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Grace
Hagerty Employee

Ford's 1989–95 Taurus SHO is a four-figure hot rod with a Japanese heart

Most of us probably think of the Taurus as a plain-Jane commodity car. The truth is that the original Taurus saved Ford’s bacon in the mid-1980s, staving off bankruptcy and selling over two million units from 1986–91. Your college roommate might have had a hand-me-down Taurus. Maybe your kid’s teacher drove one. Those in the know, however, remember that one specific Taurus was a genuine BMW fighter, and one of the fastest four-doors in the world during its heyday.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/fords-1989-95-taurus-sho-is-a-four-figure-hot-rod-with-a-jap...

12 REPLIES 12
Dale
New Driver

I bought a 1989 SHO new and still have it. It was my daily driver until 1997. It’s now my summer driver.  I have kept up on rust repairs over the years; it helped have it Zeibarted when it was new. The engine is great, the shifter, not so much. I have a rod shifter to replace the cable shifter when I have the courage to get it done. Yep, the engine is a work of art.  It’s been a lot of fun over the years. 

Eric
Hagerty Employee

do you have a photo? gotta see this thing!

Pepperalls
Detailer

Cheap, fun, different (now more so) and a sleeper.

 

I'd take the time to look at one of these at a car show. It would be rare up here as very little 80s-2000s vehicles survive the winter rust cycle.

sailor10
Passenger

I had a 1990 SHO.  Had to update the clutch and installed the rod shifter.  Also installed a spreader bar between the shock towers in the trunk which had an amazing effect on the handling.  Wonderful car.  Sold it at 100k miles and the kid who bought it drove it to 225k without ever opening the engine.

Papa-tony
Intermediate Driver

For the last 5 years I was employed I flew all over the place and had a Hertz #1 Club Card.  I would book my flights, hotels and cars with one phone call and generally would get some sort of an "appliance" that got me to meetings and back.  What I did enjoy was learning the subtle differences in all the new cars being produced but mostly they were a big "yawn".  Also... I am not particularly a Ford fan. 

 

So I get what I thought was a just another jelly-bean Taurus and didn't give it a second thought as I mashed the throttle to get up to speed on a freeway on-ramp. 

 

WHOOOOA!  What is this?  When I got to where I was going I stopped and popped the hood.  I couldn't believe what I was looking at and had some new thoughts about Fords.

 

This is the first time I learned that it was a Yamaha engine!  No wonder why there was such a BIG difference in how this car performed.  Well done!

Tim
Instructor

These cars were the talk of all of us young car enthusiasts when they first arrived. Those power figures from a V6 were pretty astounding--as the article mentioned, that was V8 territory back then. We all had high hopes that this engine or variants would find it's way in other models, such as a base engine for the Mustang, etc. Imagine what might be had Ford's partnership with Yamaha flourished.

sharkguy48
Intermediate Driver

I had always thought Ford could have put the Yamaha engine into the Mustang.  Lighter car and it could have been called the "SHO(w) Pony".  Just sayin'

Sajeev
Community Manager

Too expensive to make and will jack up the price significantly over your average $15,000 LX 5.0 Notchback.  I think Ford learned their lesson with the SVO: a complex non-V8 wasn't gonna sell well back then.  I don't know the breakdown of Turbo I-4s vs Coyote V8s these days, but I wouldn't be surprised if the V8s still sell better even at a higher price. 

DaveA
Detailer

Sajeev, according to Wards Auto the Ecoboost Mustang easily outsells the GT: “ And yet, Wards Intelligence data confirms for the first six months of the ’19 model year, more than 53% of Mustangs have sold in the U.S. with this 310-hp 4-cyl., handily outpacing the 41% take-rate for the 5.0L V-8 and 6% for the 5.2L V-8 in the Shelby GT350.”
Truthworldwide
Intermediate Driver

Ah, the SHO! The 1G and 2G ('89-'91 and '92 to '95) are really little gems. I had a '95 and threw the book at it, even built an engine for it. The "Yamahammer" loves boost and there's a multitude of turbo- and supercharged examples that run great (with a Quaife LSD to handle the power... while the engines are phenomenal, the transaxles notsomuch). The sound it makes at 4,000 RPM, when the secondaries open up, is incredible.

 

I'd love to have another at some time in my life, make mine a '91 SHO+ with the Police Package grille! 

Sajeev
Community Manager

I wish I was cool enough to own a SHO.  For now maybe just the hood pad on its big brother will suffice. 

 

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SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

When the first Taurus came out in the 1980's, I was too poor to afford one.  But I rented them when I traveled interstate to visit family.  Hertz rented 3.8 liter Taurus LX sedans and I would put 2,000 miles on one in just a few days.  $25 per day with unlimited miles.  At the time I owned an old Land Cruiser and a V8 Dodge Dart, so the Taurus was incredible luxury for me.  It had cruise, air, a stereo and comfortable seats.  They were able to cruise at 70+ miles per hour.  Taurus's are much maligned today, but I felt very special driving them back then.  The "jelly bean" body style was revolutionary and impacted other brands.  Body styles quickly changed from boxy to rounded in response to the Taurus's popularity.

 

As soon as they became affordable on the used car market, I bought my first one; a 1989 3 liter GL.  I've owned seven of them in total and every one was a great car.  Some people will rant about the 3.8 liter head gaskets or the weak AXOD transmissions, but we never had any trouble with any of them despite over 700K Taurus/Sable miles.  Diligent service is probably why. 

 

A few years ago, I began looking for another old Taurus.  I wanted an SHO, but didn't want to change the timing belt in that tight engine compartment.  Working on a 3.8 is hard enough.  I ended up with a 1992 3.8 LX with four wheel disc brakes and the premium sound system.  It was a one owner car and the first owner clearly loved the car.  I think the second generation body style is gorgeous.  I also own a 300CE Mercedes, an NB Miata and an E30 BMW,  so I'm not only attracted to cars that no one else likes.