By on June 7, 2012

Here’s the new 1989 Ford Mustang! Well, that was the original plan for this cousin of the Mazda 626, but Mustang fans would sooner have accepted Leonid Breznhev’s face on the $20 bill than tolerate the sacred pony’s nameplate on a front-wheel-drive, Mazda-based car. So, the Mustang continued to be based on the increasingly elderly Fox platform until 1993… or 2004, if you consider the fourth-gen Mustang to be a Fox (which it was). Meanwhile, this car was sold as the Probe, and hardly anybody bought it. Here’s a first-year example I shot yesterday at a Denver self-serve junkyard.
One thing I’ve learned about the Probe during my tenure as a 24 Hours of LeMons judge is that the Probe (regardless of engine) is much, much, much quicker around a real-world road course than a Fox Mustang.
This one probably wouldn’t be all that quick on the race track, though, what with the automatic transmission.
Another thing I’ve learned about the Probe in LeMons racing is that it tends to be very fragile. Engines, transmissions, suspensions, everything just falls apart under any sort of abuse (Fox Mustangs aren’t exactly reliable in LeMons, but they hold together much better than the Probe). This one made it to just over 100,000 miles.
It appears to have served as a company car for the Pistola y Corazon Tattoo Shop.
Kit-car builders like these dash-mounted turn-signal controls; the RX-7 of the same era also uses this design.

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71 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Ford Probe...”


  • avatar
    bauerjw

    This car wasn’t always red. But when it was, it preferred Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my Firenza.

  • avatar
    vwbora25

    Always liked these cars especially the GT version, to bad they did not continue the nameplate

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s probably just as well that they didn’t continue it. “Probe” was, at best, late-eighties-futurist cheesy. Not like Mazda’s take (Mystiere? Really?!) was better, but still.

      At worst, you heard a lot of jokes about “probing”.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    In retrospect, it’s easy to see that putting the Mustang name on a Japanese FWD turbo 4 was a bad idea. However, that configuration was the way of the future in the late ’80s. One wonders if the Mazdastang would have gone over better if it had been based on the 929 and had enough room for the 5.0.

  • avatar

    I had a second generation “se” for a while. It was a neat car. That said, it was VERY fragile. It did not respond well to being driven hard. Only “sporty” car I have ever had that reacted in such a manner.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I still have a 95 PGT 5 speed. I understand that the automatics were weak, but other than that I fail to see what was so frangible about the second generation cars. I push my Probe hard – ok,maybe the name was not such a great idea – but here it is 17.5 years later, and I have changed rotors, struts, and the right rear caliper. Hatch struts, too. One gasket on the intake, apparently a weak spot on Mazda engines of the period. Third battery. That’s it for 71K. It handles very well, though it is slow by today’s standard.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Wasn’t there some controversy regarding the Probe Turbo’s horsepower figure?. As I recall, it was rated at 140 or 145, but the 0-60 times were too low for that figure. A lot of people thought it generated at least 160 and Ford was lowballing the published HP for fear of embarrassing the Mustang GT.

    • 0 avatar

      I recall rumblings about that as well, but keep in mind that engine was a torque monster – something like 190 lb/ft. Given that and the car’s fairly light weight a sub-7 second 0-60 run isn’t unreasonable. But the performance did still come uncomfortably close to the contemporary ‘Stang.

      • 0 avatar
        Brendan McAleer

        That rating was AT THE WHEELS, which was a bit tricky of them.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Brendan

        I did not know that the HP rating on the Probe was at the wheels. That explains – A LOT. That means crank HP was somewhere around 175 and torque around 230 pound feet.

        That would be respectable numbers TODAY for a non-GDI turbo four.

      • 0 avatar
        Brendan McAleer

        By the time I finished with my MX-6, it was making something like 300lb/ft at all three wheels. The who at the front, and especially the one that you were supposed to use to (lol) “steer”.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    This is just in time! I went camping last weekend and saw a very clean first gen Probe near one of the trailers. It was in excellent condition! You don’t see many around New England anymore.

