Ultra rare Ford 'Sierra-that-wasn't' Group A touring car goes up for sale


An extremely rare precursor to the Sierra Cosworth RS500, the Ford Merkur XR4Ti Group A touring car, has been restored and is ready to race

Ford Merkur XR4Ti

CNC AWS has fully restored the rare Eggenberger XR4Ti to 1986 specification


The Sierra Cosworth RS500 is often thought of as the ‘ultimate’ touring car – now one of the ultra-rare machines which paved the way for it is going up for sale.

One of two Ford Merkur XR4Ti Group A racers by built by Swiss outfit Eggenberger, described by its restorer Alan Strachan as one of the the “most significant touring cars ever made”, is now once more running and available to race again.

This precursor to the RS500 has been painstakingly restored to period perfection by Strachan’s touring car specialist firm CNC AWS, recalling the formative days of a machine which would become tin-top legend.

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In the early 1980s Ford motor sport boss Stuart Turner wanted a Group A racing machine, and designated the Sierra to be its basis, eventually becoming the RS500.

In the meantime however, two touring car teams – Andy Rouse and Eggenberger – were commissioned by Turner to create an interim car based in the non-UK Merkur XR4Ti.

Rouse’s firm got there first and achieved an ’85 BTCC win with its version five days after its homologation, but this Eggenberger example had a long and successful career on the race track.

Touring car legend Steve Soper claimed an ’86 European Touring Car Championship win at Estoril with this very car, as well as finishing seventh at the Spa 24 Hours that same year, before it went on to a successful racing career in Australia and New Zealand as the RS500 was introduced in ’87.

The restored car features a new 340bhp, 2.3-litre Merkur engine and a roll cage “remanufactured” by CNC to 1986 specification, as well as Eggenberger specification suspension, rare Getrag ‘long’ bell housing and original parts including Bilstein dampers, AP racing callipers and 17in BBS wheels.

Ford Merkur

Merkur rollcage has been rebuilt, in a model which features with numerous original parts


“This is possibly one of the most significant cars of the Group A touring car era,” says Strachan, also behind the Andy Rouse continuation models.

“Without the Merkurs, the Sierra Cosworth may not have endured the success they did. This is a fascinating car, driven by some of the biggest names of the time and comes with an extensive history of its time in New Zealand including pictures, race reports and period spare body panels. We also can offer an additional spares package and support with running the car.”

Price is available on application – enquiries can be made to [email protected].