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Merkur XR4Ti

Folks, sorry for another Non quattro subject.

I don't know if you remember Merkur, the Mercury/Lincoln
division used to import for the period of time 85-87 or 88.

I think it is a good car, i was in love with that car since
high school.  I just met one guy with 86 Merkur xr4ti, and he
told me that he had most trouble free years with that car.

So, that trigged my passion for that car again, and I am
looking to get one as my second car.  Since that car is not
well known, the resale values are pretty low, so far, i found
one 86 xr4ti 73K, auto for $3350, and 87 68K, 5speed for $4100.

My major concern is reliability and past service history.
My local(Washington D.C/Nothern Virginia) audi/VW mechanic has
one, but i did not ask him about the car yet.  I guess I will.

Does anyone on the list had experiece with the car or heard
something about car?  also, where can i pay, let's say, 50
bucks and have pre-purchase inspection?

Thanks in advance.