  • avatar
    rawtoast

    Oh man, taking me back here, I had a 91 GL, with a stick. I drove that until I hit a deer at 80 mph. I replaced it with a 95 GT, second gen Probe, also with a stick. Its been a long time now, but I remember the first gen one was pretty reliable. I remember the first gen GTs (I had a few friends with them) would blow up their turbos around 100k. The less complex GL version was pretty reliable.

    The second gen one was a much better handler, and had good power, but not great, it could have used another 20hp. They were good cars that suffered from one of the worst names in automotive history. As stated buy others here, it was much more fragile, ate up brake calipers and other things regularly, but when it was working right, it was a fun car.

  • avatar
    patman

    A friend had a ’89 Turbo. It drove like crap and torque steered like crazy but that’s most likely because it was in the condition of this car by the time he had it – the shocks were shot and he had put 4 used tires of varying sizes, types and conditions on it. It was pretty quick though if you could keep the wheels pointed where you wanted.

    Another person I knew had a later generation Probe – ’93 I think – and it seemed to be a pretty nice FWD GT cruiser.

    As joked above, every last one of the early ones came in that red. As red was to the 1st gens, teal was to the 2nd gens.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      That’s funny but those colors are the only two that come to mind for the Probe, I’m not sure I ever say one in any other color, maybe white.

      • 0 avatar
        amac

        My old boss had a brown one, first gen.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Turd-brown Probe… Not a pretty picture!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @amac

        The “brown” was garnet – the paint had a color shifting quality to it. It would appear almost UPS truck brown with metal flake in some light (yeck) and a very deep garnet red in other (nice).

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I had a 1990 LX V6 in a blueish silver color. The Vulcan V6 from the Taurus was fairly tough, but not very powerful or efficient. The automatic somehow survived 18 years and 4 owners including Hertz before the value of unpaid parking tickets exceeded the value of the car. Probably sold at auction into the BHPH market to a 5th owner. Top of the dash cracked, but the cloth seats and carpet survived at least 16 years. Ate lots of front end parts, especially CV boots.

        The hatchback design allowed the Probe to haul items that don’t normally fit in a car. I used my Probe to haul a water heater and a roll around tool chest home from Home Depot.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        In the 1989 Ford offered 12 different colors for the exterior and four different interior colors.

        I know exterior colors included two shades of blue, silver, white, black, red, gold/tan, and garnet. I can’t remember or read on the link below the other four.

        The interior color choices were blue, bordello red (super popular interior color in the 80’s), gray, and tan. Leather was not an option in any trim level until 1990 (although the steering wheel and manual shift knob could be optioned wrapped in leather). The GL interior was a bit bare bones and wrapped in cheaper material. The LX and GT interior was very nice, the seats and carpet wore like they were made of iron. After 186K miles my interior still looked like the day I bought mine, including the driver seat.

        http://www.amazon.com/MOTOR-COMPANY-Probe-Paint-Colors/dp/B005KU33JU

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      The second-gen cars also appeared in black and two shades of purple (the nicer, more vibrant hue being more common).

      I’ve seen Probes before in both black and metallic purple, and, well, you know.

  • avatar
    autojim

    I had a ’94 Probe GT for several years — 2nd gen car, with the 2.5L Mazda V6. Black. Not teal. Ordered it so I could get the options I wanted and not the options I didn’t (sunroof, power seat, because they cut critical headroom, power antenna because they broke all the time).

    Drove it 170K before it got tired, put 30K mile engine (which we refreshed with new gaskets, seals, and water pump) in it, drove it another 8K, and then had a lady stop in the @#$@# middle of Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township in front of me. *Almost* missed her, but the hit to the left front was enough for the insurance company to total the car (if it just hadn’t popped the tie rod out of the steering rack, I might still have that thing).

    I autocrossed the snot out of it. I made epic cross-country drives in it. I loved that car, and I still miss it.

