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A Canadian racing tribute: Group EH!

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  • A Canadian racing tribute: Group EH!

    Gentlemen! (and ladies if youíre here) Welcome to another nostalgic car that while is not Japanese actually does share some prestige on the island from Its successor and some will argue that it helped create the legend that is Godzilla. But more on that in a bit because I should start at the beginning and explain that what I just said might be a bit of a reachÖ
    Being in North America has its perks. Unless you love European cars and have a tight budget that precludes you from importing something. Thankfully over the years there has been a little bleed through and experimenting by manufacturers and my current and most recent acquisition is exactly that!

    Behold the forgotten, the ignored, the overshadowed and now somewhat rare Merkur XR4Ti! (below isnít mine, thatíll be post 2 to match my 924 post)

    And of course, I like cars that have racing pedigree (no not the dog food). Hereís where this gets pretty cool on these cars for geeks like me. The XR4Ti was raced in North America in 1984 a full year before its chassis mate the Sierra Cosworth and Cosworth RS500 were raced worldwide.

    Although it didnít take out its championship in IMSA until 1988 (and arguably was just a shell on a space frame chassis) the XR4Ti found itself homologated for race duty in DTM and the BTCC where it took out the 1985 BTCC crown at the hands of Andy Rouse.

    Hereís where I get to start reaching. As previously mentioned the XR4Ti is effectively the same chassis as its European counterpart the Ford Sierra. Now those cars got lucky and ended up going under the knife at the hands of Cosworth (and lesser known Tickford) to be turned into the ultimate Group A weapon.

    The Cosworth RS500 became the defacto choice in the BTCC for their Class A races. It also took out championships in the DTM, ATCC and the JTCC (Super GTís predecessor). However the while it matched and beat the like of the Mercedes 2.3-16 Cosworth, BMW E30 M3 and the Nissan Skyline R31 GTS-T. The introduction of the R32 GT-R however was too much for the little RWD Sierra to handle.

    Ford even put the Sierra Cosworth into the rally world as they had nothing else on hand to fill the gap after Group B was ended.

    So while I may be reaching a bit in comparing my pedestrian North American spec XR4Ti to the awesome Sierra Cosworth RS500 but thatís all just motivation for the plans that I have for my car which you lot will get to see in my next post coming up soon!

    Bonus image:

  • #2
    Excellent. My partners grandfather worked for Ford at Dagenham motors, were about 15-20 miles away. Plenty of them still going, all smell like theyíre burning oil!
    If you need any help getting parts out the UK send me a PM.
    Iíve probably got pictures of some racing at goodwood.
    P510 Bluebird SSS Coupe


    • #3
      Post two! Where I show off my junk and attempt to explain what my damage actually is. Of course, Iíll fail at that but it should be a good time for all involved.
      This past year I learned something about myself. Every time I go through a break up I buy a junk car that I really want. A bunch of years ago I bought a rusted out í72 240Z because I wanted it and it was pretty cheap. Because of the body work required I havenít done anything with that but hey, theyíre climbing slowly in price so I can sit on it. As for this last break up I bought a busted up 1987 Merkur XR4Ti that wouldnít move under its own power for a whopping $500.

      Of course being as it didnít move I was taking it on faith that the kid I bought it from had a clue about what he was dealing with when he told me that it was the clutch that went on it. So I chuck it up on the hoist and pull the transmission out to discover that it was in fact the clutch!

      And what a clutch destruction it was! The inside of the bell housing looked like a bird was trying to nest in there. Sadly I missed taking a picture of that but it was something. I got right to putting it all back together.

      Now I had big plans to take care of some other more minor issues over the winter like stopping it from leaking out of everywhere and stripping the interior and start prepping to put a cage in but it snowed so much this year that the damn thing got buried and sat waiting right up until this week.

      Thatís where Iím at right now with it, it moves, runs fairly well and in the next post Iíll tell you all about why these things may be the bargain of the century if youíre in the USA or Canada
      Cheers Guys!


      • #4
        Originally posted by KiKiIchiBan View Post
        Excellent. My partners grandfather worked for Ford at Dagenham motors, were about 15-20 miles away. Plenty of them still going, all smell like they’re burning oil!
        If you need any help getting parts out the UK send me a PM.
        I’ve probably got pictures of some racing at goodwood.

        Thanks man! I may have to tap you as a resource for some performance suspension as any availability for that on this side of the pond is scarce. Almost everything else is actually pretty well looked after here and the engine... Well I'll be getting to that in my next post.


        • #5
          Welcome back and hereís round three of all the things I want to talk about before we can dig into this little beast and make it into a track car.

          In my last post I said something I truly believe. The Merkur is (for gear heads) probably the bargain of the century. On the surface you have a very comfortable car with reasonable suspension and plenty of power for the layman. But if you scratch below the surface youíll find a car that has an incredible amount of modification documented to turn these cars into incredible speed machines. The Engine.

          This beauty is Fordís 2.3L SOHC in its turbocharged form. Of course we all did a little turbo in the 80ís, I mean I was doing it, you were doing it, hell your aunt Ednas dog was doing it. So itís no surprise that Ford also was sticking the mechanical inhaler on to their pedestrian motors.

          Now much like the JDM guys complain about getting the detuned or lesser versions of their favorite cars Ford did the same thing to the Merkur. Europe got the incredibly engineered 2.0L Cosworth designed DOHC YB engine.

          Luckily in the intervening few decades though, the performance gap has been narrowed by intrepid and crafty businesses and enthusiasts. So as my journey into creating my own personal homage to my favorite Group A race cars of the 80ís and early 90ís.

          Stay boosted my friends!