On this day in auto history – May 13th

Thu 13th May 2021

It was on this day in 1988 that the often-maligned and generally unloved Ford Probe was introduced.

The sports coupe, which was produced in collaboration with Mazda, was intended to fill the same market niche previously occupied by the popular Ford Capri in Europe some years earlier and had at one stage been talked of as a possible replacement for the Mustang in North America.

Originally a sales success owing to its futuristic styling and enjoyable driving experience, the Probe lost its momentum when a second generation model was introduced in 1993 just at a time when there was a rising demand for Japanese-built models in the same sector.

Ford had been hoping to sell around 20,000 Probes in Britain each year as the market recovered from the effects of the 1992 recession but annual sales figures only hovered around the 5,000 mark.

A third generation Probe was announced in 1999 but, halfway through production, Ford decided to abandon the project and rebadge the vehicle as the Cougar in Europe and the Mercury in North America.