Ford Taurus SHO

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Ford Taurus SHO
1994 Ford Taurus SHO
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
ClassMid-size Performance sedan
RelatedFord Taurus
Mercury Sable
DesignerJack Telnack
ManualsService Manual

The Ford Taurus SHO (Super High Output [1]) is a mid size performance sedan based on the Ford Taurus that was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1989 until 1999.

The SHO was originally created as a limited production model to use up engines that Ford ordered from Yamaha under contract for use in a two-seater competitor to the Pontiac Fiero that was canceled while still in development.[2] Ford had intended to only produce the SHO for the 1989 model year,[2] and initially advertised it as a limited production vehicle.[3] However, the model proved to be very popular, selling over 15,000 units in its first year,[4] leading Ford to order more engines and begin series production. The SHO would go on to be produced for ten years in three generations.

Production ended after the 1999 model year due to a decline in popularity, in which Ford decided to not produce a SHO version of the fourth generation Taurus; in 1999, just over 3,000 SHOs were sold, which was nearly a sixth of the SHO's sales numbers from ten years prior.[4] Today, the SHO enjoys a cult following among performance car enthusiasts, due to its relation to the Taurus, which classifies it as a "Sleeper".

First Generation (1989-1991)

First generation
1991 Ford Taurus SHO with the "Plus" package
AssemblyHapeville, Georgia
Body style(s)4-door sedan
LayoutFF layout
PlatformFord D186 platform
Engine(s)3.0 L SHO V6
Transmission(s)5-speed MTX manual
5-speed MTX-IV manual
Wheelbase106.0 in (2692.4 mm)
Length188.4 in (4785.4 mm)
Width70.8 in (1798.3 mm)
Height54.1 in (1374 mm)
Curb weight3,285 lb (1,490 kg)
RelatedFord Taurus

1989 was the first year for the SHO.

The SHO differed from the normal Taurus on the exterior by having different bumpers, side cladding, fog lamps. The interior also differed, with sports seats and an 8000 rpm tachometer. The SHO became the only Taurus to feature a manual transmission since the MT5 was discontinued in that year.[1]

The first generation Taurus SHO can accelerate from 0-60 mph in roughly 6.6-6.8 seconds with a quarter mile trap time of 15.0-15.2 seconds. Car and Driver reports in their December 1989 issue a top speed of 143 mph and 220hp. More power can be realized by removing the restrictive factory down-pipes, which enter into the catalytic converters at an exact 90 degree angle. It's a little known fact that the SHO V6 was actually capable of revving up to about 8,500 RPMs, but Ford's accessory systems couldn't handle it, so the redline was dialed back to 7,300 so the engine didn't destroy the rest of the car.

A special edition of the SHO called the Plus package became available in 1991. It came as part of option package #212A and contained different styling cues from the standard SHO, including a plastic 'Power Bulge' hood, chrome window trim, a plastic spoiler without the 3rd brake light, 24V V6 badges, body colored molding, non-painted mirrors, body color TAURUS badge, and non-SHO 'slicer' wheels. There were two special sub-options to the Plus package: White painted cars came with white painted wheels, and a plus exclusive Jade Green (sometimes called Deep Jade Green) was available only in 1991.[5]

Second Generation (1992-1995)

Second generation
Ford Taurus SHO
AssemblyHapeville, Georgia
Body style(s)4-door sedan
LayoutFF layout
PlatformFord D186 platform
Engine(s)3.0 L SHO V6
3.2 L SHO V6
Transmission(s)4-speed AX4S automatic
5-speed MTX-IV manual
Wheelbase106.0 in (2692.4 mm)
LengthSedan:192.0 in (4876.8 mm)
Station wagon: 193.1 in (4904.7 mm)
Width71.2 in (1808.5 mm)
HeightSedan: 54.1 in (1374.1 mm)–55.4 in (1407.2 mm)
Station wagon: 55.5 in (1409.7 mm)
Curb weight3,472 lb (1,575 kg)
RelatedFord Taurus

The SHO was redesigned in 1992, although it continued with the same powertrain as before: The Yamaha-developed 3.0L V6 and 5-speed manual transmission. The second generation SHO borrowed from the Mercury Sable's front fascia, but used a different bumper, fog lamps, and no middle lightbar.[6] The SHO also got unique seats, wheels, side cladding, dual exhaust, as well as a unique rear bumper.

