Mom’s Turbo Barn Find: 1989 Ford Probe GT

The Ford Probe GT is a cheap classic that will likely continue to appreciate mildly as 80s hot hatches become both more desirable and harder to find. The Probe came in a few flavors, with the later models equipped with a sonorous V6 shared with the Mazda MX6. The earlier ones, like this car, were by and large saddled with a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder (or optional Vulcan V6) that often did duty as a hairdresser’s car, but some shoppers opted for the same engine in turbocharged and intercooled form with a five-speed manual. That’s how the seller’s mom ordered this example here on Facebook Marketplace before evidently parking it in a Michigan garage for years.

Aside from the car, I’m most intrigued by the garage setup which seems more like a sunporch with cement walls and an automatic door. The Probe has been parked for some time, but it looks incredibly well preserved despite not having time capsule-grade mileage. The GT came with some exterior dress-up, including a rear spoiler and three-spoke “blade”-style wheels, along with electronically-adjustable suspension, stabilizer bars, and four-wheel disc brakes. The turbocharged four-cylinder put down a healthy 145 b.h.p. and 190 lb-ft of torque, paired to a five-speed manual transmission in most cases.

The seller’s photos are limited, but what we can see of the passenger cockpit reveals a car that had to have been loved. The red velour upholstery is totally period-correct, and in shockingly nice condition considering there’s over 25,000 miles on the clock. When I see interiors like this, any concerns I had about the outside appearance melts away, because it tells me the car was absolutely loved before it was laid up. The listing notes the Probe has a relatively fresh engine courtesy of a quick lube place that forgot to add engine oil after draining it out many years ago – so the indicated mileage is likely chassis-only.

Now, I can’t claim to be an expert in rodent tracking, but little pieces of shredded paper like this always indicates mice infestation to me. That being said, I have recovered junkyard vehicles with old books and manuals inside that fall to pieces when you touch them, leaving a similar mess, but it may be wise to explore the possibility of some chewed wires here and there – after all, those Michigan winters can get cold. Still, you’re talking about a car that’s hard to find in any condition, especially the high-performance model with no modifications and plenty of clues that it was looked after before being parked.


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  1. rmward Member

    And it’s gone.

    Like 2
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Another one of those cars which was fairly popular in its day, now they are rarely seen. Not much to draw info from, beyond Jeff’s observation that the interior looks good for the greater than 100k mileage, and the claim of a new engine. Sold for $1000…. this could be one of those cars that after the routine work to get it back on the road, plus elbow grease, the new owner could have something unique for not much money.

    Like 16
  3. Daniel Wright

    Fun sporty little car with easy to repair mechanicals. The downside serious torque steer and well Probe is something unpleasant and rather violating that happens to you at the doctor…Not a good name for a car.

    Like 4
  4. Sam61

    Another oil change story. An un-named Honda dealer forgot to put oil in my father in laws Ridgeline (10 yrs ago). The Ridgeline went about 12 miles before seizing.

    I had to do alot of calling to get the dealer to make good. I called other dealers under their ownership…No one would/was allowed to provide their corporate number. I finally found a sympathetic employee at their Porsche dealership who called corporate to have them call me.

    Like 4
  5. Erik

    These were EVERYWHERE once and then suddenly all gone like Bob_in_TN stated. Sometimes I figure it is because they were seen as disposable. Other times I think it was the Cash For Clunkers program that was instituted after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis in order to keep the automotive manufacturers and all their related industries (including cotton fabrics for interiors) going and people employed within the economy and by then everybody was onto trucks and SUVs (despite lingering high gas prices after Katrina hit in 2005) and fled from sporty cars.

  6. Healeymonster

    I worked at a Ford Lincoln dealership when these were popular. Once out of warranty the costs to repair were ridiculous. For example, they had Mazda mechanicals so the cost of any part was Mazdas cost, then our dealer would double that to get their “taste”. Three hundred bucks for a 02 sensor was common.

    Like 2
  7. Drew

    Probe? Where is it going, where has it been?

    Like 3
  8. Yellowtr6

    In the early 90s, not long after we finished Air Force flight school, I got a ride in my buddies Probe GT Turbo on the autobahn in Germany. He had it shipped over courtesy of Uncle Sam to his duty station in Europe. It was plenty fast in it’s day and impressed me that day. Fast forward to spring of 95 and I bought my first new car… a 94 Probe GT. This was the second gen car with the smooth-revving 2.5L Mazda V6 and a 5-speed manual. I still miss that car…

    Like 4
  9. t-bone BOB

    Located in Ontonagon, MI

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