Merkur Club of America


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RAPIDO- October 2013


It is good to know that some traditions are still traditional!!
Some of the facts (myths) that have given us so much comfort,
enjoyment and the
feeling of stability over many years (many decades for some of us),
continue to hang in there
despite the efforts of those who feel the need to guide and control
the way we relate to much in our daily lives. Give 'em an inch
and they try to take a mile. Be it the name of a ball team or words
on a coin, it may have "been around forever" but it is
suddenly offensive to someone. I guess it is possible that it was
always offensive but nobody knew it because nobody said they were
offended. And if they did say it, they must not have had access to
the media or the ACLU or whoever decides to take up that banner and
run with it!  It seems to me that money ($$) is the likely fuel
that keeps dredging up all these "issues" &
"sensitivities".  Stop funding the lawyers and
"ambulance chasers" that promote keeping the pot stirred
up and I will bet many of these "issues" would morph into
"non-issues". Well now, FAT CHANCE that will happen!!
Some politician would jump in and have a go at it, assuming there
was some gold (directly or indirectly) at the end of the rainbow..

Enough already!! On to somethings that may be more enjoyable, maybe
even more interesting. The subject, as usual, will be our common
bond, our Merkurs, and keeping them viable.

One of the first things we should be addressing this time of year
is winterizing!  The usual stuff. First on the list is check the
Anti-freeze and if it
hasn't been changed in the past 5 years, change it.
Anti-freeze not only keeps the cooling system from freezing up, it
lubricates seals and valves that use your coolant to operate. The
water pump and the heater water control valve are a couple of the
items that immediately come to mind. After awhile, Anti-freeze
really does
"wear out". Almost like motor oil. It becomes
contaminated with acids and crud.
Lets just say that "functionally" it wears out. Whatever,
it needs to be changed every few years. Not just
"added to", but the system should be flushed to remove
deposits and contaminants, and new fluid put in. The radiator and
heater core are both "traps" that accumulate debris and
that will have a very negative impact on the efficiency of your
cooling and heating system. Over the years, the impeller on the
water pump erodes and rusts away adding to these deposits. In the
process it also becomes less efficient as a pump. None of this is
unique to your Merkur. It is just the way water cooled internal
combustion engines behave. Your Merkur, as you know, is a rare gem
of automobilia and taking good care of it will only add to its
rarity (and continued driving pleasure) as time goes on.
As always, be mindful of our environment. Anti-freeze should never
be dumped on the ground, into a sewer drain, or into anything other
than a container so that it can be properly "processed"
or recycled. It is ethylene glycol. It may smell sweet but it is
poisonous to all living things, including people, pets and
wildlife. It may be one of those things that is better to have
someone with the proper facilities and equipment do for you.

While you are at it, you might want to take a look at the other end
of your Merkur.  Check the condition of the spare tire.  Is it 25
years old? Is it flat? Is it safe to rely on if you need to? Be
If it is the original spare tire it may not be safe even to fill to
the correct air pressure. Rubber that old tends to dry out and
crack and these "space saver" spares are intended to be
filled to higher than normal air pressures. Dont need no BOMB going
off in your face!!

Okay.. If you are a Scorpio owner, here is something you should be
interested in. Rapido is very seriously considering having
new/replacement gears made for the air vent system. These are the
gears that open and close the dash air vent doors in your Scorpio.
By now most are broken and have been broken for some time.
Can you can hear the little vent motors running but nothing seems
to change? The culprit is likely to be that the plastic gear that
makes the vents open and close has fractured. Ford never made these
gears available as a separate repair part and new motors are
basically "un-obtanium". Until recently Rapido has not
been able to find a way to have affordable replacement gears made
in small quantities.
Well, time marches on and we kept looking for a way to get the job
done. Now we are taking this opportunity to let our Scorpio
customers know that if you are willing to commit to purchasing the
3 gear set at not more than $150 for the set, we will have the
gears made. Please note, our estimated price of $150 is only
guaranteed for those first 6 orders. We may be able to maintain
that for subsequent orders but it is only guaranteed for the first
six.  The new gears will be manufactured from Brass or Aluminum,
not plastic. As soon as we have gathered deposits of $100 for each
of 6 sets of gears, we will have them start production and the
gears should be ready to ship to you within 3 weeks of our letting
that purchase order. The remaining balance due on each set will be
charged at the time of shipment. Please let us know soon if you are

Here is our usual reminder to you.  Rapido is dedicated to you, our
Merkur owner customers.  If you have a need for Merkur parts, we
are your "GO TO" people.  Even if you think there is no
reason we would be likely to have a part you need, especially if
you think that because you didn't see it on our web site, call
us anyway. The probability is we will have or will be able to get
it for you. We are Merkur enthusiasts and in a few months we will
have been in the Merkur parts business for 29 years. Nobody has
been dedicated to Merkur owners longer than Rapido. As soon as you
don't need us anymore, we won't have a reason to be here.
In today's economy every transaction is fuel to help keep that
fire burning. That is important to us and we hope it is important
to you too.

