Though it no longer has the same name recognition as it had in the past, anyone that owned a Merkur knew how the marque was all the rage in the 80\'s. Founded in 1985, Merkur tapped into the America\'s craze for European luxury car imports in the 1980\'s, developing and manufacturing high-end vehicles in Germany. However, the craze didn\'t last long; after just five years, Merkur discontinued production, making it one of the shortest-lived automobile brands in history.
Although its time in the limelight was brief, the Merkur name still lives on through the cars that bear its nameplate. Thanks to the quality of their manufacture and design, many Merkur automobiles still roam the streets. Aftermarket Merkur parts are also widely available, with many Internet retailers offering Merkur parts online at reasonable prices.
The German Mercury
The Merkur was the brainchild of Ford\'s Lincoln-Mercury division . its name itself is the German version of the word .Mercury. . developed in response to the shift in American buyer preferences from traditional American luxury brands to European-produced cars in the early 1980\'s. Whether it\'s the exotic feel or the comparatively high level of engineering found in European cars, the Merkur brand was launched in 800 dealers across the US and Canada, offering vehicles made in Ford\'s assembly lines in Germany. This is why authentic Merkur automobiles have, under the Merkur badge, the script stating .Ford Werke AG-Cologne, West Germany. as its place of origin.
Merkur rolled only two models in its lifetime, and the first was the XR4Ti. A compact 3-door hatchback, the Merkur XR4Ti was hand-built with performance in mind. Aside from its no-nonsense grille-less fascia, the XR4Ti was distinguishable for its turbocharged Lima four-cylinder SOHC engine, independent rear suspension, and its distinct bi-plane spoiler. These features gave the car superior horsepower output . up to 175 hp . compared to its peers with matching steering and ground-hugging characteristics. In fact, the XR4Ti was so good at the highway that it was also used in professional racetrack, with race-tuned XR4Tis participating in and winning awards in 24 Hours of Daytona, the Trans Am Series, and touring events around the world.
Aside from performance, the XR4Ti were also fitted with innovative Merkur parts and Merkur accessories that were later adopted by other luxury cars, including heater cores, an ergonomic dashboard, and dynamic steering racks.
The second offering under the Merkur lineup, the Merkur Scorpio is a 4-door fastback designed to provide car buyers a sportier alternative to the classic sedan design. The Scorpio was well known for being identical with one another, with virtually all production models having the same standard features including four-speed overdrive automatic transmission and automatic climate control. Even the so-called optional touring package upgrade was included in every Scorpio sold. In addition, unlike US-made vehicles the Scorpio featured a high security Tibbe key in the ignition. This key was more difficult to duplicate compared to the standard ignition key and had additional functionality such as a built-in micro flashlight.
Today, Merkur parts for the Scorpio are the easiest to find in the market although custom components are sourced from Europe.