    The engine would last, but you had to pay very close attention to oil level and put about a cup (1/4 quart) extra in if you were doing anything with vigorous lateral g-loading. The rev limiter on mine hit about 8500rpm. Had to use a separate tach to verify that as the factory tach stopped at 8000. :)

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Wow, I didn’t know they revved that high! Did you make any modifications or are these screamers in stock form?

    • 0 avatar
      drylbrg

      I had a 94 GT in the required teal. I bought it used in ’96 with 13k on it and sold it years later with 150k on it, replacing a water pump and a distributor module along the way and nothing else except normal wear items. It did handle very well, but like you said it really screamed for another 20-40hp. It also didn’t sound too bad at the factory 7,000 RPM redline and didn’t mind getting up there one bit. The paint was the one area where it really suffered. It was terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Glad to see some posters that have experiences that echo mine. I would love another 50 horses in there; it is possible to put a JDM V6 in but I can’t be bothered at this point. She loves to rev, which is good because there just isn’t much torque down low. I have the Rio red paint which, like all reds tend to fade, but my car spent all of its life in a garage, so I am nearly factory fresh with nary a door ding. I just hope I can find a real Probe fan when I sell it.

  • avatar
    dutch45810

    In the late 90s there was a gray 1st gen Turbo Probe GT with rear 3/4 glass covered in plastic louvers. I remember it looking pretty mean (for a Probe). My brother had a (red) 90 GL 5-speed in the early 21st century that was pretty reliable…not a bad car for $700 but the clearcoat sure didn’t hold up.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    I remember just about every Ford and GM product of that time had peeling bumpers after five or so years.

  • avatar
    mjal

    I guess the sequel to the Probe name was Flex? Ford must have some former proctologists on its marketing staff.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    When I was going to UTI in ’97, they had 2 of these in turbo form that were donated from Bondurant Racing School. I recall them never serving any purpose other than hooning in the parking lot. I’m sure they died a brutal death at the hands of incompetent students working on them, or trying to get the turbo to come on line before reaching the end of the parking lot. A shame really. They were low mileage even for a track car (Maybe Bondurant didn’t care for them?), and were in nice shape.

  • avatar
    Prado

    “Meanwhile, this car was sold as the Probe, and hardly anybody bought it.” Sales numbers please?? I remember the Probe selling quite well.

  • avatar
    JMII

    This car IS from the future… here is proof:
    http://backtothefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Ford_Probe

  • avatar
    Crosley

    You NEVER seem to see these anymore, at least in my neck of the woods. When I was in High School (in the 90’s) however, they seemed to be everywhere.

    I actually liked the lines on the 2nd generation, but it was a borderline “chick car”. I remember though the 0-60 was dangerously close to that of a new V8 Mustang.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I owned an ’89 Ford Probe in Mars Red (that was the name of the color) and boy does this picture bring back memories.

    This is a base model, which would have the GL designation. The partial vinyl/cloth seats is the give away on the interior, along with the exterior not having a colored striped within the rub strip (a popular accent in the 80’s). Interestingly, this is the only year of this body style (surprise). In the 1990 model year the front clip is changed in a very mild refresh. This is also the only year with the amber turn signal markers in this body style. This is also the only year in this body style that didn’t have the God awful motorized seat belts. This example is a very early production model built in July of 1988.

    As far as “almost no one bought one,” that statement isn’t true. Sales of the 1989 Ford Probe were huge. I bought mine in August of 1988. Dealers were charging significant ADM, many people were having to factory order and wait months for delivery. I got mine below sticker on a lucky break finding exactly what I wanted on a dealer lot. They had five examples when I showed up, all 5 were sold 24 hours after I signed for mine. Timing is everything.

    I would not call the ’89 Ford “fragile” but I would call it neglect intolerant. Mine lasted 186K miles and I sold it. But I was very careful to do all proper care and maintenance. I was doing on the road sales at the time and I was pounding 40K to 50K miles a year into the car. I will say the automatic tranny did not have a good reputation, and mine was a manual equipped model with every available option.

