You better live in a good neighborhood as today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Probe has no locks on its doors. That invitation to invasion may be alarming, but when you look at the car’s cost, it might be you doing the stealing.
I think it’s remarkable that it’s taking Ford so long to bring back the Bronco name here in the U.S.. After all, O.J. Simpson is still in the news and what better spokesperson could there be for the model?
Yesterday’s 1996 Ford Bronco XLT didn’t need Orenthal James to talk it up. Nope, that classic with a cap looked pretty sweet. And, at $7,900 the only thing it could be indicted for was being a good value. That was indicated by the 80-percent of you that awarded the green machine a Nice Price win.
For today’s contest we’re going to stick with ‘90s Fords, Alex. However, we’re now going to look at the extreme opposite end of the Blue Oval’s model line—one that today is almost totally absent.
Sporty FWD coupes used to be as common a sight on dealer lots as milling salesmen in poorly-fitting short sleeve work shirts. Nowadays there’s the Hyundai Veloster and… jeez, is that it?
Back in the ‘90s though, a ‘Crossover’ was a TV show where maybe ALF appeared on Friends and ate Pheobe’s cat. That term had yet to be applied to the type of tall wagon that would eventually wipe out the sporty FWD Coupe (henceforth referred to as SFWDC) from the dealer landscape.
Back then Ford thought the SFWDC market to be so robust that they decided to replace their long-running pony car, the Mustang with a new Mazda-based car to be called the ‘Mustang Probe.’
I put that name in quotes since it never came to fruition. Mustang fanatics got wind of the sacrilegious plan and threatened to burn this mother down if it came to pass. That scared the corporate shit out of Ford who quickly retooled embossings to eliminate the Mustang name from the new model and instead slotted it in under the existing pony.
The Probe would last through two product cycles before falling victim to its own poor name (Probe? really?) and the realities of a market that no longer could find any love in its heart for SFWDCs. That’s too bad because by the time the Probe’s second edition had rolled around, it had developed into a seriously pretty little car.
Here we have an example of that—a 1994 Probe, in red over grey cloth rocking the base model 2.2-litre four sourced from Mazda. The Flat Rock, Michigan-built Ford took a ton of other bits from Mazda, including its platform, which was shared with the MX6.
This one has a five-speed and—get ready for this—over 219,000 miles on its original clutch. That’s not the only affront this Probe has had to face. There’s also an exhaust that’s mostly missing, a punctured brake line that means no stopping for you, and, most weirdly, no door locks. Filling the space where the locks used to be is dirt or bubble gum or something else that I don’t any of us wants to touch. Why would you yank the locks out? Who knows? All I know is that the car now looks like that guy in The Birds who was killed by having his eyes... well, you know.
Still, the car is pretty, pretty, right? Well, it looks good from a distance, The seller is pretty transparent about all the boogers on the car, going to lengths to detail them in the pictures. Despite that, it looks to be reasonably solid, the interior is in remarkably good shape, and the car only costs $600.
I know, that last bit has you all standing up and pointing at your computer screens while shouting ‘LeMons!, LeMons!’ Yep, my thoughts too. Now sit your ass back down, other people have to work here too, you know.
Not only would this car make a righteous LeMons base but I have the perfect theme for it too. Are you ready?
That’s right, since there isn’t anything that isn’t crazy anymore, the United States will likely be adding another branch to its armed forces. Joining the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines will be the Space Force since apparently we can’t have anything nice anymore. What better car to carry the mantle of this new military arm than a ‘Probe?’ Also, Ford’s SFWDC does look a bit like some sort of space missile, doesn’t it? I can picture Laura Dern driving it and mouthing ‘Pew, pew’ with every shift.
Okay, let’s wrap up. Here we have a decent looking but weirdly flawed Probe with a price tag that’s safely within the 24 Heures de Citrons range. Does that get your motor running? Bonus, if you race it, you don’t need door locks.
What do you think, is this Probe worth that $600 asking no matter what you do with it? Or, even for that, is it too far gone, daddy gone?
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