Sooooo, that is it for now!

Have a fun Halloween, a great Thanksgiving and, Happy Merkuring!
Always remember to buckle-up and don't drink & drive.
Russ Harness
Rapido Group
(541) 544 - 3333 [Office]
(541) 544 - 3100 [Fax]
80093 Dodson Road, Tygh Valley, OR 97063, USA

RAPIDO - April 2013

Subject: Merkur Madness!! Is it Spring Yet?

Don't know about you, but for me It seems to  get increasingly more difficult to generate any real enthusiasm for anything, and then to maintain that enthusiasm, for any length of time.  For me it hasn't made a great difference what the focus of that enthusiasm is, it all just seems to be prone to "spontaneous evaporation".  Plant some spring flowers on a 70+ degree day and 3 days later the overnight temps drop to well below freezing.  Then what survives gets beat down the next afternoon by a hail storm! Even our bodies seem to become rebellious.  Expecially the joints!  Makes me wonder how folks that are in the agriculture business keep from becoming suicidal.

  Top all that uncertainty with the our domestic Politics, the Nut Case leaders of certain other countrys and a generous helping of our own Wacko's who manage to get ahold of things that go BANG and/or BOOM,  It is a wonder we (humanity at large) have managed to soldier on as well as we have. Our prayers go out to all those who have been impacted by the recent man made events here at home.

 At a certain point just getting older has it's own perils.  Older may imply wiser but it also brings with it  a more solitary environment.  As in more and more of those in your peer group have already transitioned to a different journey and are no longer available for consultation. And of the ones still remaining, a certain percentage are now needing the care of another kind of professional and may not be the most reliable source of good information.  Getting older can be a real challange, thats for sure! And as unfair as it is, not all are privy to the experience.

As you may have noticed, most of the above ramblings are addressed to, and may be most easily understood by, persons of a "more senior" generation. Coincidentally (in Rapido speak) these are also likely to be persons of impecable automotive taste and who have now owned a Merkur XR4Ti or Scorpio (or both) for 20 years or more.  Others of you will be much younger and posses that same automotive savy, but mature beyond your years. Some of that character might even be genetic (much more desirable than "generic") and may have been passed down from the previous generation. Whatever the circumstance, Rapido is both happy and lucky to be working with such a great group of people.

 Rapido started in May of 1985 (28 years next month!) by putting together a list of the kind  of accessories XR4Ti owners were likely to want to have available.  Afterall, this was an "enthusiast" high performance sport sedan that was going head to head with BMW, Maserati and Porsche, among others, and it needed a few minor tweeks to be a real contender. The development and production of those parts and accessories was a major undertaking. I guess you could call those the glory days.

  Today Rapido is more focused on the real needs of  20 something year old collectibles, so that they might see many  more years of real service and enjoyment for their owners/caretakers. It may never have been your real intention, but if you own a Merkur,  you do own a truly rare and unique example of automoblia. We encourage you to take care of it and we are here to help you do just that. Needless to say the advent of the internet "parts store" and the  proliferation of same has made things more difficult for us and our specialty but we keep trying.  Our forte' is not price (never has been) but in knowing what is real and what is not and guiding you our customers, based on that knowledge.

A good example of what I allude to would be the cylinder head for the XR4Ti.  The correct cylinder head is known as a "D-port Turbo cylinder head".  Unfortunately there are many parts ("parts is parts") sources that surmise that any 2.3 "D-port" cylinder head is a correct head. It fits the engine and the engine will run, so it must be right.  WRONG!  The 2.3 "D-port Turbo cylinder head" has a unique combustion chamber shape and that shape makes a difference in the horsepower the engine will make and it also makes a difference in the way the fuel burns in the combustion chamber. The regular 2.3 "D-port head" is prone to engine knock when used with the Turbo .  The real Turbo heads are nearly impossible to find.  They are coveted by racers for their engine builds for some of the small circle track racers as well as a class of Hydroplane racing boats that are required to use the  2.3 Ford motor.  The only cylinder heads Rapido has in stock are the real Turbo heads and at the moment we only have two.

Assuming now that Spring may really be here, you could be getting in the mood to do begin a little Spring Spruce-up.  Seat covers, dashboard covers and leather shift boot covers may be, or should be, on your list of items that could make your Merkur look better and make you feel better about how your Merkur looks. Maybe a new pair of rear hatch lift struts for your XR4 or Scorpio is on the list. Even with this seemingly simple part there are ones that work, and ones that only work when the weather is warm.  Let us know what you are thinking about and we can let you know how Rapido can help.  Afterall, sprucing and maintaining what you have now is likely to be a more affordable (and more enjoyable) option than "starting over" with something new or newer.  While Merkur values are now going up, many newer car values are still going down.

