Turbo Hot Hatch: 1989 Ford Probe GT Turbo – Sold!
On this edition of Free For All Friday, we’re taking a look at a very Radwood-friendly hot hatch from the 80s that combines three of our favorite things: pop-up headlights, turbocharging, and three-spoke wheels. Yes, it is none other than a first-generation Ford Probe GT Turbo found on Craigslist in Baltimore, Maryland, with no asking price listed and the seller instead instructing interested buyers to make serious offers. Checking the NADA Classic Car Guide confirms a turbocharged Probe GT of this era in top-flight condition sells for around $2,500, so hopefully the seller is looking for slightly under that number as I wouldn’t call this Probe GT perfect, but instead a solid driver.
To me, the most incredible aspect of the Ford Probe is not its styling or performance, but its scandal-marked heritage. Conceived as part of a joint effort with Mazda, Ford actually intended to replace the iconic Mustang with this – a front-wheel-drive hatchback developed in tandem with a Japanese automaker, and the ultimate insult, a thumping V8 replaced by a turbocharged four-cylinder. The response was heated and highly negative, with consumers becoming the equivalent of angry village people storming the corporate gates with pitchforks and lit torches. Ford quickly changed gears to preserve the Mustang on a refreshed Fox platform while also introducing the Probe as a separate model taking aim at front-wheel drive import coupes – this, despite Mazda offering a corporate “twin” under the MX-6 moniker. If the turbo four wasn’t to your liking, Ford also made the Vulcan V6 from the Taurus an optional upgrade.
The following video is a MotorWeek review of then-new Ford Probe GT Turbo when it was new:
If you’re firmly in the camp of car shoppers that would have liked to have seen Ford make the jump to turbocharged performance cars sooner than in the last few years, this Probe GT is worth a look. First-generation Probes are generally hard to find, with base models often heavily used and abused, and GTs typically over-modified by young drivers and other boost-crazed enthusiasts – if you can even find one. This example remains in stock condition, with no obvious signs of the tell-tale modifications typically made by those operating on a limited budget while trying to address an unquenchable need for more speed. The seller notes some cosmetic issues, including the need for a new headliner, and that the shocks are due for replacement. He has installed a new clutch and flywheel under his watch and notes that this turbocharged Ford pulls hard and runs well. While the “make offer” listings can be a tad annoying, it never hurts to call and see what the seller is thinking. Good luck with the negotiations if you decide to check it out!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1989 RARE ford probe gt TURBO, 2.2l turbo, new Exedy clutch and flywheel, needs some cosmetic work, cars runs exceptionally well, needs shocks , headliner needs reupholstered, car pulls very well. 2 owner car have all the original manuals as well as the original vin plate from ford. Any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Bought this car as a project and now getting a different one. This is a collector car MAKE SERIOUS OFFERS !!!!!!(4(4(3(6(5(7(0(7(8(9“
Do you have a Ford Probe story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!