CC Outtake: 1988-89 Merkur XR4Ti


600 Merkur 1

Only two blocks from the Washington, DC street parking space once occupied for 15 years by a svelte Citroen SM, this early aerodynamic car from another decade appeared recently.  Rare in the area when new and practically never seen three decades later, the Merkur XR4Ti had many shortcomings, but this particular example with shiny paint, no visible rust, and a stepladder lashed to its roof appears to be in excellent condition.

600 Merkur 2

Lacking the distinctive biplane spoiler used in early examples marks this as a 1988 or 1989.  The rear of the car also indicates that this car may have been spent part of its life in its native Germany, based on the German license plate on the rear shelf.  Regardless of its history, whoever owns a Merkur XR4Ti in this condition in 2014 clearly is an enthusiast and who has learned to enjoy the relatively unloved car’s strengths (as indicated by the “Got boost?” sticker next to the nameplate) and live with its weaknesses.  The condition of the rear bumper is the only apparent flaw of a car that has quite notably beaten the odds.