Merkur was one of Ford’s ideas between 1985 and 1989 to introduce European products to the American market. One of these models was the XR4Ti – a sports coupe based on the Ford Sierra.
JH Restorations decided to take this car into its workshop and presented its idea for its modern version.
Jesse Henke of JH Restorations knew this XR4Ti from high school. It belonged to his friend. After several ownership changes, Henke finally acquired the vehicle and worked for over three years on the restomod, which was unveiled at the recent SEMA show.
Construction began with the plan to replace the original 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a Ford EcoBoost unit. However, the new motor was much taller than the original, which forced the team to add a huge bulge in the hood. The rest of the body was then customized for a more aggressive look.
JH Restorations created a custom body kit. New elements include: splitter. Flared wheel arches make the Merkur 4.0 inches wider. At the rear there is a high spoiler with a central support, similar to the European Sierra RS Cosworth model. The color chosen is Ford Area 51 Blue.
The souped-up EcoBoost four-cylinder engine produces approximately 475-500 horsepower, while the original engine had 175 horsepower. The suspension comes from a Ford Mustang SN95 from the 1990s.
If you like the outside, you’ll love the inside. JH Restorations found a roll of blue 1980s Recaro fabric and used it to upholster the seat centers and door panels. Blaupunkt audio looks like from that era, but in fact it is a modern system with Bluetooth and a USB port. The custom gauge console comes from Dakota Digital and was inserted in place of the original gauges. The dashboard received a leather trim in light blue, matching the rest of the cabin.
Construction of the car was completed just before the SEMA show. Therefore, the Merkur has not yet been road tested.