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Well, I found a car. It's not really what I was expecting to get, nor really what I was shopping for, but now that I have it, I can say I made the right choice.

And the winner is... (drumroll) a 1989 Ford Probe LX. Five speed manual, black, with a red interior.

Yup. Another Ford. Well, actually, another not-Ford, since like my 1993 Escort, this car is really a Mazda in disguise. It uses the chassis, engine, transmission, and suspension from a Mazda 626, which is one of the best all-around cars on the planet: reliable, durable, nice to drive, and efficient. They're just not terribly exciting to look at.

Where the Probe differs from its dowdy Mazda sibling is in the styling, and where Mazda chose safe to the point of dullness, Ford styled the Probe to look like an X-wing fighter crossed with a Bose clock-radio. It's swoopy. It has superfluous hood bulges where the shock towers are. The interior looks like a fighter cockpit, with a digital dash straight out of an 80s sci-fi movie. It has a "trip computer" and a newfangled device called a "compact disc player" which must have made its owner the coolest kid on the block, back in '89.

Neither the trip computer nor the factory CD player work, however. In fact, the radio barely works at all. The car is now 19 years old, and its gimmicky overstyling makes it look like a relic from a time you'd rather forget. It's like watching Heathers and cringing at the clothes. Were we ever really that gaudy? Why yes. Yes we were.

But if you overlook the tacky dashboard and gigantic wraparound back window, it's actually not a bad looking car, especially in black. And it drives really well. Most of the power stuff works (it's loaded) and it only has 166,000 miles on it, fewer than 10,000 a year. And it's completely, 100% stock, which is rare for a car like that. It even has all four original (and absolutely hideous) hubcaps. It has been well cared for; under the hood is a dusty Mazda four-banger with a smattering of shiny new parts. It goes down the road just as smooth as silk, with a polite growl from the exhaust under power and no funny vibrations or noises.

And I don't plan to do anything to it except drive it, really. I'll fix the audio shortcomings and maybe ditch the ugly hubcaps, but that's about it. And maybe in five years, if I still have it, "gaudy Eighties electronica" will come back in fashion, and I'll have a collector's car on my hands.

Well, maybe not.


Glad you found a new car! TOTALLY not my taste (i.e. look at icon) but nice nonetheless. :)