Home » Replacement Horses: 2000 Ford Mustang vs 1991 Ford Probe

Replacement Horses: 2000 Ford Mustang vs 1991 Ford Probe

Mustang Vs Probe

Welcome back to Shitbox Showdown, where we take two crappy cars and let you decide which one’s the least-worst. Before we get into replacements for an American icon, let’s take a look at how yesterday’s all-weather wagon showdown went.

Outback Vs Civic Final

It’s reasonably close, but the Civic takes it. What did I expect? Reliable curiosity beats run-of-the-mill any day of the week. Today, we’re talking about cars meant to replace the Fox body Mustang. There was a time when Ford considered killing its darling, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Still, we’ve lined up an eventual replacement against an intended replacement to settle a score.

2000 Ford Mustang – $2,595

2000 Mustang V6 1

Engine/drivetrain: 3.8-liter V6, five-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive.

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Odometer reading: 175,000 miles

Runs/drives? Absolutely.

While this isn’t exactly a direct replacement for the notorious fox body Mustang, it’s the facelift of the replacement. Welcome to the New Edge Mustang. In 1999, Ford took the fourth-generation Mustang and decided to toughen up its appearance by adding a ton of lines and straightening out many curves. The result is this, a more aggressive Mustang than the model launched in 1994.

2000 Mustang V6 2

Although these base-model Mustangs were much sprightlier than their four-cylinder predecessors, they still leave something to be desired in the acceleration department. While New Edge V6 Mustangs gained split-port induction for a 40-horsepower boost over older models, this 3.8-liter V6 made 190 horsepower – four fewer than a V6 Camry from the same vintage could pull out of three liters. Still, at least the five-speed manual means as much power as possible makes it to the rear tires.

2000 Mustang V6 3

On the outside, this Mustang has seen some shit. The paint sort-of exists, although the clearcoat is flaking due to life in the sun and there are massive black marks on the hood. Are those due to paint failure or due to hitting stuff? Who knows? Either way, this is one ugly ‘stang despite the bright red color.

2000 Mustang V6 4

There isn’t much great news on the inside either, as the driver’s seat is torn in multiple spots and the dashboard is cracked. Bargain-basement materials abound, and bolstering is virtually nonexistent. Still, at least the air-conditioning is said to blow cold, not that it matters a great deal in the winter.

1991 Ford Probe – $1,300

Probe 1

Engine/drivetrain: 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic gearbox, front-wheel-drive.

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Odometer reading: 163,000 miles

Runs/drives? You bet.

Oh, but the fourth-generation Mustang almost didn’t happen altogether. Back in the early 1980s, things were pretty dire at Ford. The smash-hit Taurus was still a few years out, and shaken by the 1979 energy crisis, Ford considered replacing the Mustang with a front-wheel-drive coupe. While the Fox body would live to see another day, the front-wheel-drive replacement saw enough opposition to undergo a name change to Probe.

Probe 2

Under the hood of this 1991 Ford Probe sits Mazda’s 2.2-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine with 110 horsepower and 130 lb.-ft. You could also get a Probe with a turbocharged motor and a V6, but this isn’t any of the fast ones. Instead, it’s a neatly-styled cruiser, putting power down through a four-speed automatic gearbox. This makes a lot of sense as the Probe’s underpinnings come from the Mazda 626.

Probe 3

On the outside, this Probe bears the battle scars you might expect in a 30-year-old daily-driver. The bumpers are scuffed, the right fender has a bit of a gash, and there are numerous dents around the body. However, thanks to the Texas climate, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of rust on this little economy car.

Probe 4

Moving to the inside, things get a bit worse. While the southern weather has gone relatively easy on the bodywork, it’s left the dashboard looking like a deathcore band’s logo. Add in a torn driver’s seat and stains in the footwell, and this Probe’s far from mint. Still, red is a great interior color and motorized seatbelts are a nifty piece of dead technology.

So there we are, two very different planned replacements for the Fox body Ford Mustang. One’s a six-cylinder rear-wheel-drive pony car, the other a much cheaper economical front-wheel-drive coupe. As ever, choose wisely.

(Photo credits: Craigslist sellers)

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45 Responses

  1. Maybe I’m paranoid, but the black on the Mustang’s hood gives me fire vibes…

    So I’ll take the Probe. And I’m someone who misses their ’03 Mustang GT and would love to get another one.

  2. My wife brought a Probe of this vintage into our marriage. It was a flimsy piece of crap that I was forever chasing gremlin and ghosts. Buy the Muskrat, don your hazemat suit and sterilize the interior, and beat the everlovin’ weanus out of it.

  3. The Probe should’ve been the Mustang. It was built better and actually had real engineering behind it. Also, the one in this article already sold 🙂

    The red interior is awesome, and the hatch is more useful. Too bad that one doesn’t have the cool digital dash.

    Here’s how the Mustang chronology should’ve been:
    64-68 original Mustang
    69-86 German Capri
    87-97 Probe
    99-04 New Edge Cougar
    04-up the S197/S550/whatever

  4. I had a Probe myself (which was an amazing vehicle), but these first generation ones are BORING, especially with an automatic transmission. Cool piece of history, but I will take the Mustang for the name alone.

  5. If you ignore the inconsistent colors, the Mustang’s body panels look almost OK. New paint, especially on the hood, and a bumper skin would solve most of its exterior issues. And I’d rather work on a Mustang’s interior than a Probe’s.

    The Mustang is almost desirable at this price. It could be built and rebuilt into almost anything you want.

    The Probe is one last owner away from the junkyard, and suitable for basic transportation. And won’t ever be much fun to drive no matter how you modify it unless you’re deliberately abusing it to death because it’s so cheap.

  6. Both of these cars are trash, so I guess I’ll take the Probe since I’d be wasting a smaller amount of money. To be clear, I have zero actual interest in either of them. Even in today’s market, even at these prices, you can do better.

  7. I’m shocked the Probe’s transmission has made it this far. My husband had one when we met (a 1990 LX with digital everything, but the 2.2L and auto) and it had no reverse gear. None. You’d put it R and it would just rev.

  8. Mustang, even though it looks terrible. As an RWD manual it will be at least fun in snow. And it is winter now, at least where I live.

    And terrible looks are not that terrible thing with potential winter beater. At least you don’t have to feel sorry when leaning on snowbanks.

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