    When I took delivery I never experienced a car like it. During break in (for those too young to know, it use to be when you bought a new car you had a specific break-in period and you had to follow a specific routine in the owner’s manual for hundreds of miles) and would limp along at 45 to 50 MPH on the interstate everyone would slow down pace on the side and give a thumbs up. Pull into a parking lot, instant crowd of people. Come out of a store driver and passenger windows smeared with hand prints from people looking inside.

    People poo-poo the Ford Probe today but at release there was huge buzz about it, and there was nothing on the road that looked like it. A little know trait is that it was whisper quiet. The engine was barely audible at idle with little cabin noise. But stomp on it and the exhaust made a delightful note. The engine’s power band was very obvious when you romped on it, and dropped off sharply around 5,200 RPM.

    It was an excellent handling car with a motor that absolutely bowed at the altar of torque. It is widely believed that the HP numbers were very conservative as the math doesn’t add up for weight/horsepower/gearing speed when you used published numbers.

    I autoX the bejesus out of mine, was a very competitive car that taught me how to really drive. They would seat four in comfort (and the upgraded seats in the LX and GT were by far the most comfortable front seats I’ve ever sat in). and could carry a significant load of cargo. Oh how ‘Mericas hate the hatchback today.

    I loved that car, consider it one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. Seeing that Mars red junker brings back a lot of memories.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Great story, thanks for sharing. I really think the spiritual successor to this car was the 1999-2004 Mercury Cougar. I had a 1999 Cougar for 12 years, and always thought it should have been badged a Probe, and if it had, I think it would have sold much more than it did as the Cougar.

      The last-gen Cougar was a front-drive hatch with futuristic styling, just like the Probe. It introduced the New Edge styling theme before any Ford-branded car. Though it doesn’t look like much now, it looked like nothing else on the road at the time. Like you, I would have people creep up next to me and give me a thumbs-up on the car, ask all sorts of questions about it (“is that a new Jaguar? The new Audi?”)

      My Cougar had a very Euro feel to it that I think the Probe originally set out to have as well. The auto-equipped Cougars even had a Mazda transmission that would often crap out right around 65k miles. It may have said “Cougar” on the trunklid, but to me it was always the last-gen Probe.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        That’s because it WAS supposed to be the last-generation Probe. However, the Probe wasn’t a big seller anymore. Ford probably figured that the ZX2 and ZX3 variants of the Escort and Focus respectively would fill what was left of the market for two-door Ford compacts, and basically treated the next Probe as filler for the Mercury lineup.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Always wondered why buyers would opt for the Probe over the MX-6. The MX-6, especially the second generation, was a much better looking, well proportioned car without the forced futuristic angularity and goofy blacked out C pillars. I’d say the MX-6 ranks with the 2nd gen 240sx as one of the most handsome cars of the ’90s with the Probe being one of the ugliest somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The c-pillars were not blacked out.

      The c-pillars are actually wrapped in the glass of the hatch and rear window. They are basically a support structure under the glass with no metal exposed and no paint.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I love the MX-6 and S14 240SX as well. They continue to look great today, and almost resemble a miniature Lexus SC300/400. The Probe, on the other hand, looked like a 1980s concept car even in its second generation – it aged much more quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Reasons I chose the Probe over the MX-6″

      1. The Probe out handled the MX-6.
      2. The Probe looked better, but looks are subjective.
      3. Did I mention the Probe out handled the Mazda?
      4. Ford offered a better deal.

      APaGtth is correct about the pillars. No blacked out paint; all glass. These were good driving cars. Automobile All-Star, MT Car of the Year, C%D 10 best winner. For a front driver, they were/are a blast to drive. I can lock onto the bumper of many a snot brand and on the exit ramps they can’t shake me until the road straightens out. That’s when the power deficit kills me.

  • avatar
    jco

    it’s funny how after not seeing one on the road for a long time, you forget these existed. there have been a few Junkyard Finds recently where I’ve been like “wow, THOSE used to be everywhere”

  • avatar
    fiasco

    This is old-home week in the junkyard, first the XR4, then the car my dad conned his company into leasing it to him for a buck a year or something like that for him for a commuter. His was a dark gray GT with 5 speed and reddish interior, and it flat went like hell. After three years and 111k miles, the clutch was done and the electronic shocks were junk (I’m sure me hooning the company car on weekends had nothing to do with it). Hardly any have survived in New England, they used to be pretty common, but they seemed to get used up pretty quickly.

