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The Ford Probe was a coupe produced by Ford, introduced in 1989 to replace the Ford EXP as the company's sport compact car. The Probe was fully based on the Mazda G-platform using unique sheetmetal and interior. The instrument cluster and pop-up headlight mechanisms are borrowed from the FC RX-7. While it was sold worldwide as a sporty coupe, the Probe was intended to fill the market niche formerly occupied by the Capri in Europe, and although it was intended as the replacement to the Ford EXP, it was also considered a possible replacement for the Ford Mustang in the North American market as a direct competitor with the Acura Integra and the Toyota Celica. During that time, Ford's marketing team had deemed that a front-wheel drive platform (borrowed Mazda GD and GE platforms) would have lower costs for production, and also because the platform had been gaining popularity with the consumers. Mustang fans objected to the front-wheel drive configuration, Japanesemarker engineering, and lack of a V8, so Ford began work on a new design for the Mustang instead.

Background

Starting in the late 1970s, Ford and Ghia started exploring a series of futuristic designs under the "probe" series of concept vehicles. The Probe I, first shown in 1979, was a wedge-shaped design that incorporated a number of drag-reducing features like covered rear wheels and pop-up headlights. This was followed the next year by a much more conventional looking Probe II, whose hatchback styling was also reminiscent of the pony cars. The 1981 Probe III was an advanced demonstrator with covered wheels, but its bodywork evolved into the more conventional Ford Sierra (or Merkur XR4Ti) and styling notes that were used on the Ford Taurus. The 1982 Probe IV was a more radical concept car with a low Cd (drag coefficient), and evolved into the equally radical 1984 Probe V.

After the 1979 energy crisis, the economic slump initiated by high fuel prices prompted Ford to give the Ford Mustang a major redesign. The new design would be based on a totally new platform introduced to Ford by Japanese car manufacturer and Ford partner Mazda. But when the new generation of the Ford Mustang neared its release date, oil prices dropped to an all time low and Ford Mustang buyers expressed their displeasure in the style of the proposed replacement. The car was eventually released, not as a Ford Mustang but as the Ford Probe.

The Ford Probe is a product of the joint Ford and Mazda venture called the AutoAlliance Internationalmarker. Its unique body panels and interior were designed and manufactured in the AutoAlliance assembly plant located in Flat Rock, Michigan, the same facility that manufactured the Mazda MX-6 coupe and Mazda 626 sedan for the North American market.

The Ford Probe was introduced to the U.S. market in 1988 and was completely different from the Mazda MX-6, which was a 2-door sedan with traditional fixed headlights. The Ford Probe shares most of its mechanical parts with the Mazda MX-6 and 626. Both the Ford Probe and the Mazda MX-6 were based on the Mazda GD platform from 1988 to 1992, and on the GE platform from 1993 to 1997.

Initially planned to replace Mustang, Ford executives also expected the Probe to achieve success in the market. However, the car fell short of Ford’s expectations. The Probe's styling, while modern, was not universally accepted. It was also not affordable, making many buyers choose another, and more-prestigious brand, for the price of a Ford Probe. Total sales amounted to 837,273 units in its eight-year production run. In 1997, sales dropped to only 32,505 units, and the Probe was finally discontinued.

Probe

The Ford Probe was a coupé based on the Mazda GD platform, and powered by a 2.2 L SOHC 4 cylinder Mazda F2 engine.The first generation Probe appeared in 1988 and lasted until 1992 in the United States. In some markets the model years were from 1987 to 1991. It was based on a series of concept cars of the early 1980s, that were seen in films like Judge Dredd, Back to the Future Part II, and Total Recall.

The first generation was available in several trim levels that differ depending on the market the vehicle was sold in. In the United Statesmarker, the Probe was available in GL, LX, and GT trim levels:
  • The GL was the base model with the / F2 2.2 L engine and few options. Most Probes sold in the U.S. were equipped with air conditioning.
  • The LX added; power windows, power locks, and power mirrors, and different other interior options, as well as an optional moonroof. Starting in 1990, the LX was available with the 3.0 L "Vulcan" V6 engine, that was also used in the Ford Taurus, Ford Ranger, Ford Tempo, and Ford Aerostar.
  • The GT included all the equipment of the LX, but featured the F2T 2.2 L turbocharged, intercooled engine that produced and of torque. It came with an IHI RHB5-VJ11 turbocharger and an intercooler to the intake tract, as well as a knock sensor and electronic boost controller to the engine-control system. The boost pressure was in the vicinity of 2,500 rpm. The GT version also came with 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, a 3-way adjustable suspension utilizing variable damping shocks, and a speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering (VAP). The Probe GT's suspension system was based on a Mazda design, but its tuning was different and included nitrogen-gas pressurized front and rear struts, with stabilizer bars.


