Junkyard Find: 1989 Ford Probe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Last89runningyet Last89runningyet on Aug 21, 2012

    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

  • Last89runningyet Last89runningyet on Aug 21, 2012

    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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