Here's to the Ford Probe GT, the car that looks and is equipped remarkably like today's turbo four cylinder sports cars. With the 2015 Mustang reputedly finally driving a stake into the Boomer nostalgia fest of the last design- hopefully now Ford is finally going to offer a car that matches the engines in quality and innovation.
But what could have been had buyer's bought more Probe's instead of Fox body 5.0s.
For the 80's, it was a forward thinking design:
The GT included all the equipment of the LX, but featured the F2T 2.2 L turbocharged, intercooled engine that produced 145 hp (108 kW) and 190 lbft (258 Nm) 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 7.3 psi (0.50 bar) 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.
And that was just the first gen. The second gen (92-97) did the current revamp favorite move- longer, wider and lighter (125 pounds in fact). And much like how the Focus ST and Fiesta ST specialize in punching above their weight, the Probe did it first:
In a coast to coast road test by Automobile Magazine in search of the best cars in the world, the Probe GT scored third place, right behind an $80,000 Mercedes-Benz and an $80,000 BMW. In the article, the Probe listed at about $15,000.
And visually, the car hold up well (unlike many "cutting edge" designs from the 80's and 90's). I saw one today, and it still turns heads (especially in black).
More praise for the Probe:
The NASCAR Dash Series version of a 1990 Ford Probe driven by Jeffrey Collier set a new track record at Daytona International Speedway February 13, 1990 with a speed of 166.553 mph. That record still stands as the fastest closed course lap for a non-turbo 4-cylinder powered car.