Vehicle Overview

The “80-20 Rule” states that the last 20% of development of a product, activity or organization takes 80% of the total effort expended. There is no scientific basis for the 80-20 Rule. There is only the empirical experience of thousands of managers, developers, athletes, engineers, artists and businessmen who have coped with it in work and life. It’s a good bet that Dennis Connor, Chuck Yeager, Robert McNamara and Sir Edmund Hillary all would recognize and acknowledge the 80-20 Rule. It applies to the Ford Probe series, too. Probe V is the final advance in that series of aerodynamic concepts. It achieved a 10% reduction in drag coefficient, achieving 0.137 to Probe IV’s 0.152. This tiny, but very significant, 10% reduction in drag required building a whole new concept to achieve it.

It is probably no accident that Probe V looks like the Taurus, Ford’s huge gamble on aero styling. They appeared simultaneously and Probe V showed that the Taurus concept wasn’t a dead end, that there was an improving evolutionary path to even greater aerodynamic efficiency – and that the Taurus design wasn’t some marketing gimmick. Probe V represents subtle refinement of Probe IV. Along with being more efficient aerodynamically than Probe IV, Probe V has more character than its technically-styled predecessor. A two-door Probe V uses an novel door design that swings out on short parallelogram hinges until it clears the side of the body then slides back out of the way creating wide and unobstructed interior access.

Probe V also further develops the flexible membrane front wheel skirt seals introduced on Probe IV. The Probe V skirt seals, however are integrated in the body’s outer surface so when the front wheels are turned the membrane flexes to clear the tires.

The Probe V greenhouse is all glass, including the roof. Helping achieve a smooth and aerodynamic profile, Probe V is also mid-engined, a notable technical accomplishment in a 4-seat sedan. It abounds with many other small technical and functional novelties such as the heads-up display, instrumentation that repositions with the steering wheel and a rear window which operates much the same as the doors, sliding out of the way instead of being on conventional hinges. Probe V even has roll-up rear seats.

The Probe V concept offered here is no longer running. The sliding doors work as does the suspension and steering. A show cover over the non- running engine is visible through the engine hatch. Overall, Probe V is not in good condition. The paint is nicked and scratched and there is a crack on the nose and the interior shows use. The leather seat coverings are surface cracked and dry and there is a tear in the back of the driver’s seat.

If, as seems likely, Probe V contributed even in a small way to the overwhelming success of the Taurus, the effort and investment in creating it was returned many times over. It is the important culmination of the Ford Probe series that facilitated a sea change in design, not only at Ford but also throughout the automobile industry.

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    Probe V
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