Ford Contour SVT #101

My baby. She's a bute!
Mandatory SVT story... why I bought the SVT...


I was 24 when I bought my SVT. I am a ford person and so is my family (for the most part). All together, my family has owned recently: '98 contour SVT, '91 taurus, '89 escort, '95 probe, '84 F150, '83 escort, '96 contour, '97 Ranger, 2 '95 Rangers, 2 '93 crown victoria's (this list includes my wife and her family... my dad is the odd one, he had a '81 Nova and now has a '91 Jimmy). I was just dying to have a Probe GT (and I mean dying!!). But by the time I could afford one, they were about to quit making them. At that time, I had a '95 base probe, and was already having trouble with the dealers complaining about fixing the car (mechanics mumbling "damn mazda junk", etc.) So I didn't really want to get stuck with a Probe GT that I was going to have trouble getting fixed.

While I was in the dealership having them look at a problem I was having with my probe (turned out they were probably going to have to replace the MAF) I was looking around the lot. I was totally mesmerized by the SVT. I didn't even realize it was a contour at first. Except for the funky headlights (which grow on you after a while), I absolutely loved the car at first sight. I had always had a liking for nice looking sedans (in other words, the usual american grocery-getters are bland compared to the more expensive european sports sedans). I wasn't too impressed by the regular contour, but the SVT was really hot. Especially when I looked on the sticker in the window and saw "195 horsepower, SVT this..., SVT that...".

And of course, at that time, I thought "they just came out with the contour, it will be around for a long while." Oh well, so much for that thought. But at least a good portion of the contour lives on in the cougar and the aftermarket is really starting to pick up.

Also I was planning on getting married around the time I bought the contour, so it is always good to think ahead. And of course the insurance is less on a contour than your average sports coupe. In fact, I only paid an extra $15-20 a month when I switched my insurance policy from the '95 base probe to the '98 contour SVT. You can't ask for a better deal than that!! Plus... the extra room afforded by the sedan comes in real helpful when doing super-mondo stereo installations (which I am currently in the middle of).

Actually buying the car... The first dealer I went to was in a city and we drove around some back streets and a movie theater parking lot. Not much fun, even in this car. The second dealer (and the one I bought from) took me on a highway for half the trip and then on a winding back road through the country/woods. That was a lot better. Altough in both cases, I had to take the salesperson with me, the second one didn't mind me opening the car up a little and even commented on how well it sounded, etc. when I did it. (It helped that the second person was also someone I worked with a few years ago and considered a friend, but that is besides the point :-)

Window Sticker The price on the SVT was $23,635 (list price). The dealer really didn't want to bargain too much on that price. So what I did was have the two dealerships I had visited bid against each other so that I could get the best deal on my trade-in (a '95 Ford Probe). In the end, I bought the car from the second dealership I had visited and got +$500 for my trade-in plus the spoiler (already on the SVT) thrown in for free (usually cost about $500 extra). Not the best deal in the world, but I was happy. I did get the 5.9% financing for 5 years which is decent. It would still be a few months before everybody started offering 0.9% financing on everything. The price you have to pay for jumping in on the SVT Contour craze early :-)

I admit, I probably wouldn't own a contour if it wasn't an SVT. But hey, I haven't ever regretted buying the SVT, not for a single second :-)

My comments... How the 'ol SVT is fairing...


Contour SVT Extreme Having said that, I have had my ups and downs with the car. First I will mention some of the downs. When turning the car SLOWLY to the right at very low speeds, it makes this moaning sound. Dealership suggested that there was air in the power-steering lines. Haven't had that fixed yet. Second problem is the driver's side mirror has stopped moving up and down. Haven't had that fixed yet. Third problem, when I bought the car, it was out of alignment. Wore the stock Goodyear GS-C's out by 16,000 miles. They probably would have lasted till about 20,000 miles if the inside hadn't become smooth. (NOTE: Go have your car aligned as soon as possible after buying it!) Fourth problem, sticky throttle. Haven't had this fixed or looked at yet either.

Now I bet you are wondering why I haven't had all these problems fixed. Easy... This car is sooooo wonderful to drive that I couldn't bare to give it up to be fixed :-) Really, there is so little wrong with it that I am kinda saving up the problems and am going to have them all fixed at once. Overall though, the car has been an absolute blast to drive and own. Like any high performace car, the mileage isn't that great (I average about 20-21mpg city driving, 26-28 highway) but that is the only major fault I have with the car. But I am willing to live with that :-)

You might have heard all these horror stories about early production SVT's or maybe you haven't. Maybe you have only heard good stories. Well, I must say that whenever your SVT was produced doesn't make that big of difference. My SVT was made on 4/2/97 and is production number 101 out of 6536 produced for the '98 model year! COOL!

My recommendations... Should you go out and get one...


As you can tell, I really love this car. Of course there are other cars out there that have more power, more amenities, more of this and more of that. But for the price, I don't really think you can get a better deal than this! With the slightly revised 1999 SVT Contour, you can't go wrong!

If you could just hear the engine (Ford's very own 24V DOHC 2.5L V6 Duratec producing 195 HP and 165 Lbs/Ft of torque) purring as you hit the 7000 RPM fuel cut-off limit, it is soooo sweet! The bad thing is, you probably won't even know you are about to hit that limit, the duratec just sounds like it could keep going and going... If you ever had aspirations to be and Indy car driver, but didn't have the million dollar budget, just go ahead and buy this car!

My UPDATE #101 is no more

As stated at the top of the page, I no longer own my SVT. I hope there is someone out there taking good care of this car. I loved it dearly, but had to move on. I leave these pages because of the great family that surrounds the Contour SVT. I hope that someone else will read these pages and find the Love in this Contour SVT family.

©2002 by JRW Except where noted. E-mail Jason. All rights reserved. This page last modified 3/21/05