The Ford Probe was in production from 1989 to 1997; in that time, it became Ford's primary focus as a possible replacement for the Mustang brand. The Ford Probe was set to be the company's signature sports coupe that would compete heavily with similar cars such as the Toyota Celica. However, after abysmal sales in 1997 and its lack of a V8 engine, Ford discontinued the Probe and drew its attention to redesigning the Mustang.
Only two generations of Ford Probe were produced; the first generation began in 1989 and ended in 1992, while the second generation lasted from 1993 to 1997. Despite a slight rounded redesign in the second generation model, both versions were available as 2-door hatchbacks. The base model was known as the SE, and the GT and GSE were upgraded models with larger engines, such as the 2.4-liter V6 with 156 foot-pounds of torque. It had more power than the four-cylinder and could go from 0 to 60 mph in seven seconds.
The first generation Probe ran for only 4 years before the redesign in 1993. The GL was the base model for this generation and featured a 110-horsepower 2.2-liter engine. The GT model featured a 2.2-liter turbocharged engine with 5-speed manual transmission. The second generation equaled the four years of the first generation but was given an additional two inches to the overall length of the car. Despite the extra length, it was still 125 pounds lighter than earlier models.
The Ford Probe was full of features, especially for the more expensive GT model. The base model came standard with AM/FM stereo with a full gauge compliment. However, the GT model was well-equipped with leather-wrapped steering wheel, low profile tires, fog lights, and 5-spoke aluminum rims. An SE trim level was also created that was less expensive than the GT model but retained the rims and front fascia of the GT without the fog lights.
As far as recognizing the Ford Probe for its achievements while in production, Motor Trend magazine named the 1993 Ford Probe GT its Car of the Year". Car and Driver magazine placed the Probe in its "Ten Best List" for the 1989, 1993 and 1994 model years. The 1996 model won the "Best Overall Value of the Year Award" from IntelliChoice. Despite its lack of a V8, the Ford Probe four-cylinder model holds the track record at Daytona International Speedway for fastest closed-course lap. At 166.552 miles per hour, no other four-cylinder car has come close to beating the record.
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