Junkyard Find: 1993 Ford Probe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1993 ford probe

I’ve noticed that you don’t see many Grateful Dead stickers on stereotypical hippie-type vehicles in junkyards. No, you see such stickers all over stuff like big ol’ GMC pickups (though I did find this thoroughly Steal Your Face-ized Vanagon a couple years back). Last week, while looking for a suitable speedometer for the Kustom Korona, I spotted this Deadheaded-up Ford Probe, complete with this intensely Coloradic dab-themed SYF image that you wouldn’t want to take across the state line into Nebraska or Kansas.

The Probe was going to be the new Mustang, but that would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Mustang fanatics burning Dearborn to the ground and then doing burnouts on the ashes in their properly rear-wheel-drive ponies.

Interestingly, I’ve found that a well-driven Probe will be quicker around a road course than just about any other crapcan racer. If Probes didn’t have such problems with exploding powertrains in LeMons races, they’d have won more than just the couple victories they’ve notched over the years. In any case, if you see a Probe and a similar-vintage Mustang going wheel-to-wheel in such a race, bet on the Probe (Fox Mustangs are even less reliable in low-buck endurance racing).

The driver of this car probably didn’t care much about the Probe’s nearly-Mustang backstory, though.

The Grateful Dead broke up in 1995, when Jerry Garcia died, and so it’s possible that this Probe brought its owner to some of the band’s final shows. Some of the stickers appear to be of 1990s or earlier vintage, though it’s hard to tell with such things.

It’s even a 5-speed. Too bad this car couldn’t have ended up as a racer.

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  • Autojim Autojim on Feb 11, 2015

    I had a '94 GT with the V6. Bought it for autocross (2nd-gen Probe GTs and MX-6s dominated G Stock; the 4-cylinder cars did well in H Stock, too). The '94 added larger door impact beams, a passenger airbag, and lost the button to pop up the lights independent of the headlamp switch. I put a custom 2.5" mandrel-bent cat-back exhaust on it with a Supertrapp (the hot ticket for Stock class autocross, though the Borla cat-back didn't sacrifice as much bottom end). Somewhere along the way I picked up a base Probe/all MX-6 front sway bar to slightly counter the inside-tire wheelspin that the stiffer PGT had vs the softer MX-6 when coming off tight corners. I drove that car for 170,000 miles through many adventures, and it always got me home. In '99, I got my Mustang Cobra and the Probe's autocross days were done, but I still drove it every day. In late 2000, the years of hard-revving started to loosen up the motor just a bit much and power was noticeably down. Found a sub-30k-mile salvage yard motor, which we opened up, verified good condition, replaced all the gaskets, the timing belt, and the water pump when we reassembled, so it was essentially fresh. And then 6000 miles later, a lady in a Honda Civic decided stopping suddenly in the middle of Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township was required prior to turning right into a parking lot. The Neon behind her stopped just short (but had no brake lights, a thing proven to the investigating officer, who had witnessed it from his radar position in one of the median cutouts), I dove right and ALMOST missed. Clipped the Neon's RR corner with the LF corner of the Probe. If the impact hadn't pulled the inner tie rod out of the steering rack, the insurance company might have fixed it. Instead, the cost of that rack pushed repairs up over the threshold. I pulled the stereo head unit I'd installed and the shift knob (which I still have, along with the keys and radio key fobs), and off it went. After presenting the receipts for all the recent work, the insurance payout was suitable. I thought about buying it back, fixing the damage, caging it, and running it in Club Racing Improved Touring, but the numbers didn't work out for that. It got auctioned off, sent to Florida, and apparently fixed, because for several years I got notices from Ford stores in Florida welcoming me to their service departments. I still miss that car. Great on the highway, fun to drive, the seats were more comfortable than the Cobra's, and like I said, it always got me home. Even in its final moment with me, it threw itself on the grenade and I was unharmed by the impact, despite its heavy offset. Its shift knob lives in the Cobra's glovebox, passing on a little of its spirit to its successor.

  • Incognito Incognito on Jul 27, 2018

    I had one just like the car pictured (same color, even) from 96 to the early 2000s. I got it as a college graduation gift. Sticker price 14k, and my parents paid $8500 for it if I remember right. It was one of a small number of options at the time if you wanted a cheap semi-American sports car. It was fun to drive and looked pretty cool. It’s one of the nicer looking designs ford has ever come up with. Even today when I see one, they don’t look too bad. You’d really feel the torque at the low end, then it would bottom out once you got into the higher revs. Once I got around 140k it was noisy, the brakes weren’t too good, and it needed a new air compressor that would’ve cost $800. I was sort poor st the time, so I drove it around without the AC until an idiot neighbor crashed into it and totaled it out when it was parked in front of my mom and dad’s house.

  • Akear The Prius outsells all GM EVs combined, which is really not saying much.
  • Akear The sad truth is the only vehicle FCA sold that broke the 200,000 sales barrier was the 200. I rented one and found it impressive. It is certainly better than the Renegade. At this point I would buy a used 200 over a Renegade. Who in their right mind would buy a Renegade?
  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the dot.com bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