The 200mph Merkur

Documenting your big project with photos/videos? Have photos/videos to share of anything Merkur related? Place your links to photos and videos here. Please - Merkurs and Merkur-related pictures only. Cosworths welcome!!
Carlisle and event related pictures are to be placed in the relevant section under 'Events'.
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4-barrel Mike
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The 200mph Merkur

Post by 4-barrel Mike » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:45 pm

In December 2011, I purchased the 1987 Merkur XR4Ti built and raced by Rick Byrnes and then raced by Bob "Grib" Gribble of North Carolina.

My intent is to race the Merk at Bonneville and elsewhere, primarily in landspeed events.

A brief history of the old girl:

1988 Rick Byrnes purchased 1986 Merkur XR4Ti body (from Ford)
1990 construction completed
1991 Bonneville – F/PS record 174 (for one day)
1992 Bonneville – F/PS record 182
1993 Bonneville – F/PS spin
1994 Bonneville – F/PS fastest 200.3, record 199 (?)
1995 Maxton April – F/PS record 174 (still standing)
1995 Bonneville – F/PS record 199.036 (?)
1996 off
1997 Bonneville – F/PS ignition problems, rain out
1998 Bonneville – F/PS fastest 208 – record 204 (red hat)
1999 Bonneville – F/GC qualified, pulled from impound, broke trying to requalify
2000 Bonneville – F/FALT record 176
2001 sold to Bob “Grib” Gribble
2003 Maxton April – Turbo Buick V-6 D/BGCC record 172
2003 Maxton May – Turbo Buick V-6 B/BGCC record 184 (still standing)
2003 Maxton June – Turbo Buick V-6 C/BGC record 168
2003 Bonneville – Yates NASCAR V-8 C/GALT – looking for 2003 run log
2003 Maxton Sept – Yates NASCAR V-8 C/GALT record 203 (still standing)
2008 Maxton Sept – “Return after long hiatus.” Last time at Maxton?

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Although built for landspeed racing (LSR), initial outings were on the dragstrip where she ran 11.3 LSR trim

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Bonneville 1992 (I think), update for higher speed with front & rear glass supports and roof rails

She was painted candy blue (Rick's favorite color) over the winter of 1992/93
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Bonneville 1993

Email question from me to Rick: "What year did the new paint scheme appear?"
Rick's answer:"OH, you makin me remember some good times.

"My very long time friend Scotty Sutherland worked with me at the Gas Turbine lab in Ford, but owned and ran a shop that did mechanical work on one side and body work/custom paint on the other.

"He has been a supporter of my racing since day one, so after the second year, he volunteered to do a paint job in Candy Blue. (my favorite color). Painter Scott Peters and his crew did the deed, including molding everything in and smoothing moldings and seams.

"It turned out to be down right beautiful and perfectly straight. As good a show paint job as I have ever seen, (and (I'm the son of a custom painter).

"As agreed I showed the car at Detroit and Toledo Autoramas and was greeted to lots of likes. We won outstanding paint at Toledo as well as class wins wherever we went. But I don't really enjoy shows as an exhibiter, so don't do that unless a sponsor specifically requests.

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"The paint weathered well until the Novi Motorsports Hall of Fame/museum asked me to have the car there for a big party that was a Bonneville theme. They volunteered to keep the car there for the winter as well. My garage at the time was only 14 X 20 and to get another engine built it was a good suggestion.

"Well, Michigan can be brutal weather. The day to deliver the car on my open trailer, it was 16 degrees below 0 f.

"Moving the car from my heated garage to the trailer, the molding on the side of the door cracked, and a big spot delaminated. I delivered the car anyway, but Scott and I were heartbroken. So, he had me bring the car back to the shop in Jun and we did the two tone fade which turned out terrible looking so we added the white pearl using some of my Dads really old time (from the 50's) pearl.

"The shape of the white came differently as well.

"Scott called me right after the car came out of the booth and was almost in tears saying it looked really bad and I should come over to help him figure out what to do.

"The fade from blue to purple looked terrible.

"My daddy used to say when GM did something that looked really bad, they chrome plated it. (he was a FORD guy) So, I suggested we do more paint on the sides. We discussed flames, old time scallops, and lots of other things, but in the end, we rolled it right into the booth, and began taping to do something that would cover the fade and look decent. What you have is what we came up with, and we had an even tougher job duplicating it on the right side, but it turned out great, and has been copied many many times. It was the very first with that geometric shape painted on the sides. It had no rhyme or reason, other than to cover up our F$*^ up. Another interesting thing is, my dad wanted to help with the painting so Scott had him shoot the interior of the car. He was then in his 80's and just amazed all the young guys in the shop with his work.

"Boy, its nice remembering such good things. Since I started racing, folks have treated me so well. I am blessed."

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The two-tone that you're familar with.

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Bonneville 2000: N/A Altered Coupe. Set a record. Record denied because the front of the front wheelwell was considered to be illegal. Modified the wheelwell (note the change to the wheelwell in the next picture), requalified and set record.

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Bonneville 2003, owned by Bob Gribble, powered by Yates NASCAR V8.

Additional info:

Rick's great story on getting his red hat (getting into the B'ville 200mph club) in 1998: http://www.merkurencyclopedia.com/Merku ... _1998.html

Rick's "For sale" write-up, lots of good info: http://www.davecompton.com/RBMForSale.htm

More to come.

