-speed EV charging stations in an open air, unsecured lot. Bigger airports like Atlanta or Baltimore have dedicated garage facilities for rentals, but the majority of secondary or tertiary markets airports are open air lots like mine in NW Florida. Plus, unless you're planning on only driving a few miles a day who wants to deal with finding an EV charge station that is working then standing around for hours while Hertz's car gets recharged. Rental EV's are The answer to the question no one asked.
  • Sgeffe Haven’t had any urgent safety issues under recalls in my 28 years of driving Hondas, so in the event something comes out, I’ll usually see when the dealer might have time in the next month or so, then go from there.I’ve been fortunate in that my cars have had proper airbags, or have been traded or sold away before the recalls were issued for the vehicles.