    I think these things sold better than Murilee suspects (ditto the Euro Capri in the 70s, somebody started ranting on the Merkur email list that the Capri was actually a big seller and accounted for about 25% of ALL Euro-built Capris up to 1986).

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I can see why these would outrun the Fox’s, Fox Mustangs had wobbly handling and the only engine that wasn’t completely gutless was the 5.0.

    Though, I must ask this: Could you list the top 5 most durable Lemons cars and the Weakest 5? Not only would this be interesting, but it’d help people pick out their beaters.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    It wasn’t just in North America that enthusiasts emitted a collective groan when the Probe was wheeled out in the early 90’s. In Europe we had our beloved Ford Capri taken away from us, and after seven years of no European Ford sports car, we were given the plastic fantastic ‘Probe’ instead. Yes it handled better and drove faster, but people loved the tail happy idiocy of the Capri (or Crapi as it was known). Talking of nicknames the Probe got a better one. The ‘Anal’.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    These cars sold fairly well during the first couple of years.

    Sales went pretty far south by 1991 though. C&D ranked it 5th out of 5 in a legendary comparo of that time, and that ranking was quite accurate given my experiences. Even with that said, I believe no other mainstream monthly magazines of that time had a greater impact on the decline in Probe sales than the Car & Driver article.

    The 2nd generation represented a very mild refresh. The front end almost looked reptilian with all the strange creases and the MX-6, though far more handsome, was given no serious marketing muscle.

    Ford pretty much let this model fade into oblivion once the new Mustang took off. By the mid-90’s Ford was knee-deep in two door cars with declining market interest. R&D began it’s shift to more profitable SUV’s and trucks, and Ford decided to become a conglomerate under the quixotic belief that everyone needed to ‘get big’ and diversified to survive.

    The first generation four cylinder, five-speed models were considered to be built like brick $hithouses back in the late-80’s. But by the time Nissan (240SX), Toyota (Celica) and Honda (Integra) released their sporty coupes soon after the Probe’s launch, the quality bar moved far beyond the Probe’s reach.

    The DSG vehicles, Eclipse/Talon/Laser, dominated those seeking horsepower above all, and the Probe was left without any advantage in the marketplace beyond Ford’s dealer network and finance arm.

    I used to love this niche of the market. So many great cars. So much fun to be had. The Probe was a good car in a marketplace laden with great cars.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I was selling new cars in 1991, and without a doubt the market for the Probe had collapsed. After the release of the cars you mentioned and the all conquering DSMs, the Probe just faded into the background.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Steven: I have a lot of respect for you, but please do some research. The second gen cars were not a “mild refresh”; they were night and day. The car was completely redesigned. Car and Driver loved the second gen, giving it a 10 Best award. The first gen cars really were not very good…but yes, Ford let this car die on the vine. But all cars of this type tend to have a short shelf life. Leaving a power deficit in the Probe did it no service when the DSM cars were able to clean its clock…

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The Probe hit at the height of the sporty FWD coupe and lift-back movement, but by the late ’90, this market was shrinking exponentially. They were largely considered ‘girly’ and ‘wrong wheel drive’ by enthusiasts and journalists alike.

        Some of the major players were the Prelude, Celica, Del Sol, Pulsar, Integera, MX3/6, Beretta, SC2, Eclipse, Laser, Daytona, Corolla SR5, CRX, GTI, Impulse and Scoupe.

        OK, forget I mentioned the Scoupe.

  • avatar
    majo8

    I’m encouraged to hear the news about the performance of the Probe at LeMons, as I’m prepping a thoroughly clapped out 95 GT. I’ve been driving it the past week, and it handles well with decent power. Sucks to hear about the fragile nature though, I guess we’ll have to baby it a little, at least on the first day…

    I bought a 93 4 cyl, 5 speed new, and that car lasted 198,800 miles before I donated it to charity. It still had the original clutch, and original brakes on all fours. I hope my racing experience is more like this!

