Merkur was Ford’s effort from 1985 to 1989 to bring European products to the United States as premium offerings. One of these models was the XR4Ti – a sports coupe that the company adapted from the Old Continent’s Sierra. This amazing restomod from JH Restorations takes the car and imagines how a modern version might look.
Jesse Henke from JH Restorations has known about this XR4Ti since high school. It belonged to a buddy, and they wrenched on their cars together. After changing hands a few times, Henke eventually acquired the vehicle and spent over three years building this restomod that just premiered at the SEMA Show.
The build started with a plan to replace the original turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder with a Ford EcoBoost four-pot crate engine. However, the new powerplant was far taller than the original, which forced the team to add a massive bulge in the hood. Then, it was necessary to modify the rest of the exterior to match the meaner look.
JH Restorations scanned the whole car and created a custom body kit. The parts include a front chin spoiler that sticks out below the nose. The widened fenders make the Merkur 4.0 inches wider. The rear features a tall wing with a center-mounted support similar to the piece on the European-market Sierra RS Cosworth. The color is Ford’s Area 51 blue.
The tuned EcoBoost four-cylinder makes around 475 to 500 horsepower, whereas the original engine has 175 hp. The suspension comes from the SN95 Mustang from the 1990s because there’s far more aftermarket support than what’s available for a Merkur.
If you like the exterior, you’re going to love the interior. JH Restorations found a bolt of blue Recaro fabric from the 1980s and used it to upholster the center sections of the seats and door panels. The Blaupunkt stereo looks period-correct but is actually a modern unit with Bluetooth and a USB plug. The custom gauge cluster is from Dakota Digital and fits into the spot for the original instruments. The dashboard gets a leather wrap in a light blue color to match the rest of the cabin.
If there’s a negative thing about this build, it’s that JH Restorations only completed the car just before SEMA. The company hasn’t had a chance to take the Merkur on the road yet. We look forward to seeing a video of the RS4Ti on the road.