Have someone draw their ideal of a ’90s sports car and they just might draw a passable sketch of the Ford Probe. No, it wasn’t technically the best car in the world to drive, but it lives on in collective memory for the dominant attribute of just being cool (and, yes, for its silly name and for being a bit of a flop too. ).

The first probe was launched in 1989 in the United States, but it was not until the arrival of the second generation model in 1994 that the United Kingdom was able to try this successor to the next generation Capri. The second-generation model had a much sleeker design and was derived from the front-wheel drive Mazda G platform used by the Mazda 626 as part of Ford’s partnership with the Japanese company. In fact, the engine, chassis, and drivetrain were all developed by Mazda, while Ford focused on the bodywork and interior.

The probe shared similarities to the Mazda MX-6 it was based on, but it was meant to act, spiritually, like the futuristic reimagining of the sacred Mustang pony car, with retractable headlights – now a symbol of times gone by – contrasting with narrow headlights to give a visual impression similar to that of a UFO.

Ford sold around 15,000 probes in the UK over three years – well below its annual target of 20,000 – before imports ceased in 1997 before the release of the more blatantly quiet Cougar a year later .

The probe was originally available in the UK for £ 19,350. Throughout its production life, however, its entry price dropped and it ended up costing as little as £ 12,700, largely in response to declining sales.

The sad reality is that it was definitely a fun car to drive, given its Mazda-Ford lineage. Two mild petrol engines were up for grabs: a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 113bhp and a more powerful 24v spec (named after its valve count) with a 2.5-liter V6, good for 160bhp. and capable of 0-62 mph in 8.5 seconds.

The Probe also had no shortage of equipment for the time, with central locking, power windows and seats, air conditioning and standard leather upholstery and an optional power sunroof.

In the UK, the numbers of probes have fallen year on year. Only 321 copies were registered at the end of 2020, according to howmanyleft. co.uk, so a low mileage example in above average condition could prove to be a good investment, given the increasing rarity of the model.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-07-05 05:01:23

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