  • avatar
    jenkins190

    Once had a 93 MX-6 with 6 cyl. Loads of fun to drive, very quick and good looking. But “fragile” would be giving the car too much credit. When the rear view mirror fell off the windshield while on the way to work at about 75K, it was time to go.

  • avatar
    skor

    “Meanwhile, this car was sold as the Probe, and hardly anybody bought it.”

    What?? In its first year this car sold 250K units. Total production run over 9 model years was near 900K units. Most manufacturers would sell their souls to have a single model sell that many units.

    I had a first gen LX. The factory struts were not great, and when they finally died, I replaced them with a set of Tokico Blues in addition to some wider BF Goodrich traction TAs. Man! Did that change things. The handling was fantastic!

    Back in ’89 one of the car rags ran a Mustang GT side-by-side with a Probe GT in the 1/4. The Mustang was only a fraction of a second quicker. With the turbo dialed in for a bit more boost, it would have been quicker than the 5.0.

    This car was allowed to die on the vine by Ford because of economics of the car biz at the time. Gas was cheap all through the 90’s. SUVs became the new craze. The gross profit on truck based SUV’s…which did not have to meet the same CAFE, safety and emission standards as cars…..was obscene. Ford could make the same profit from selling a single full size SUV that it made from selling 3 Probes.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Thanks for providing the sales figure. I had remember that 1989 model year sales could be measured in the hundreds of thousands but didn’t know the exact number. I do remember huge demand when I bought mine.

      I upgraded to 15″ rims (single piece Fittipaldi Fittistars I want to say 15 X 7) and went with 205/60R15 rubber all around. in AutoX doing fun runs the 15″ wheels and rubber shaved over 2 seconds off on say a 50 second AutoX cross. Ford made the 15″ wheels an option down the line in the 1990 model year.

      The LX was like Starwars inside if you had the 264A package with the digital dash and trip computer – only more so if you had the 2-1/2 DIN chassis of stereo equipment with the optional CD player too.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Yup, I had the digital dash and trip computer, flip up roof, and a bunch of other options I can’t remember now. The GT offered speed sensitive steering as well as adjustable suspension…options that were available on very few high end cars at the time.

        Yup, the auto trans in this car was weak. The trans in my car grenaded at 154K…it only lasted that long because I did regular fluid changes. I replaced it myself with a reman trans ($1,500) and drove the car until it had 220K on the clock. Most of these cars ended up in the bone yard because of a blown up trans. Unfortunately, a pro trans R&R cost more than the FMV of the car, so most people didn’t bother.

        BTW, here is the link for the production numbers.

        http://www.proberegistry.com/

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    Someone mentioned Back to the Future before, and I do remember seeing them in the movie, and reading about it in the car mags before 1989. Actually, I remember reading about the Probe in 1985-86…and even back then as a kid, I thought the Probe was old news by the time it came out in 1989.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      They were used in Judge Dredd and Robocop II also.

      If you want to suck away several hours of productivity go to IMCDb.org

      Internet Movie Car Database.

      It is a database of almost any make and model car and what movies, TV shows, documentaries, music videos, etc. it has been in. The Ford Probe is five pages long (didn’t know there was a Ford Probe in Batman Begins!)

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “Meanwhile, this car was sold as the Probe, and hardly anybody bought it.”

    Murlee, you have to back up claims such as this, and if you did homework, would see Probe sold fairly well in its 1st Generation, but was a ‘trendy coupe’ and faded away in the 90’s.

    I enjoy the ‘Junk Yard’ posts, but when “guessing” historical data, it drives me nuts!

