Stock Turbo: 1990 Ford Probe GT

This 1990 Ford Probe GT is in immaculate condition, and is the desirable turbocharged variety. Similar to the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe we just featured, this sport compact Ford is also saddled with an automatic, but perhaps the slushbox spared it from a boy-racer fate. The seller lists no major faults and notes that the Probe starts, runs, and stops as it should. Find this survivor-grade GT here on eBay with a $5,500 Buy-It-Now and the option to submit a best offer.

The details make this one for me, with the original GT-spec rear bumper still in place, with the GT lettering set into the plastic. The wrap-around taillights show no cracks, and the dual outlet muffler retains its OEM tips. The spoiler was also part of the GT treatment, and on a personal note, I can’t recall the last time I saw a state-issued D.A.R.E. license plate. The power antenna is stuck in the up position, a common fault on cars equipped with a powered aerial that’s more than a few years old.

The GT interior saw red piping on the sport buckets, and this car’s cabin appears practically mint. I could do without the wrap on the steering wheel, but that’s easily removed. The automatic truly is a disappointment, but like I said earlier – many of the 5-speed cars have been ruthlessly trashed by young drivers. The seller notes all interior features work as they should, with functioning air conditioning, power features and cassette stereo. The pop-up headlights still work as intended, and the only real issue is a potentially near-replacement steering rack.

The GT spec cars were more than just a turbocharged 2.2L four-cylinder – they also featured an adjustable suspension, four-wheel discs with ABS braking, and “VAP”, or variable-assist power steering. Though Ford’s initial plans to have this be the Mustang replacement were torpedoed by enthusiasts, the Probe in GT form was still a formidable performer and could compete head-to-head with other sport compacts. These days, finding one this nice is next to impossible, and it has me looking up DIYs for manual transmission swaps.


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  1. Steve R

    The only standout Ford Probe I can remember is the one driven by Bob Glidden. I bet Ford is happy they didn’t go forward with their plans to make this the Mustang. These cars served a purpose, then faded into obscurity, like so many other name plates.

    Steve R

  2. Aep

    Probe….. Made me wonder where is it going? Where has it been?

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    I always found these cars quite interesting, and remember getting one as a rental in Las Vegas when I went to the SEMA Show in the early 1990s.

    It was nice to drive, if a little cheap plasticky.

    Again, this is one of those cars that won’t be garnering much interest, at the moment, which is a good time to buy. Hopefully, the slushbox won’t be a deal-breaker.

  4. Steve M

    D.A.R.E. back when I was a kid it stood for Drugs Are Really Expensive.

  5. Coventrycat

    First time I’ve seen one that nice. Ever.

  6. BarnfindyCollins

    An interesting car that shared a platform with the Mazda MX6 and built at the Ford/Mazda plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. I had this same combo in an creampuff ’88 Mazda 626 GT I traded in on a new ’93 626. It was so nice that I decided to buy it from the dealership. It was fun and would surprise more performance oriented cars that peeled out from stop lights.

  7. ROAR

    This drivetrain package in the TBird was faster than the V8! If the A/T is the same as the fwd ford I have it’s wonderful, I’m VERY pleased with mine, it shifts exactly at the right RPMS given the demand and has an OD retio.

    • Paulbz3

      This is a Mazda based car and this drivetrain was never available in any T-bird. The T-bird/Cougar 4 cylinder turbo motors were all Ford 2.3L designs, with similar tuned turbo motors available in the SVO Mustangs and Merkur XRTi’s. The earlier turbo 2.3 L in the first gen Fox Mustangs and Capri’s were earlier attempts but not quite the same as later T-bird/Mercury/Merkur motors which had higher outputs due to changes learn from the earlier motors which on some models included an inter cooler to better handle higher temps and provide higher output as well as better ECU’s that failed less often due to the higher engine bay temps associated with turbo 4’s.

  8. ghalperin ghalperin

    Keep in mind that this has no Ford mechanicals. It’s a Mazda drivetrain. Even the popup headlights are from the RX-7.

  9. Superdessucke

    A professor of mine had a brand new one back in 1989. Same car only in gold. It was impossibly modern then. Now it looks so ancient, the ruins in Athens almost look contemporary by comparison. Wow how time flies!

