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slowbird New Reader
6/13/19 8:16 p.m.

Well, I was reluctant to make a thread, for fear of making a fool of myself. But hey, I make a fool of myself all the time, so here goes.

I guess you could call this an impulse buy, or maybe an impulse bid, because I was browsing Copart for weird Fords as I often do, and came across this puppy down in Georgia. Now, on Copart, it's sometimes hard to tell what you're really buying, even if you look at the pictures carefully. But everything I was seeing looked pretty okay. The front was fine, and the rear just seemed to be missing the bumper cover and tail lights.


Now, I've never done this kind of thing before, but I figured, "how hard could it be" so I bid on it, max bid of $1000. (This will be important later.) I didn't really think I would win, in fact leading up to the auction day I thought it might be better if I didn't win, because I was having second thoughts. But when the live bidding started, I was kind of excited. Someone kept bidding on it as it crept up from $500 to $600, then $750, then $875. But then they stopped. And the time ticked down, and that was it. I won with a bid of $875, a fair ways off from my max bid! Yay!

Oh but wait, Copart charges fees, don't they?

Yes, dear reader. I'm dumb, don't be like me. Remember remember the fees of November, or April in this case. Okay so, what now? How do I get this car up to Pennsylvania? Can I even afford to ship it? (The answers were, "call the Copart location and ask dumb questions, pay for shipping through Copart to make it simpler, and yes but only with stupid usage of a credit card, in that order.) Several days later, a truck arrived in the vicinity of my home, but there's nowhere to unload at my house, so I had him go a quarter-mile down the road to the post office parking lot. It was dark, nobody was there so it was fine.

He had to unload two other cars to get mine off the truck, and then he started to back mine down the slope, but he was having some kind of trouble so he asked me if I could do it. I guess because it's a stick. I said no problem, climbed up there and proceeded to do the scariest part of the whole thing so far: backing it up while keeping it straight and not falling off the side of the ramps in the dark with a strange car and a sketchy shifter and it kept wanting to stall...phew. Made it. Down on solid ground. We do the paperwork and go our separate ways. I drive the car home with someone following since I have no tail lights, a quarter mile, and then rearrange the cars to get it in the driveway.

So what exactly did I bring home? Well, it wasn't *just* the bumper cover and tail lights that were damaged...there's a small crack in the unibody around the bolt hole for the bumper on the driver's side. I don't have a welder and I haven't welded anything since high school shop class, so I chose to ignore this for now.

Also, there was some detritus left behind: an old deodorant in the door pocket, an ID card for some high school student in the spare tire well, and various receipts in the interior that referenced vape products. On the bright side, it seems like it was being driven as recently as January, so it didn't sit for a super long time.

Fast forward a bit, and I've procured all the bits to reassemble it, minus a few screws and adapters. The hardest part was removing the remnants of the old bumper cover, which was ripped right off leaving mounting tabs behind. Well, getting the junkyard bumper ready to go on was a bit of a chore as well. It had nuts rusted onto the mounting bolts, which were not fun to get off with the primitive tools I had on hand.


I managed to somehow get things mostly attached and more or less looking like a complete car. And I ripped it around the back roads for a couple of test drives as well.

I think it needs shifter bushings, or maybe a whole new mechanism or something, because there's no confidence when I go to shift gears that I'll actually find the right one. But it's more or less functional. The engine sounds like it needs a new belt, but it's non-interference so I guess I'll wait until it snaps. And it seems to blow smoke out the exhaust when it's cold, but maybe that will magically go away if I drive it more. Or until it blows up.

Now I just need to get it safety inspected and find out if that cracked bit of metal is going to burn me. And maybe have them weld it for me, if it stays in budget.

And then if all goes well, I'll drive it to Pikes Peak to spectate the hillclimb in a couple weeks. And if not, I'll take the Cougar and deal with this turd when I get back.

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/13/19 8:26 p.m.

Nobody has banned me from starting build threads yet so you should be good.

slowbird New Reader
6/13/19 8:54 p.m.

I forgot to post a picture as it sits now, so here it is. Almost can't tell the bumper is the wrong color...almost.


