For this ’80s Flashback, we’re really going “deep ’80s.” Remember the Merkur XR4Ti, Ford Motor Company’s “captive import”? Merkur was the short-lived American-market version of the European Ford Sierra, which was built in Germany. It was sold in Lincoln-Mercury dealers and lasted just five model years in the U.S.—from 1985 to ’89. The short lifespan is not surprising; it’s hard to imagine the über-Euro Merkur luring many Continental or Grand Marquis intenders, and those shoppers who could be swayed had a hard time justifying a $17,000 XR4Ti over a well-equipped $14,000 Mercury Sable LS.
So, any Merkur was scarce then and much scarcer now. But let’s get really obscure—all-but-forgotten B-side obscure—and unearth another gem from our Consumer Guide photo archives: the aftermarket-tuned Rapido Merkur XR4Ti.
The Rapido Group, then in Placentia, California, could outfit a Merkur with the best in Euro-inspired performance and appearance upgrades. Rapido still exists today, serving what must be a pretty small group of Merkur enthusiasts, but these shots are all real-deal late ’80s vintage stuff.
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