The Ford Probe was a two-door sport coupe that was produced by Ford Motor Company from 1988 to 1997. It was based on the Mazda MX-6, but it had a different front end and interior. The Probe was known for its stylish design, comfortable ride, and affordable price. It was a popular choice for young people and those who wanted a stylish and practical car.
Ford Probe Overview
The Ford Probe was a sports coupe produced by Ford in collaboration with its Japanese partner, Mazda, in the late 20th century. It was designed to be a potential successor to the iconic Ford Mustang but ended up being marketed alongside it due to reactions from Mustang enthusiasts. It was introduced in 1988 for the 1989 model year and was produced through 1997 across two generations.
The Probe was a product of Ford’s collaboration with Mazda. The car shared many components with the Mazda MX-6 and was manufactured at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, which was a joint venture between the two companies. The Probe was styled with aerodynamics in mind and boasted a sleek, modern look that was quite distinctive for its time.
Throughout its production, the Probe was offered with various engines, ranging from a 2.0-liter inline-four to a 2.5-liter V6. Manual and automatic transmissions were available, depending on the model year and trim. It was a front-wheel-drive vehicle, which was a departure from the rear-wheel-drive layout traditionally associated with sports cars like the Mustang.
The Probe targeted the sporty coupe segment, competing with cars like the Toyota Celica and Mitsubishi Eclipse. Originally, Ford had considered replacing the rear-wheel-drive Mustang with the front-wheel-drive Probe, given the changing tastes in the automotive market and the increasing importance of fuel efficiency. However, there was a significant backlash from Mustang enthusiasts, leading Ford to continue producing the Mustang alongside the Probe. While it faced stiff competition in its segment, the Probe was generally well-received, particularly for its handling and design. The GT variant, with its V6 engine and performance features, was especially praised.
Production of the Probe ended in 1997, and it was effectively replaced in Ford’s lineup by the front-wheel-drive Cougar (known as the Mercury Cougar in the U.S.) in 1999. Today, the Ford Probe is remembered as a unique offering from Ford during the 1990s, showcasing the brand’s attempt to capture a share of the sporty coupe market while balancing the sentiments attached to the Mustang legacy.