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    The Probe was, and was not, fragile. I bought a 4-cylinder automatic in 1992 (my first and only new car). Its best features were the tilt steering column/instrument cluster and lighted seatbelt slots. The car was sturdy, right until it was not. The weak spots were the air conditioning and the automatic transaxle–particularly the automatic transaxle (probably what sealed the fate of the subject car). Both gave out on my car at 120,000 miles, and the independent mechanic who I hired to repair the latter never did, $1500 and at least four tries later. I gave up and traded for a used 1995 MX6, this time with the six and a manual (lesson learned)–and that car saw 290,000+ miles (240,000 on its original clutch), three racetracks, an my learning to drive a stick. Best car I ever owned.

    I now have a 2004 Mazda 6, which makes three cars from the same factory.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I had a coworker years ago who had bought a new first-gen Probe GT with the turbo and the stick , in the same red color . He bought it to replace the 2-year old Mustang GT convertible he had wrecked and he always said it was quicker than his Mustang .The comment about the idea that the 1999 Cougar should have been badged as a Probe reminds me of a story I heard once . My ex- wife’s sister , a real Cougar queen – she owned many Cougars , from a 1967 XR7 to a couple of the eigthies aero ones to even the awful Aussie one . She also had a 1999 Cougar which was her favorite and she had heard that it was originally designed to be the Probe , until Ford had a different idea . Don’t know who told her that but there is a resemblance .

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Nobody buys them? I though these were reasonably popular back in the days. Not a super strong seller, for sure, but you see quite a few around.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Ford sold a lot of the first gen cars. The problem with these cars was weak auto transmissions, same deal with the MX-6 and the 626. The transmissions all went kablooey around 120K. By then a professional trans R&R cost more than the book value of car, so they all went straight to the bone yard. That’s why they all disappeared overnight.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    Here is how it should have looked! http://www.flickr.com/photos/sven_designs/6930658598/in/photostream

  • avatar
    AlienProbe

    I somehow vaguely remember Probes being the “evil” cars in the show Viper from waaaaaay back when. Might have been the second generation though. Been a while since I saw that show. :P

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    I love these cars. So 80’s futuristic. I still want a 92 GT which I thought was a great package. The updated ground effects and interior fabrics on the 91-92 GT were very nice. I wish they would have kept the turbo engine even though the 2nd gen Probe GT’s V6 was so smooth. Nothing like watching that turbo boost gauge on the ’91 I test drove from our local dealer for a week sweep right and the torque kick you in the back. It is a fantastic feeling and I eventually got my 4 cylinder turbo in the form of a ’95 Eagle Talon TSi I converted to AWD.

    Also does anyone know what ever happened to the planned 1st gen Probe SHO? It was commented by -ED in a Car and Driver letters section one month. They said it would have been AWD and powered by the Yamaha 3.0 liter SHO V6. They made it sound like there were prototypes running around Dearborn. Anyone?

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    I still remember the VHS we taped off TV back in 1989, for Tousley Ford in Twin Cities for ’89 Probes. Holy late ’80s! lol

  • avatar
    jrocco001

    I had a 91 GL through college – I loved that car (the hatchback was handy for hauling stuff, and there was plenty of room to sleep in the trunk (handy for when you had too many to drive). Sadly it died with only 94K miles – intake manifold, water pump, valve train were all shot and the paint was shit.

    My friend had a 92 GT, which handily beat my other friend’s 5.0 when they raced – it was such a fast car.

  • avatar
    last89runningyet

    I have a 89 probe GT that is still running yet. It is the last one in my area that is still running. I have 153,000 miles on it and It has never seen the sait or driven in the snow since I have owned it, 14 years or so. Trying to find parts is getting harder and harder to find them. The dealer will no longer carry them either due to the age. My windsheild wipers just went out on me. I have checked the fuse and the motor they are both good. The switch seems to not be geting power to it. I have seen a wiring diag. of a box dose anyone know where it is located at? I am thinking that this has gone out on me and that could be why they are not working now.
    Please help me. Thanks

  • avatar
    last89runningyet

    P.S. this car is a very strong running car not like the newer ones. I have heard they had alot of issues with them. It is supper fast also with the turbo and the 5 speed manual. I am trying to get a pic. of it up right now just waiting for my e-mail to show up with the pic of it.


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