Hagerty.com

When Ford almost killed the Mustang, the Probe was the heir apparent


#1

Barely muffled pipes trumpeting piston pandemonium. Tires furiously converting black rubber to white froth. Back end slewed sideways scratching for purchase. What could possibly be better? Certainly not a pointy-nosed front-driver with barely the energy to chirp a tire. Yet 30 years ago, Ford threatened to replace America’s prized pony car with the Probe, a car unworthy of wearing the Mustang’s saddle. To ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself, we gathered the alleged perpetrators for a day of back-road thrashing near our Ann Arbor office.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/11/19/when-ford-almost-killed-the-mustang

#2

You are mistaken about O.John Coletti, he did not lead all things named“Special Vehicle” at Ford. Walter Hayes led Special Vehicle Operations back in the early 1980’s.

I recall Coletti mentioning in an article that he was forever greatfull to Bob Rewey who provided “air cover” to his group, as did Harold « Red » Poling, who provided « air cover to SVO, otherwise, as Coletti noted « the antibodies would have killed them off.

David LaRocque
1986 Mustang SVO


#3

I’ve been a lifelong Mustang fan but I owned a 1994 Probe GT 5speed. It was such a fun car to drive. Unfortunately after 253,000 miles it was time to let it go. I’ve always said if I could’ve found enough parts to rebuild the engine, I would still have it.


#4

A similar thing happened with the Camaro. The 4th gen Camaro was originally slatted to debut in 87 but when Camaro enthusiasts heard that the new car was front wheel drive the cries of protest were so loud that the GM brass decided not to release it as a Camaro but renamed it the Beretta and since the designers and engineers had to start over from scratch, the 4th gen cars were delayed until 93.


#5

Great story…I am one of the letter writing angry Mustang enthusiasts that could not believe that Ford was thinking of shelving the beloved car.I grew up a Ford guy (Mustang) and was smack in the middle of helping make the 5.0 Stang the 80s/90s (foxbody)the legend it is today.I still have my '87 Coupe, with over triple the 225 hp it came with, and still stomping the streets here in Tampa Fl…Grateful that Ford listened to the enthusiasts back then!!
Vernon Davis
Tampa, Fl