39,854 Original Miles: 1989 Ford Taurus SHO

To me, one of the biggest sleepers on the collector car market is the Ford Taurus SHO. I’m sure someone more well versed in market trends could explain to me why even survivor-grade examples like this one command relatively modest dollars, and I’m guessing it has to do with being wrapped in the plain brown wrapper of a sedate family sedan. But for anyone who digs sleepers, or really any car that may surprise more than a few stoplight challengers with the thrust its Yamaha-designed powerplant is capable of generating, there’s no reason to ignore this bona fide performance sedan any longer. Find this 39,854 mile example here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $8,500 and the option to submit a best offer.

We’ve had a great driver of a first-generation SHO listed here on Barn Finds as an Exclusive, and it shows you just how much car you can get for relatively few dollars. This example is commanding a bigger price tag due to its claimed documented low miles, and that’s understandable. Many of these and the second-generation SHOs (which is even more tragically unloved) end up for sale at fire-sale prices due to the 60,000 mile service which is fairly involved. But here’s the thing: unlike so many other limited-production performance models of a mass-produced vehicle, the SHOs really aren’t that demanding once that service is done. It’s a shame so many of them have fallen from grace because the second or third owners didn’t want to bother with basic upkeep requirements.

The body and interior of this low-mileage example obviously show no major flaws, and seeing a manual transmission in a slab-sided family sedan is always a treat. The seller notes aside from a swap to a modern radio, there’s nothing out of place inside and that the carpets and headliner remain in mint condition. One additional plus of buying a survivor like this is all of the documentation that’s included, and in the case of this example, it’s extensive. The seller purchased the SHO from the estate of the original owner, and it comes with goodies you just don’t see: an unused trunk convenience package bag, including a poncho; extra headlight; tire gauge; multi-use safety lantern; Call Police! flag; work gloves and shop rag, and more. It’s a treasure trove for a SHO enthusiast.

The engine bay looks spotless, with those gorgeous intake runners giving you a clue as to the performance that lies within. Despite the low mileage, the seller has done plenty of maintenance work to ensure this SHO runs as smoothly as it should, including new spark plugs and wires, intake gaskets, valve cover gaskets, plug well seals, rear sway bar end links, passenger side CV axle, new tires, and more. Finding a survivor is one thing; finding a seller that has actually addressed the typically short list of needs is another. While I don’t think SHOs will ever rise dramatically from their current values, that should by no means discourage you from buying one, as few cars offer so much performance and rarity for such a low cost of entry.

Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

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Comments

  1. F Again

    You are right: SHOs are like Corvairs in that they represent substantial leaps forward, are still real-world usable vehicles yet are often looked at and priced like red-headed stepchildren riding rented mules.

    11
    • Bry593

      Well, the mazda trans shifted like 2 ton truck. The clutch was crap and you had to pull the engine or subframe to fix it. So, there are those quirks that remind me to stay far away from the SHO.

      6
      • chrlsful Member

        then we gotta Pilot we need to pull intake & a bunch more (or go frm below, exh, ster link, etc) just to change a starter, a Prelude – drop all that & more (plus motor/transm) for a clutch…C’mon…gimme the ford (w/the Jap engine) any day~

  2. poseur Member

    lovely example in a great sleeper (and modern greige-ish) color.
    i was so envious of drivers of these in the day as the best our GM family could swing to compete was a 165hp 3.8/auto Bonneville SSE (pre-V8 or supercharger) that was a slug in comparison.
    they seem to have bottomed and started to bounce in value in the past few years.
    i can’t think of another FWD enthusiast sedan that is more desirable.
    tales of expensive service and repair for the (relatively) complicated motor likely have tamed interest for some, accurate or not.
    personally i’d love to own and enjoy this gem

    7
  3. dabig kahuna

    Nice engine in a overall pretty crappy car. MASSIVE torque under heavy acceleration.

    3
  4. Robert C Cumming

    Another limited production fun machines are the discontinued AWD Taurus Police Interceptors. Surplus low mileage law enforcement bargains are out there for shrewd buyers.

    3
  5. Bob_in_TN Member

    I think Jeff has accurately described the SHO, as an under-appreciated sleeper due to its “plain brown wrapper.” You could have some fun with it while still having it fill the role of family vehicle. It looks to have had very good care. Seller has owned SHO’s and knows what he is talking about. If I was in the market, I don’t think the price is out of line for a well-sorted-out example like this.

