Curbside Outtake: 1988 or 1989 Mercury Tracer – Looks Familiar

1988 1989 Mercury Tracer

It’s been a while since I saw a gen1 Tracer, so let’s stop and admire this relic from the time that Ford first started using the Mazda 323 as a basis for a US car. It was something of a trial run for the gen 2 Escort and Tracer.

Strictly speaking, it was a badge-engineered Ford Laser, that was a 323 derivative for Ford to sell in the Asia-Pacific market. But it was a Mazda in disguise. Somewhat oddly, the three-door hatchbacks were assembled in Hiroshima by Mazda and the five doors were built in Hermosillo, Mexico by Ford. Multicultural. There was also a wagon; where was that built? In Korea?



Under the hood was the Mazda 1.6 L four. And I just suddenly remembered that we rented one on our trip to Alaska in 1988. We were staying with my sister in Anchorage for that part of the trip, and rented one to explore the Kenai Peninsula. Wonderful trip; great memories. The Tracer left rather few of those. It did the job in that rather forgettable way, as it was so typical of its breed: competent but not really outstanding. I suspect Mercury softened up the suspension some. It was the same blue too.


Looks like a pink worm, or part of one anyway, has become its hood ornament.


It also looks like this has become the transport of someone’s life possessions. That’s certainly not uncommon.


And the door looks like someone might have tried to jimmy it open. Or something like that.

Maybe it’s the same car we rented in Alaska. Stranger things have happened.