  10. JimmyJ

    I worked for Ford when these were new ,lotsa torque steer and lotsa fun! Still didn’t sell many and the 5.0 Mustang was way more fun!

  11. JW

    The first time I saw one of these was at the only full car wash gas station in my home town. While I was waiting for my car to come thru it was being dried off by the CAR WASH boys. It was a dark purple with gray interior. It actually looked cool, kind of like the car Charlie Sheen drove in the movie “The Wraith”.

  12. Classic Steel

    We always joked in the naming convention of this car when they were out asking if you drove this did it count for the suggested colonoscopy for adults 😜

    Maybe the liscense play could say ouches.

    Imagine the fun of ownership stating “Hey everyone I just got probed by Ford” 👀😜🙀

    Seriously this is PROBE(ably) an okay car but not really a muscle car for me .

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I remember hearing years ago that women were offended by the name plate and that is why it was dropped.

      • 427vette

        Everytime I see a Ford Probe, I remember a bit done by the comedian Roy D Mercer where he pretended to be a car salesman that wanted to show a female customer his “probe”. They definitely got the name of that car wrong😂

  13. Tiberius1701

    @ROAR Sorry to correct you but the engine in the Probe had zero commonality with the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. The Bird used a Turbo version of the 2.3 ‘Lima’ engine the Probe was a Mazda-sourced powerplant. But you are correct that the Turbo Bird was faster than a V-8 equipped Thunderbird.

  14. TJ

    I think it’s gorgeous.

  15. Miguel

    Did you know these Probes were used for the cars driving around in Hilldale in 2015? They had just come out and they looked futuristic.

    Do you remember what movie that was?

    • Bill

      Back to the Future II. I think they added ground effects to make them even more futuristic (and look the part of a flying car).

    • Scott

      Back to the Future II – released in 1989

  16. Brett

    I didn’t have a GT but I did drive a 1990 LX with the 3.0 V6. It’s a shame Probes are so looked down on these days. It certainly wasn’t a sports car but it was a ton of fun and the hatchback held a surprising amount of college stuff. That digital dash and center console computer module… if the lighting was right it at least looked like the Batmobile.

    The nerd in me loved the “Instant MPG” feature. Jamming the accelerator would make it drop to _very_ low single digits and coasting at highway speed would max it out to all 9s.

  17. Steven D Visek

    Jeff, you seriously need to revisit the definition of “immaculate” in the dictionary. It is in nice shape, but nowhere close to that.

    I remember test driving a 1989 Probe with turbo and 5-speed and thought it was a great little car. And I always felt that the second gen car of 1993-1997 was a particularly attractive car, along with its brother, the Mazda MX-6.

  18. Wrong Way

    My son got a great deal on his Probe! He accidentally ran across it at the Ford dealer while getting oil change! It belonged to the lady sales manager! Very low miles! I have encouraged him to hang on to it, so far he has! His is a very ugly kinda peach color all original with the 5 speed! I think that they are awesome little cars! I know that Ford didn’t keep making them because the public just couldn’t get used to the body style! It’s one of those cars that you either like them or hate them!

  19. Justin Rhoads

    Holy smokes the black dare plate is like the holy grail in pennsylvania I’m willing to buy it just for that. It might sound weird but if you had one of these back in the day you were the man because the regular PA plate is pretty drab they’re now discontinued. It may not be cali but who doesn’t love a black plate.

    • Steven D Visek

      Justin Rhoads
      FYI you can get them for $150 on eBay.

      • Wrong Way

        Common Justin, what kind of shape are they in for 150.00? I haven’t seen any car for 150.00 forever!

  20. Troy s

    I remember that nasty rumor about the next Mustang being based on this platform, totally wrong idea as far as I was concerned! The other rumor of a 5.8 engine for the 25th anniversary Mustang seemed too good to be true. I actually believed back then 5.0 Mustang sales were helped by the whole fwd rumors, as in buy ’em now before they disappear faster than a Buick Grand National!

  21. tommy

    My sister in law had one of these new and it was a POS

  22. Steve Smith

    It’s the sister to one of my cars, an 89 Mazda MX-6 GT. Same car essentially.

    Like 1
  23. p horn

    This not a real Probe GT. They did not have an Automatic in them. All had 5 speed manuals

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