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Ford Probe (1994-1997)

Published: 2nd Nov 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Probe (1994-1997)
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The Probe could – and should – have been so much more of a success than it was. Billed as the new Capri when it arrived in 1994, the Probe arrived in the UK having already been on sale in the US for a couple of years, but buyers didn’t take to it. The styling was sleek and distinctive, but the entry-level 2-litre car wasn’t pokey enough and the far more tasty 2.5-litre edition was too costly. Company car buyers wanted them, but fleet managers didn’t, and as a result Ford always had too much stock and not enough demand. But with the last car having been sold in the UK almost 15 years ago, the Probe is now worth a closer look as a usable everyday classic. Values are at rock bottom while modern technologies such as antilock brakes, power steering, fuel injection and airbags ensure superb usability – especially when you throw in the hatchback confi guration.

What to look for

The biggest likely problem is neglect; Probe values have been at rockbottom for a while, so they often get bought as throwaway transport. Damaged trim and bodywork will be obvious, but also see if the car has been serviced recently. The key thing is that the cam belt has been replaced; it should be done every fi ve years or 60,000 miles, although if the belt lets go the Mazda-designed engines won’t be wrecked as it’s a non contact sport with this engine.

A Probe which smokes is likely to be suffering from worn oil control piston rings rather than tired valve stem seals. While replacement is labour-intensive it’s not impossible for the home mechanic.

Corrosion shouldn’t be an issue as the Probe was well rustproofed; it generally fares better than its contemporary rivals. However even the earliest cars are now 17 years old so check the inner and outer sills, rear wheelarches, and radiator support panel where it meets the front chassis rails. The sliding steel sunroof is pretty much guaranteed to have some corrosion, but glassfi bre replacements are available.

The mechanicals are generally tough, but the rear brake callipers tend to seize while the retaining nuts can work loose on cars with aftermarket alloy wheels. Most early cars will have had their troublesome Bosch immobilisers bypassed; later cars use a more robust Temic system.


As is typical of most 1990s classics, you need to buy according to condition rather than specifi cation, although 2.5-litre V6 models are worth a premium over equivalent 2-litre cars. Most Probes are now languishing in the sub-£1000 bracket, but there are a few that can command a little over £1000. A really nice late 2.5-litre car with few owners and well under 100,000 miles can still be picked up for little more than £1500 though. Anyone asking much over £2000 for their Probe, whatever its specifi cation and condition, is probably being rather optimistic. See what bargains they are?

Driving one

It makes quite a difference which model you go for as the 2-litre Probe can muster just 115bhp, so it’s not very sporty. The V6 is much more like it though, with its 163bhp – and as you’d expect, it’s a much smoother unit than the four-pot. Probe V6s used the front-wheel drive Mazda MX-6 platform, while the 2.0 was based on a 626, so handling is good rather than exciting. Unfortunately, although the Probe is billed as a four-seater, rear seat space is incredibly tight, so you really have to view it as a twoseater with a generous luggage capacity.


March 1994

The Probe goes on sale in 1991cc fourcylinder or 2497cc V6 forms. The 2.0 gets three-spoke 15-inch alloys while those on the V6 are fi ve-spoke 16-inch items. All cars get electric windows, sports seats, tinted glass, twin airbags and an alarm/ immobiliser as standard. The V6 also gets an electric sunroof and cruise control as standard.

June 1995

A minor facelift brings colour-coded door mirrors, redesigned seats fabrics and a new immobiliser system. The 2-litre edition also has an electric sunroof. Later cars of both engine sizes have redesigned wheels.

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