    7
  6. Jewel Woodard

    The original SVT (in spirit)….Always wanted one, but ended up owning Contour and Focus SVTs instead!

    4
  7. AMCFAN

    Personally I think if the owner has had other SHO’s and this is such a unicorn that he would hang onto it. I mean he knows what he has right? My thoughts are that it is running and looking good now move it. The value at the moment is at it’s highest. Once the miles go up or more rust starts to appear out of nowhere the value has no where to go but down.

    Ford was in a sales race when the Taurus was introduced. They actually took over Honda Accord at one point as being the number one seller. ( more Accords still survive over the T) Then came the SHO. It was very expensive. It was a go fast family car. The look of the car was very similar to a stock LX. So today it would be like buying a performance mini van or SUV. Not sure what their target market was. Despite their effort was a slow seller.

    You can no longer hit up Ford for anything. Think your local dealer has dusty 1989 nos parts laying on the shelf in 2020? Think again. Ford gives dealers credit for old parts. It is called a tax write off for Ford. They throw them away.

    In 2002 I put Mustang shorty headers on my 1988 Econo. While doing so accidently broke off the dipstick. At the time the dealer said there were only three available. Said a guy just came in looking for a Taurus door handle. No longer avail in 2002.

    It is an interesting footnote in Fords history. It is a limited production car yes. It is a very complicated specialized engine. It shares NOTHING in common with any other Ford or anything on American soil for that matter. For this reason I am out. I would rather enjoy it seeing it out somewhere or in a museum……if those are still a thing. I would not want to be it’s caretaker for fear it might break and go boom. I mean it is still cool to look at. Don’t want to own it.

    2
  8. Ron

    It’s still a Taurus regardless of the powerplant. Now if this engine had been put in a Thunderbird or a Mustang, it would probably have a greater following…

    1
  9. Del

    As I recall these were expensive when new.

    Got to be worth at least 1/2 the BIN 😎

    2
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Same color as my ’91 SHO – made it even “sleepier”.
    IIRC, mine came with all that crap in the trunk too. I bought it a year old with 25K on it. I do recall that it had a cassette that you played that explained all of the features.
    Would have been a nice car if it hadn’t cost $300 a month in repair bills.

    1
  11. TJ

    About 4 or 5 years ago a friend of mine who had one of these had an engine failure which could have been fixed, but the parts were obsolete and none could be found in wrecking yards. The Ford dealership told him Yamaha no longer supplied parts for the engine. Both he and the dealership tried to find parts that would work as well as looking for a Remanufactured engine, but none were available. Although he loved the car he ended up scrapping it.

    2
  12. Bullypit

    I had a 94 for about six-seven years and during that time I put two clutches in it. You could accuse me of not knowing how to drive a stick, but that would be wrong since I started driving in 1963 and until only recently have never owned an automatic. The v-6 engine just did not have enough real estate at the business end to put a big enough clutch in for the capability of the motor. I think it was probably an 8 inch disc. It would not slip, it just became harder and harder to shift. There was a shop here in Atlanta that specialized in them, and that’s where I would go for service. It was a great sleeper and I enjoyed it, but just like my MINI Cooper S I got tired of the service, and both the SHO and the MINI are difficult to work on…

    • Dave

      Difficult to work on? Hardly. I’ve owned 3 of these over the years. A 91, a 94 and a 95. All of them 5 spd’s. There was nothing more complicated about a clutch change in this than there was a GM FWD clutch.

      Other than the early 89’s (diameter of the clutch was too small), none of the later cars had issues with clutches. I’ve gotten well into the 6 digits, and this included lots of track days.

      FWIW – hard to shift was typically a pressure plate issue, where the throw-out bearing would wear grooves in the PP fingers. This prevented the plate from pulling away from the clutch.

  13. Del

    My 70 HP Yamaha boat motor blew up and I had to get a replacement block sent fron Japan. It got lost in transit for 2 months.

    My last two Yamaha stereos blew up.

    Not a Yamaha fan 😁😂🤣

    2
    • AMCFAN

      Del, That is about the funniest thing!

      1

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