Do you know your car's MoT and mileage history? Our user profiles will show you for FREE | No thanks

Ford Probe III

Published 14 June 2013

Back in 1981, when the development of the Ford Sierra, was reaching its latter stages of its development, management felt the need soften the buying public. The styling, penned by Patrick Le Quement, was as avant garde as its predecessor, the Cortina’s, was conservative. So, the design team produced a more extreme version designed to continue the Ford Probe line of concepts that started in 1979, and rolled it out at the Frankfurt motor show in September 1981 – a year before the production Sierra was due for launch.

Ford’s European concept car output had certainly gained some flair during the 1970s. The company had taken control of the Italian carrozzerie Ghia, and from that point on, it proved a successful kick-start to the company’s styling output. Ghia’s creations for Ford (such as the Coins, Megastar and Action) were nothing if not bold – and this smart new design language filtered into the company’s production output.

Alexei Sayle sneered, ‘…it’s just a poxy hatchback,’ in the BBC’s Arena programme celebrating the life and times of the Cortina. His was the voice of many.

The Probe III was greeted with a warm welcome from the press – but Cortina buyers who knew this was a taster of their car’s replacement were less than keen. In fact, many were openly hostile.

The Probe itself, despite the controversy, was a beautifully detailed concept. It featured overtly aerodynamic features including Citroenesque enclosed rear wheels, smooth underbody detailing, flush glazing, and integrated door mirrors (which would appear on the production 1988 Probe coupe no less). The car’s cd was 0.25, which was actually a world away from the production Sierra’s 0.34 – but it was a figure that in 1981 was close to miraculous for a five-door hatchback that could conceivably be used in the real world.

And even today, its influence can be seen.

Ford Probe III (1)

Ford Probe III (2)

Ford Probe III (3)



Add a comment


Ask Honest John

Amount to borrow
Sorry. The minimum loan amount is £1000
To pay back over

My credit score

Best available rate 9.20%

Total repayment £9,304.93

Total cost of credit £1,804.93


60 monthly payments

Apply now

Representative example

The Representative APR is 13.2% (fixed) so if you borrow £7,500 over 4 years at a rate of 13.2% p.a (fixed) you will repay £199.21 per month and repay £9562.20 in total.