Mike
Any fool can race a V8

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by merkurdriver » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:03 pm

:notworthy
Piece of awesome Merkur history right there!

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by John Brennan » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:34 am

Absolutely-- thanks for this contribution! :cheers
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by jkxr4ti » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:58 am

I remember seeing that car in person many years back at Carlisle. It really is great to see it in the hands of a guy who is rebuilding it the way you are!
Ive been following the build over on turboford as well.


Good luck with the build and keep us posted.
Merkur....Its German for Mutt....Mustang, Saab, Volvo, Lincoln, Contour, Cummins... and the list goes on.

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:41 pm

jkxr4ti wrote:I remember seeing that car in person many years back at Carlisle.
1999

It was my first year at Carlisle - figured a 200MPH Merkur must show up every year. :dunno
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by Ed Lijewski » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:10 pm

Man, I love/LOVE that Candy Blue! :shock:

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by jkxr4ti » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:49 pm

I need to dig through my old 8mm tapes and see if i have anything from that year. I almost think i may have took some of it, if not i should have.
Merkur....Its German for Mutt....Mustang, Saab, Volvo, Lincoln, Contour, Cummins... and the list goes on.

Jeremy Kemp

1988 XR4Ti Chestnut Brown/Spice Leather
MC2 Coilovers and Bushings, Contour Rims and Rotors, Ported Motorsport Head, Cosworth 4x4 Intercooler, Holset HY35 Turbo, 80LB Injectors, Megasquirt2 EFI

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by 4-barrel Mike » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:16 pm

Some early engine compartment pictures for the historians.

1988-1990, first iteration:

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Note the induction!

1991:

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1992:

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Note the Jim Feuling-designed header with "anti-reversion chambers" (replaced the next year). This engine (with some note about the 1991 engine, was featured in the August 1992 issue of Super Ford magazine. A small, almost unreadable, copy is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14521985@N ... 3482566536 (use the "Previous" button to get to the next six pages).

More to come :D

Mike
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:45 am

4-barrel Mike wrote:More to come :D
Feel free! :headbang

I had never before seen some of these early engine bay shots. Did Rick still have them or were they passed along with the car?
Brad

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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by 4-barrel Mike » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:23 pm

I got some paperwork with the car, but, no, Rick kept the pictures. Every once in a while he scans some new old pics and includes them in an email. Other than that, he did give me access to his photobucket account. I'm still mining, collating, identifying.

(And some I've "borrowed" from the web. :D )

Mike
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by RatFink » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:00 am

Do you know why they replaced Fueling's header? I was always curious about that design. In some pictures I have seen the reversion chambers look ball shaped. An interesting side note, Jim Fueling's shop was on the same street as my shop. He was an interesting eccentric kind of guy, He was into a ton of weird things. Never trust a man who owns a tank.
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by whitelx » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:06 pm

i like the upper intake and flow divider. I really need a TIG welder. :)
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by 4-barrel Mike » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:52 pm

RatFink:

Rick was always searching for, and finding, more horsepower. I ASSume that the Feuling header didn't do what he needed. However, he said in an email early this year, "The real curvy headers were given away a few years ago, and I am trying to retrieve now."

Mike
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by cliffxr » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:27 pm

I remember seeing this car when it was still owned by Bob Gribble. He was selling the original RS500 wing which was painted the candy blue. I drove to SC from GA to get the wing and he showed me a stock bi-plane wing on a hatch. I couldn't believe I'd driven 5 hours to get an original bi-plane! Then he remembered he had some more pieces in a trailer. That's where we found the real RS500 wing. The car itself looked terrible. It had a big V-8 shoved in it and the work was terrible. Bodywork was also terrible. It was sad to have seen the car so abused and hacked up. Hard to believe it was the same pristine car that ran 200+ mph at Bonneville. Glad it's going back together. Also, if it still has the manual steering rack, it's one that I picked up for Rick from Ford on one of my trips to Germany in the late 90's.

Cliff Walton
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Re: The 200mph Merkur

Post by 4-barrel Mike » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:25 pm

cliffxr wrote:I remember seeing this car when it was still owned by Bob Gribble. He was selling the original RS500 wing which was painted the candy blue. I drove to SC from GA to get the wing and he showed me a stock bi-plane wing on a hatch. I couldn't believe I'd driven 5 hours to get an original bi-plane! Then he remembered he had some more pieces in a trailer. That's where we found the real RS500 wing. The car itself looked terrible. It had a big V-8 shoved in it and the work was terrible. Bodywork was also terrible. It was sad to have seen the car so abused and hacked up. Hard to believe it was the same pristine car that ran 200+ mph at Bonneville. Glad it's going back together. Also, if it still has the manual steering rack, it's one that I picked up for Rick from Ford on one of my trips to Germany in the late 90's.

Cliff Walton
86 XR5.4i
Thanks for the info, Cliff. Rick had told me that a friend had picked up the steering from Europe for him, but didn't give a name. Yes it's still there although Grib shortened one of the inner tie rod ends.

Did you buy the wing, because Rick thinks that David Godfrey bought it from him?

"It had a big V-8 shoved in it and the work was terrible."

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19 pieces of aluminum cleverly (not!) rivited together.

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All the aluminum removed!

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As repaired with some rusted areas fixed and added support from the front rollcage mounts to the (non-original) inner frame rails.

Mike
Any fool can race a V8

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