I also forgot a few other details, like the aftermarket stereo wires going to nowhere, since the subwoofer was removed before the auction apparently. I hastily yanked all this crap out.


The aftermarket radio was missing its faceplate, and new faceplates were like 80 bucks, so I bought an entire used head unit with faceplate of the same model, and just put the faceplate on. Now I have a spare if the thing ever craps out.

Also, I deliberated on what kind of bumper to put on; the early GTs and seemingly base models of all years got a smooth bumper, while the later GTs had a bumper with a notch for the license plate. I preferred the license plate up between the taillights, so I went with a 94 GT bumper. Looks like this:


Whereas the other style would have looked like this, and required me to source the middle reflector thingy:

Nitroracer UltraDork
6/13/19 9:18 p.m.

I had a 96' Probe GT many years ago.  I found it for cheap with a blown main fuse to the battery and had many years of fun with it.  The engine is very willing to rev and well liked by Mazda enthusiasts.  I thought it sounded awesome too.  Have fun with it! 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
6/14/19 6:51 a.m.

Why can't I see any pictures,other than the very first two?

Agent98 Reader
6/14/19 7:07 a.m.

You did good!

Crack may not be structural anyway. Many a 5.0 Mustang is running around out there with ripped torque boxes, and I don't see them splitting in two going down the road.

Maybe yours is something they can stitch at any repair shop. Around me, there's driveway signs advertising "welding" maybe pull into some guys place and he has a MIG welder in his garage, doing it for Beer money. ... looking forward to updates!



TurnerX19 HalfDork
6/14/19 7:27 a.m.

New photos not showing for me either. The "crack" in the early pic is not serious at all. The nut (missing in photo) holds it all together.

slowbird New Reader
6/14/19 7:50 a.m.

Images (hopefully) fixed.

Did I mention this thing has been lowered from stock? I haven't verified for sure but it definitely looks and feels lowered. I should probably get underneath and see if they cut the stock springs.

I also feel that the crack isn't a major structural issue, I just kinda get paranoid that dirt and water will leak in through there somehow.

Aaron_King PowerDork
6/14/19 7:54 a.m.

I always like the look of those, not bad.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/14/19 7:55 a.m.

if it's lowered, it's only maybe 1".   i loved my 96 PGT.   Lemme look in the garage, i may still have some parts that could be yours for the cost of shipping.

slowbird New Reader
6/14/19 8:49 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Awesome! Much appreciated, let me know what you find.

Professor_Brap Dork
6/14/19 9:00 a.m.

Ahh the Ol " Ill put in a BS bid on copart and send it" tatctic. Gets me every time. 

codrus UberDork
6/14/19 11:26 a.m.

I bought a 95 Probe GT brand new, first new car I bought after I graduated from college and got a real job.  Owned it 3 or 4 years and traded it in on my Miata.

How many miles are on it?

slowbird New Reader
6/14/19 11:44 a.m.

In reply to codrus :

About 129,000 miles. It *might* be the lowest-mileage car I own. (The Cougar's odometer crapped out at 125,000, before I bought it, so it could be literally any number of miles over that. My Focus and Town Car are both approaching 190,000.)

AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/14/19 11:56 a.m.
slowbird said:

In reply to codrus :

About 129,000 miles. It *might* be the lowest-mileage car I own. (The Cougar's odometer crapped out at 125,000, before I bought it, so it could be literally any number of miles over that. My Focus and Town Car are both approaching 190,000.)

she should be good for another 100k if my '96 is any indication.   routine maintenance got me to 229k when I sold her in 2011.

slowbird New Reader
6/14/19 12:05 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

And if it blows up, there's always the KLZE swap. laugh

Indy-Guy UberDork
6/14/19 1:19 p.m.

Ok, I guess I'll be the first to post this:


I'll be following along. wink

Spoolpigeon PowerDork
6/14/19 3:00 p.m.

Hell yeah. My track rat is a 97 Probe GT. Literally got the car for free and have been beating the E36 M3 out of it for almost 2 years now. 

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/14/19 3:10 p.m.
Spoolpigeon said:

Hell yeah. My track rat is a 97 Probe GT. Literally got the car for free and have been beating the E36 M3 out of it for almost 2 years now. 

