Throwback: Head Porting By David Godfrey

David Godfrey's Article About Head Porting David Godfrey is somewhat of a legend in the XR4Ti circles, being a prolific problem solver a...

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Repost: 1985 Merkur XR4Ti with a naturally aspirated Lexus 1UZ-FE V8

This story starts with an all too common beginning, with someone wanting and obtaining an XR4Ti, but wanting more "push you into the seat" acceleration from the front-engined, rear wheel drive, coupe platform. While the 2.3Turbo Lima-block-based platform can be improved over stock with not a lot of effort and parts, that won't give you "eyeballs pushed into the back of your head" acceleration. Engine swaps are a common conversation, most frequently with the Ford 302/5.0, but some people have tackled more exotic power plants like the always suggested LS, to Ford 2.3l Duratec and others. 

1985 Merkur XR4Ti with a Lexus V8



Craig Thommes had always wanted a Merkur XR4Ti and found one in good condition in Arizona 10 years ago. The factory 2.3 L turbo Lima inline-four was worn out so he rebuilt one with more power. Eventually Craig grew to want more power and dependability as a daily driver.
1985 Merkur XR4Ti With A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8
Craig turned to Jake Reed to work on the solution. Jake has a lot of experience working with the Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 and once the team realized it would fit, it only took Craig one look at the 1UZ power band to decide. To get the engine to work Jake had to make a custom oil pan and custom mounts for the motor, transmission, radiator and fans. He was also able to get the Merkur automatic shifter to work with the Lexus A340E automatic transmission.
A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 inside a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti engine bay
This car was intended to be daily driven so everything had to run with factory dependability. That required a lot of wiring by Craig to make sure everything works as it should. He also kept the air conditioning because no one wants to sweat on their drive into work in the summer. A Lexus SC400 cluster was installed which gave the dash a factory look and allowed all car’s vitals to be monitored by the driver.
Lexus SC400 gauge cluster inside a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti
Another goal was for the car to pass all California emission tests. Craig was happy to find it passed easily and now sports a window sticker by the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board.
A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 inside a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti engine bay
A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 inside a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti engine bay
A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 inside a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti engine bay
1985 Merkur XR4Ti With A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8

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