The lack of an automatic transmission had hurt sales, which was a situation that Ford rectified in 1993. A 3.2 L version of the Ford SHO V6 engine was introduced for automatic-equipped SHO, which still had 220 hp (164 kW), but now boasted 215 ft·lbf (292 N·m), a 15 ft·lbf (20.3 N·m) increase over the 3.0 L version. [7]

In 1993, Ford did a minor redesign of the SHO interior, updating the center console. Other changes for 1993 included a trunklid spoiler, with integrated center high mount stop lamp.[6]

The second generation SHO entered popular culture because a 1992 model is owned by comedian Conan O'Brien, and that he often talks about it on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, his late night talk show, when speaking about his personal life and interests.[8] He devoted a special segment of the show to his SHO one time, where in a fictional skit, he set off to sell the vehicle and use the money to buy a large estate in Europe. In the skit, he fails to sell the car, but then pretends to sell the car to Brad Pitt.

By request of Car and Driver magazine, a SHO station wagon was created by the Car and Driver staff with the help of Ford engineers.[9] They started with a production Taurus wagon, and from there installed SHO bodywork, including its unique front end. They then replaced the stock engine and drivetrain with SHO drivetrain. Inside, the interior was replicated of that of a high spec SHO sedan, including its sport seats, steering wheel, and included most of the SHO's equipment.[9] The staff then tested it, and took it on a cross country trip. The model became nothing more than a one off special, and the Car and Driver staff as well as Ford admitted that the SHO wagon was created "just for fun", and was never meant to be a serious production vehicle.[9]

Third Generation (1996-1999)

Third generation
1998 Ford Taurus SHO
AssemblyHapeville, Georgia
Body style(s)4-door sedan Coefficient of Drag:0.30
LayoutFF layout
PlatformFord D186 platform
Engine(s)3.4 L SHO V8
Transmission(s)4-speed AX4N automatic
Wheelbase108.5 in (2755.9 mm)
Length197.5 in (5016.5 mm)
Width73.0 in (1854.2 mm)
Height55.1 in (1399.5 mm)
Curb weight3,329 lb (1,510 kg)
RelatedFord Taurus

For 1996, the SHO was redesigned. Unlike its predecessors, this SHO was more refined and used less radical bodywork. It differed from the normal Taurus with different seats, wheels, bumpers, drivetrain, as well as a fin being put on the driver's side windshield wiper, to keep it on the windshield at high speeds. A 235 hp (175 kW) aluminum 3.4L V8 engine with heads from Yamaha and block from Cosworth was specified for the SHO model, but it was given the same four speed transmission as the LX: the manual gearbox option was no longer offered on the SHO.[10] Separation of the camshaft from its sprocket has been implicated in a growing number of engine failures, at around the 50,000 mile (80,000 km) mark.[11] The standard warranty on this model was 36,000 miles (58,000 km). This problem can be rectified by having the camshafts welded.[11] This SHO model sold in lower numbers than the previous SHO generations, with sales peaking at 9,000 units in 1997.[4] As a result, Ford cut the SHO when redesigning the Taurus for its fourth generation.

Possible revival

Since Ford announced that it was reviving the Taurus in 2007, a community has since been created entitled "Bring Back the SHO", which is a collective effort by Ford enthusiasts to convince Ford to create a SHO version of the new fifth generation Taurus. Although the website has received a significant amount of media coverage [12], the website has not received any reconigition nor any response from Ford. The website and its community still operates to this day.

It is also rumored that the SHO will be revived for the 2010 model year when Ford launches a sixth generation Taurus. The Taurus was revealed at the 2009 North American Auto Show and is confirmed to be released in July 2009; the official minisite has confirmed a "Performance Series" version of the Taurus will be produced, with more details about it to come in February 2009. It has not been confirmed the "SHO" nameplate will be revived.[13]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Taurus/Sable Spotter's Guide (Generation 1, 1986-1991)#1989". Taurus Car Club of America. Retrieved on 2008-04-04. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "SHO n Tell". Jon Mikelonis and Matt Wilder. Retrieved on 2008-04-04. 
  3. Ford Motor Company. 1989 Ford Taurus SHO commercial. Ford Motor Company.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Taurus/Sable Encyclopedia (SHO numbers)". Taurus Car Club of America. Retrieved on 2008-04-04. 
  5. "The 1991 SHO "Plus" Option". SHOTIMES mailing list. Retrieved on 2006-05-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Generation 2 Spotters Guide". Taurus Car Club of America. 2006-12-18. Retrieved on 2007-02-13. 
  7. "1990–1995 Ford Taurus Review". Consumer Guide. Retrieved on 2007-02-13. 
  8. "Famous SHO owners". SHOTIMES FAQ. Retrieved on 2006-07-28. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Phillips, John. "The Billy Wagon. Strong as hog's breath, our one-of-a-kind family hauler amazed little leaguers. Sorry, you can't have one.". Car and Driver (April 1993): 36–41. 
  10. DiPetro, John (2003-04-18). "Inside Line: Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable". Edmunds. Retrieved on 2006-05-29. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "What We Know, What Ford Does Not Want You to Know, & Who Is To Blame". Retrieved on 2006. 
  12. "Bring Back the SHO in the media". Bring Back the Retrieved on 2008. 

External links