The 1991 Probe was given a 4-star crash rating in collision tests conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Engine specifications

2.2 L SOHC 12 Valve I4
Type Inline 4
Displacement
Compression Ratio 8.6:1
Engine-control system Mazda with port fuel injection
Power (SAE net) @ 4700 rpm
Torque (SAE net) @ 3000 rpm


2.2 L Turbo SOHC 12 Valve I4
Type Inline 4
Displacement
Compression Ratio 7.8:1
Engine-control system Mazda with port fuel injection
Power (SAE net) @ 4300 rpm
Torque (SAE net) @ 3500 rpm


3.0 L OHV 12 Valve V6
Type V6
Displacement
Compression Ratio 8.6:1
Engine-control system Ford EEC-IV
Power (SAE net) @ 4800 rpm
Torque (SAE net) @ 3000 rpm


1993-1997 Probe

The second generation Ford Probe was first debuted in August 1992 as a 1993 model. It was assembled by AutoAlliance Internationalmarker in Flat Rock, Michiganmarker. Two trim levels were initially offered, GL and GT, each with two preferred equipment packages that were offered by Ford, 046A and 047A for the GL or base model, 050A and 051A for the GT model.

The SE or base model started at just over $13,000 USD and came standard with a 2.0 L I4 engine, performance instrument cluster with tachometer and full gauge compliment, and electronic AM/FM stereo radio. The sportier GT model started at $15,504 USD and came standard with a 2.5 L V6 engine, low profile P225/50VR16 91V Goodyear VR50 Gatorback tires, 4-wheel disc brakes, unique front and rear fascias, fog lights, 5-spoke aluminum wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, and driver seat power lumbar/seat back side bolster adjustment. By 1997, the GT with every option would put you out about $22,500 dollars, a bit steep in price, but performance was just right for its class. Both engines featured double overhead cam designs with the choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Two automatic transmissions were available to the Ford Probe. At first both engines shared the same automatic transmission, the Ford F-4EAT transmission, but from 1994 onwards this changed. The V6 engine continued to use the 4EAT, but the 2.0 L I4 engine used a different automatic transmission, the Ford CD4E transmission. It was sourced by Ford, and manufactured at Ford's Batavia Transmission plant in Batavia, Ohio.

In 1994 there was a "Feature Model" Probe which included Wild Orchid exterior paint, unique floor mats that had "PROBE" embroidered into them, and black GT cloth bucket seats with unique purple inserts. Wild Orchid Probe Picture

A new SE (Sports Edition) trim level also debut in 1994 which included the GT front fascia (without fog lamps), GT body-color bodyside cladding, unique aluminum wheels, P205/55R15 BSW and Sport Edition "SE" nomenclature.

The rear spoiler was made standard on the 1996 Probe GTs. Previously it was a very popular dealer installed accessory.

In 1997 (the Probe's final year of production) a GTS trim level was offered. It had no more performance than the regular GT, but exterior modifications were distinct. Dual racing stripes available in either white or black started at the top edge of the front bumper and continued on to the back lip of the hatch, terminating just below the center light reflector on the rear bumper. Chrome wheels and a spoiler were also included in the package, as well as having a "blank" center reflector which lacked "GT" lettering that was characteristic to the Australian and European models which were available in either 16V and 24V versus "GT","SE",or base model in North America.
rear view
In Japanmarker, the 2.5 L V6 was the higher performance KL-ZE. In Europe and America, the 2.5 L V6 was a lower performance KL-DE (often incorrectly referred to as the KL-03) and the 2.0 L was the FS. The primary difference of the Japanese version is that it produced more power though higher compression pistons, aggressive camshafts, intake manifold and head. It also lacked an emissions control component called Exhaust gas recirculation that is required by law in North America and Europe.

Preferred equipment packages and options

This is an example of equipment and options available on the 1993 model year, Canadian market vehicle. Vehicles destined for other markets may have had additional and/or deleted equipment from this listing. An example would be on the European market vehicle, a rear fog light was in place of one of the rear backup lamps in order to meet the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Transport Division Vehicle Regulation 38, and some vehicles were manufactured for right hand drive configuration.

