So earlier this year I entered the world of intrepids I came to this when my beloved 90 mercury cougar died on me. My grandpa then gave me a choice between his 96 es or his 99 es. Intrepids have been in the family for as long as I can rememberr my first car was supposed to be a 95 sport so going with the 96 was obvious. Now I'm seeing all these beautiful 2nd gens and I'm wondering if I made a mistake
The gen II cars have more options and have stronger engines, parts are probably more plentiful because they are newer and all the dead 2.7L cars. I personally like the styling of gen I cars better (not counting the 300M). The gen I cars are non-interference fit engines and are nearly indestructible.
It really falls into your personal preference really. I have worked on both second gen and first gens and some parts from a second gen swap right over with minimal real modification. So take what you like and make it your own
The ES with the 3.2L V6 and first gen 3.5L would a be a neck to neck race, however with my experience the 3.2L would get better mileage (unless its a 3.3L).
Either way you'll probably experience clear coat peel, I don't think that was fixed until 2000 or 2001 model years. And you will probably want to replace your sway bar links/bushings, LCA bushings and upper and lower ball joints and especially inner tie rods and maybe rack bushings.
It sounds like a lot of work but if spend the $$ and get a pair of tires and an alignment you will be in LH heaven.
My buddy used to have a 95 with a 3.3 and I like the fit and finish of my 02 better. I dont have to worry about peeling clear, saggy headliners, broken headlight brackets or quickly rotting out cradle bushings. Not to say that 2Gs have their glaring faults as well. But I'm more of a 2G guy. IMO much better styling inside and out.