Cohort Classic: 1989 Mercury Tracer – The Almost Forgotten One

The first generation Tracer is easy to forget, given that it was only sold here for a couple of years (1987 – 1989). But Andrew Turnbull has been on a mission to shoot and document them, as one was his first car. In his words:

The Tracer was a true international vehicle; a Japanese Mazda design sharing details with the Australian-market Ford Laser and built in Mexico explicitly for sale in North America. 1988 and early 1989 model Tracers have a chrome stripe on the rub strip and bumpers, while late 1989 models have a red stripe. Given that the Tracer wasn’t exactly a brisk seller, dealers were selling leftover 1989 models well into the next year before the redesigned 1991 model was available.

More of his collection and comments:

Regarding this one, Andrew says:

This is a 1989 Mercury Tracer station wagon: A rare car by any measure, but one all the more coincidental for being an exact clone in appearance to the first car I drove. Even the paint peel-prone alloy wheels look identical on this car. Alas, what keeps this particular example from being a perfect clone is a mechanical detail: A quick peer inside confirmed that it was saddled with a 3-speed automatic rather than the 5-speed manual transmission that I shifted in my younger years…

I rented one of these in Alaska once. Much better than the Escort-clone Lynx indeed. Maybe the Tracer was a test to see how it would be to have the gen2 Escort be based on the Mazda 323 too?