• Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
When word leaked out, during the late 1980s, that Ford had conspired with Mazda to develop a— gasp!— front-wheel-drive Mustang, enraged mobs descended on Dearborn and left it a smoldering crater in a ravaged Michigan landscape. Well, perhaps the reaction wasn't quite so extreme, but the lesson was the same one Porsche has learned about engine placement in the 911: some traditions cannot be futzed with. The new front-drive coupe ended up being called the Probe. Here's one I shot in a California wrecking yard earlier this month.



These cars were pretty quick for the time, and they handled better than the increasingly heavy Fox Mustangs they were supposed to replace. Having seen many Mustangs and Probes of this era competing on road courses, I'd say that the Probe (and its mechanically-nearly-identical Mazda sibling, the MX-6) is much quicker in any competition involving braking and turning.



This one made it past the magical 200,000 mile mark, though just barely. Most junkyard Mazdas I see don't have odometer totals quite as high as same-year Hondas and Toyotas, so this is respectable.



The 1994 Probe could be purchased with a 2.0-liter, 118-horsepower four-cylinder or a 2.5-liter V6 making 164 horsepower. This car has the four, attached to a 5-speed, which made the car speedy enough to be fun.



The GT version got four-wheel discs, in addition to the V6 engine, while the regular Probe was more of a sporty commuter car.



This promotional video emphasizes the futuristic engineering and slippery aerodynamics in the Probe.


The Probe was sold as a Ford in Japan, where we can assume it sold better than the Toyota Cavalier.

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