Yeah this guy got the Probe banned from King of The Heap. 

slowbird New Reader
6/23/19 9:07 p.m.

I dropped the Probe off at a local mechanic last week to do the "enhanced" safety inspection as required for salvage/rebuilt cars. Haven't heard anything back yet. Also, paperwork snafus have delayed the process and I most likely won't be able to drive it to Colorado this week. Dang.

Anyone between here and Pikes Peak wanna trade me a weird car for a 1998 Lincoln Town Car with one working power window and no working climate control?

spacecadet HalfDork
6/23/19 9:30 p.m.

Cool Project! 

cdeforrest New Reader
6/23/19 9:48 p.m.

It’s funny that ppl rip on California for being oppressive regarding car stuff, but as long as its got lights and passes smog you can Send It here. What’s rust?

mfennell Reader
6/24/19 3:24 p.m.

'94 Probe GT was the only car I've ever purchased new.  I custom ordered it - cloth interior, roll'em up windows and no rear wiper.  I loved that car but I can't say I preferred it to it's replacement, a '95 M3 I bought in '97.

Mine was almost trouble free but I only put about 35k miles on it.  The ABS unit was replaced under warranty.  The brakes were not great and the paint was super easy to scratch.  It sounded really nice with a more open exhaust and the motor was a jewel, if underpowered by modern standards.

slowbird Reader
7/13/19 5:50 p.m.

The Probe is currently stuck in paperwork limbo regarding the title, so I may as well include my other crapmobiles in this thread.

2005 Focus ST: sitting, needs an alternator. I tried to see if I could do it myself, but I don't have jack stands to get underneath the car. Stupid "alternator crammed in the back of the engine bay" cars. Grrr.

1991 Cougar XR7: After playing the "battery terminals not making good enough contact" game, it's back to normal. Runs good enough, shakes like a maraca over bumps, and two months late on inspection.

1998 Town Car: A/C blower doesn't blow, windows don't work, it's really a great summer car. (sarcasm) Needs tires real bad, so I went to the junkyard and got these babies. Two came from the rear of a Grand Marquis, and the other two came from a pile of wheels laying around that were already removed from cars. (Easier than trying to get the fronts off the car, because they keep the cars up in the air on stacks of steel wheels. Plus they had better tires than the ones on the car.)


I'd love to get some sweet Bullitt/Torq Thrust style wheels for this car, but the cheap used options would be from a newer Mustang and would have way too much offset without spacers. The proper-offset options are expensive aftermarket wheels. So, we'll roll these for now and maybe I'll paint the centers black or something.

slowbird Reader
7/27/19 6:46 p.m.

Uuuuuuuuuuuupdates. I did my first autocross! It was a "low-key" event aka no classes, no winners, etc. which was probably good for my first time. The only problem was the timing system wasn't playing nice at first, so my first and third runs I have no idea what my actual time was or if I improved. But, I did get a 51.x on my second and fourth runs, and got down to 49.8something on my fifth run, and 49.2 on my sixth and final run, after which I just watched some of the other cars run. And, I saw at least one Miata and one S2000 doing slower times than that, so...not bad for a 4000 pound car with air suspension and junkyard tires!

So I did this event in the Lincoln, but my original plan was to use the Probe, but it wasn't available. See, my notary said it would be easier if I turned the Georgia salvage title into a PA salvage title before then turning it into a PA reconstructed title, because they could "file it online" or some crap. Well ok whatever that's fine I figured. That was in May. I called them in June and they said the DMV was backed up. Okay, whatever. Took the Probe to get the PA-required "enhanced safety inspection" in June, thinking I would have the title soon enough, and they could take care of the second part. Well...I didn't get the title in June either. So it's just been sitting over there for a month.

Buuuuuuuuuut...GOOD NEWS! I finally got the title! It was in the mail when I got home from the autocross. So Monday I can call the garage and say "ok get this berkeleyer safety inspected now because I have the paperwork" and then I can get it back and start driving it, autocrossing it, working on it, etc. YAY.

I'm thinking about vinyl wrapping the junkyard bumper and part of the quarter panels in an accent color with a simple angled line to separate it from the primary color of the car. Maybe purple or teal.

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