(Initial offerings for 1993 model year in Canadamarker)

P = Package feature O = Optional feature S = Standard feature
046A 047A 050A 051A
Appearance/Comfort/Convenience
Dual electric remote-control mirrors P P P P
Tilt steering column P P P P
Convenience Group: tinted glass; variable-timed interval wipers; remote-control fuel door and liftgate releases; battery saver; convenience lights for door/liftgate ajar, low fuel, low washer fluid, glove box, engine compartment; plus fade-to-off dome lamp and headlamp warning chime P P P P
Manual air conditioning O P P P
Remote keyless entry system O P O P
Power Group: power windows with driver-side "express down" feature; power door locks; and door map pockets O P O P
Light Group: illuminated entry system; dual illuminated visor mirrors; fade-to-off dome lamp with map lights O P O P
Color-keyed bodyside moldings O P O P
Speed control O P O P
Rear wiper/washer and heated electric remote mirrors O O O P
Console with storage bin, armrest, and cup holder O O S S
Manual driver's seat height adjustment O O O O
6-way power driver's seat adjustment O O O O
Color-keyed front floor mats O O O O
Power sliding roof (includes map lights in an overhead console) O O O O
15" aluminum wheels and P205/55R15 87S radial tires O O - -
Seats
GT cloth bucket seats, GT door trim and instrument panel accent stripe, and cargo net O O S S
Leather seating surfaces (on Probe model, requires optional GT bucket seats and 6-way power driver's seat adjustment) O O O O
Stereo Systems
Electronic AM/FM stereo radio with cassette player and premium sound system P P P P
Compact disc player with electronic AM/FM stereo radio and premium sound system O O O O
Graphic equalizer O O O O
Power antenna O O O O
Radio credit option (deletes standard AM/FM stereo radio) O - - -
Performance
Electronic 4-speed automatic transaxle O O O O
Anti-lock brake system (includes 4-wheel disc brakes and sport suspension in Probe model O O O P


Paint and trim colors

(Initial offering, 1993 model year)
Exterior Paint Colors Interior Trim Colors
Opal Grey Royal Blue Ruby Red Black
Vibrant White X X X X
Black X X X X
Rio Red (tinted non-metallic) Clearcoat X - X X
Electric Red Clearcoat Metallic X - X X
Bimini Blue Clearcoat Metallic X X - X
Steel Blue Frost Clearcoat Metallic X - - X
Electric Blue Clearcoat Metallic X X - X
Bright Yellow (tinted non-metallic) Clearcoat X - - X
Bright Calypso Green Clearcoat Metallic X - - X
Silver Clearcoat Metallic X X X X--


Models

Year Model Engine Power Torque 0–60 mph (97 km/h) 0.25 mi (0.4 km) Top speed
1993–1997 GL, SE
1993–1997 GT KL-DE V6 at 5600 rpm at 4000 rpm 7.0s 15.5 at 89 mph (142 km/h) 133 mph (218 km/h)
1997 GTS KL-DE V6 at 5600 rpm at 4000 rpm 7.1s 15.5 at 89 mph (142 km/h) 133 mph (218 km/h)


Engine specifications

(Initial specifications for 1993 model year)

DOHC 16 Valve I4
Type Inline 4, aluminum block and heads
Bore x stroke 3.27 x 3.62 in, 83 x 92 mm
Displacement
Compression Ratio 9.1:1
Engine-control system Mazda with port fuel injection
Emissions control 3-way catalytic converter, feedback fuel-air-ratio control, EGR
Valve gear belt and gear driven overhead cam, 4 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
Power (SAE net) @ 5500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) @ 3500 rpm
Redline 6500 rpm
DOHC 24 Valve V6
Type V-6, aluminum block and heads
Bore x stroke 3.33 x 2.92 in, 84.5 x 74.2 mm
Displacement
Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Engine-control system Mazda with port fuel injection
Emissions control 3-way catalytic converter, feedback fuel-air-ratio control, EGR
Valve gear belt and gear driven double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters
Power (SAE net) @ 5600 rpm
Torque (SAE net) @ 4000 rpm
Oil Pressure @ 1000 rpm 28 psi
Oil Pressure @ 3000 rpm 49-71 psi
Redline 6700 rpm


Awards

The Probe GT was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1993. It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1989, 1993, and 1994.

See also



References




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