If you are in the area and havn't already made other plans, this  Saturday is the Fab Fords event at Knotts Berry Farm in Southern California.  Always a big event with hundreds of really neat Ford automobiles.

Also, June 7th>9th there is the All Fords meet at the fair grounds in Carlisle, PA.  Again hundreds of Ford automobiles, including the largest gathering of Merkurs you are going to see anywhere.

That is pretty much it for now.  Be safe and be weary of "Distracted Driving".  Don't Drink & Drive and always Buckle-Up..

Hope to hear from you soon.

 Russ Harness

The Rapido Group

541) 544 - 3333 [Office]
(541) 544 - 3100 [Fax]
80093 Dodson Road, Tygh Valley, OR 97063, USA





RAPIDO - May 2012

Subject: Believe it or not, it is SUMMERTIME!

Moving right along, this much anticipated (and generally loved) season has arrived (I hope!).. If you allow yourself you can probably journey back in time to those days in late May and early June where the classroom windows were open and a gentle breeze carried the fragrances of early summer into the room and thoughts of "escape" were yanking your chain. Maybe even an end of the school year field trip or class picnic was yet to be enjoyed. Summertime employment was never far from becoming a reality, be it picking berries (if you lived in close proximity to an agricultural environment) or maybe washing cars, either as a group activity or on your own, and many other feats of labor in exchange for MONEY! Mowing lawns was always fairly prime as well. I suppose now with the proliferation of riding lawn mowers (some with drink cup holders and most more expensive than any of my first cars!) there are fewer of those jobs available than there were "back in the day". The old swimming hole, or swimming pool, was never far from mind either so it was always a balancing act to make sure you didn't miss out on a money making oportunity just because you would probably rather be "enjoying".

Have things changed for todays crop of young folks? I suspect that like the rest of the world, that part of life has become a little more serious and a lot more perilous. Without a doubt it has become a lot more expensive to do the things that can be done today, compared to the things we were able to do (get away with doing?) then. What a trip!!

Speaking of "a trip", if you have the time and you would like to experience Merkur in the extreem, the "All Ford Nationals" at Carlisle, PA is a really really big event for Merkur owners and enthusiasts. By big I mean this annual event has been routinely attended by more than 100 examples of our babies, along with literally thousands of other Ford automobiles. Seeing a hundred or more XR4Ti's & Scorpio's all in one place at one time is a most unforgetable experience. This annual event is happening June 1 thru June 3 this year and the Merkur contingent is being hosted as usual by the Merkur Club of America (MCA).

Springs and suspension bushings for the XR4 and the Scorpio play a major role in comfort & handling as well as tire mileage. If you are experiencing unusually high tire wear (especially at the rear) or discomfort with ground clearance, the probability is that the suspension springs have settled and the resulting changes in wheel alignment and ride comfort are becoming more obvious to you. This is another area Rapido is well versed in and we do have the ability to help you get things back to normal (or better) with your Merkur suspension. After 20+ years of pot holes ,frost heaves and curbs, it is not unusual for our babies to need and deserve a little TLC in the suspension department.

Worth mentioning too, the XR4Ti has one unusually important aerodynamic appendage that contributes significantly to the efficiency of the engines cooling system. It is a rubber flap that hangs down from the front crossmember, between the front wheels. It is important in that this piece helps promote high pressure air flow through the radiator rather than just letting it pass easily beneath the car. High pressure air flow through the radiator is what carries the heat away from the coolant inside the radiator. This flap was on every XR4Ti that was built and 20 odd years down the road from being a new car it is not unusual to seen them damaged or missing entirely. Rapido has replica's of these made and we include the fasteners and installation instructions with every unit.
Also be aware that the big electric cooling fan attached to the front of the air conditioning condensor is, in fact, the primary engine cooling fan for the XR4Ti. If it is missing, non functional, or has been replaced by a less efficient fan you can expect that you are going to have elevated coolant temperatures or outright overheating problems. Scorpio needs both of its fans to be functional as well.

Remember, if you have ANY issues with your Merkur, Rapido probably has the solution and the parts necessary to resolve the problem. That is who we are and that is what we do.

In closing out this newsletter I feel the need to mention the passing of a legend in the automotive world, Carroll Shelby. A maverick and a cowboy (chicken farmer with a southern accent was just a disguise), he managed to "get-er-done" in a time many of us would say were the golden years of auto racing. RIP....

Until next time always remember to Buckle Up and don't drink and drive.

(541) 544 - 3333 [Office]
(541) 544 - 3100 [Fax]
80093 Dodson Road, Tygh Valley, OR 97063, USA














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