Cohort Outtake: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti – Importiert Aus Köln

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When was the last time you saw one of these? This pristine 1988 Merkur XR4Ti was found and posted to the CC Cohort by Constantine Hannaher. It looks brand new and has obviously been well-cared for by its owner(s) – the current owner even has “XR4” vanity plates. Something about the location and line of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters in the background make the Merkur look like it just arrived new off the boat from Germany (albeit 25 years late).

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I like these cars a lot, if anything for their rarity and uniqueness. The front end is my favorite styling feature. The headlights and lack of traditional grille make it look modern, yet definitively ’80s. Unlike many captive imports, Ford actually gave Merkur its own logo. Things get a little weird around back with the double rear windows, but overall I think it succeeds in making the hatchback roofline look sportier.

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1988 XR4Tis received a simpler spoiler, replacing the two-tiered one for previous years. I think it gives it a more simple, Euro elegant look instead of rallye-ready like the ’85-’87s. Sadly, for a number of reasons (more details here) Merkur and the XR4Ti didn’t catch on. Regardless, I think they were good-looking and interesting little cars. If I had the money and space to collect cars, a Merkur XR4Ti like this would easily be one of the first ones I’d get. I’ll take mine in red please!

BTW, in case you don’t know German, the title translated means “Imported from Cologne”. It’s a play on Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit”, as Cologne, Germany is where Ford of Europe’s headquarters is located.