Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/31/12 1:10 p.m.

I've bought a complete basket case car in order to built it into an noncompetitive rallycross/autocross machine. It is local to me (about 1.5 miles away) and I've seen it driving around now and then in the past. I've told my wife that if I ever saw it for sale, I'd buy it.

So I did. Price paid: $500, as the car is in "one step away from the junkyard" condition. That's good, as I won't feel bad about stripping it out and using it as a dedicated fun toy. The deal includes some suspension parts (new in box), a couple of spare heads (including a Volvo head, apparently this is a good thing?), poly bushings and some other crap.

Pictures to follow and a complete inventory when the car is in my possession.

Plans: Keep turbo? Ztec swap? Go crazy and find a supercharged 3 litre Ford engine and put that in there?

WHO KNOWS? All I know is that I'm going to have to make a hole in the garage for this and spend a lot of time figuring out what the berkeley I've gotten myself into.

WhiteLX Reader
10/31/12 3:58 p.m.

probably the easiest and most reliable is going to be a 5.0L swap. I kinda wish I had done that instead of building the 2.3 turbo. Although the 2.3 is quick with everything I have done and a bit of fun, the tuning aspect is enough to make me pull my hair out. The 5.0 drops right in and can even use Fox Mustang headers (although you need to make or buy the engine brackets).


Merkur Club of America


ClemSparks PowerDork
10/31/12 4:01 p.m.

First's not a Mercury Merkur XR4Ti.

it's just a Merkur XR4Ti

Nitpicky, but you need to know this.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/31/12 4:36 p.m.

Alright, I concede the point, since Merkur means Mercury, it is a bit redundant the way I had the title on there.

After I got back from buying this thing, a profound sense of "WTF have I done now?" has settled in, mostly because it is partially disassembled and besides not being too rusty, is in rough shape.

Still, the fun quotient in this thing could be quite high. The key is going to be doing it for $2013.

I've got $1513 left to go!

ClemSparks PowerDork
11/1/12 2:08 p.m.

It sounds like you've got a good pile of parts (that you either won't have to buy or could sell to recoup some challenge money) also.

Looking forward to photos!

They generally didn't rust too bad (something about galvanized bodies). There is a lot of luxo-crap that can be stripped out to get the weight and overall complexity down.

One route to follow would be to just do all the cheap turbo boost tricks and bring an extra head gasket with you to the challenge

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/1/12 2:53 p.m.

I forgot to mention this, but it was in the ad: the car comes with the T-5 transmission and rear disk conversion already done.

As with any modification to a car I've bought, I'll be going in to check "how well?" when the car is at my house.

spin_out Reader
11/2/12 8:30 a.m.

Spend the time and one could have a competitive Challenge car.

Gasoline Dork
11/2/12 9:00 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy:

Cool! Build Away! I'm along for the ride and support!

erohslc HalfDork
11/2/12 5:47 p.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy:

So if the T-5 conversion is done, is the old T-9 available?

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/2/12 6:39 p.m.

Only the T-5 in the car, sorry.

Car arrived a little while ago. Tomorrow during daylight I'll take some pictures. All I've done so far is empty out a full 33 gallon bag full of trash from it.

Scored 4 16" polished wheels from a Cougar in a junkyard for $80, though. No center caps, though.

While I'm there, I'm probably going to pull the two fronts seats out of the VW Trek edition that is there and see if I can adapt them to fit into the Merkur. Otherwise, spare set of seats for the VW!

There are also two 4 cylinder Foxbody Mustangs (both automatic, though) that might get looked at once I research what I might be able to use on the Merkur.

I also desperately need a steering wheel for it. More research to do.

Datsun310Guy UberDork
11/2/12 8:37 p.m.

I remember when these came out and the yuppie neighbor bought one.

X = what?
R = RWD.
4 cylinder.
T = turbo.
i = injected.

mrwillie HalfDork
11/2/12 10:49 p.m.

pics or it didnt happen.....

pres589 SuperDork
11/3/12 9:17 a.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy:

The R doesn't stand for RWD. XR2 Capri and XR3 Escort are examples of FWD XR cars from Ford. They also had 4cyl engines.

erohslc HalfDork
11/3/12 4:57 p.m.

The same guys who write the political ads also figure out car names.
IOW, truth and consistency has nothing to do with it. ;)

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/3/12 7:59 p.m.

Pics will come.

The Trek seats wouldn't have worked in the Merkur because they don't have the little level to let them tip forward.

If I use VW seats, I'm going to have to get them out of a 3 door model, not a 5 door.

donalson GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/3/12 11:43 p.m.

if I recall right John Brown put ZX2 escort seats in a merk and said it worked out really well... but I don't know any specifics as that was 4 or 5 years ago i'd guess

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/29/12 4:22 p.m.

This car is going to go back up for sale, and the project is going to be abandoned. It might have been neat, but I think I need a Miata. No, I never thought I would say those words.

Spoolpigeon HalfDork
12/29/12 9:44 p.m.

Here's a bit of inspiration for you:

302 swapped with a T5. Pretty cool car I must say, and all of his runs looked like this one lol

Raze SuperDork
12/30/12 10:37 a.m.

That's too bad, but having been in your shoes and gone all the way from basket case to what my buddies and I built I'd say I totally understand. Really a T5 swap and rear brake conversion costs more than what you paid for the car.

Gasoline Dork
12/30/12 2:25 p.m.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/30/12 7:50 p.m.

If nobody buys it outright, I might part it out. I don't want to do that, I'd prefer to see it live again.

Raze SuperDork
12/30/12 7:57 p.m.

What parts are on the car (suspension, which rear-disc brake, which T5, interior, turbo, head(s), rear diff, wheels, and how much you looking for?

ClemSparks PowerDork
1/2/13 2:39 p.m.

I'm happy you're far from me...kind of. I have plenty of projects going on without getting back into XR4Ti territory.

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