60 in 6.6: 1991 Ford Taurus SHO

sho1

One of my bucket list vehicles has just come on the market: a first-generation Ford Taurus SHO with factory slicer wheels, here on craigslist in Missouri. These were some of the most interesting domestic hot rods ever built, and with only 62,000 miles, this first-gen still has some screaming to do. Powered by a Yamaha-sourced V6, they sound amazing and are a rare site on the road today. 

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Even with the arrival of vehicles like the Cadillac CTS-V and Dodge Charger R/T, I’d still take one of these early Taurus sedans over the modern interpretation of an American-made Q-Ship. Why? Well, for one thing, the first-generation Taurus is a bit ugly, and I like the idea of a car that’s not some stud of a super sedan – quirky fits me better. Then there’s the appeal of a Japanese-built screamer shoehorned into the epitome of a vanilla family sedan. It doesn’t get more utilitarian than a Ford Taurus. Combine that with an honest-to-God three-pedal manual transmission and I’m in love.

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Then there are those intake runners. It doesn’t get better than that, unless we’re talking about an Alfa Romeo 164. What a gorgeous engine, and one that was capable of hitting 143 m.p.h. One caveat of SHO ownership, however: they tend to need a major servicing at 60,000 miles, which is why it isn’t terribly uncommon to see them kicked to the curb just shy of or exactly at that magic number. That’s why I’m not surprised by the 62K mileage claim on this car. The seller’s description of the car as “all-original” may not necessarily be a good thing in this instance.

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In my opinion, the price listed is fair for a survivor-grade SHO that hasn’t been modified. However, I’d want a crystal clear picture into its maintenance history. Some of the 60K work includes a timing belt, water pump, crankshaft seals, camshaft seals, plugs / wires and a valve adjustment. Not hugely difficult items to address, but if they’ve been done, it will provide some nice assurances that this SHO is as good as it looks. Does this American-made super sedan tick the right boxes for you?

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Comments

  1. Alan (Michigan)

    Wow.
    Someone flagged the listing already, so I can’t even see it.
    One of the annoyances of Craigslist, is that anyone can pretty much stifle the purpose for using the system. I have seen many instances where some person with an interest in an item has apparently flagged the post so that no one else can read it.

    • Cassidy

      It takes more than one person to flag an ad and get it removed. I’ve flagged stuff that was a blatant rule violation and the ad was never pulled. That will get sped up if the poster had multiple ads on one Craigslist or was advertising on multiple Craigslists; that will get you bounced pretty quick

  2. piper62j

    Alan.. Unfortunately, we don’t reside in a “live and let live” society.. Hang in there,, better times are on the way.. (I hope)!

  3. Terry Holland

    Owned a green ’91 , manual, tan leather…absolute blast for a family in a hurry.
    At 60 K the water pump started to drip on the crank sensor and the car would die whenever or where ever. The major service necessitated a valve shim check , some always were needing replacement, water pump, cam and crank seals as indicated and belts to the max…this was a high performance engine (Yamaha racing) shoehorned into a family sedan. It’s biggest weakness was the clutch and brakes were under engineered for the performance of the engine. There are many upgrades to the motor to take it to the mid 300’s hp a
    nd Ive seen crown vic or Lincoln front knuckles used for bigger brakes so you could stop that beast…but no matter…
    When you opened that hood that was THE most beautiful engine an American car builder has ever used. I loved and hated it. My ex was kind enough to dispose of it for me..

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    It does “tick the right boxes” for me….this vehicle was a “restrained” muscle car in a EPA world, wanna-be muscle car era. Why the ad was flagged, who knows. Ticked off ex-wives…P-eed off neighbors, it’s anyone’s guess. Hence the previous poster’s comment about the “ex”…doh!

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    It is a shame that vehicles become bargaining leverage in disputes.
    Many a vehicle has been lost to oblivion due to domestic legal muckraking.
    [Quote]: My ex was kind enough to dispose of it for me..

    • Howard A Member

      Hi DrinkinGasoline, tell me about it. This was lost in the scuffle of my divorce. The upside was, I didn’t have to listen to her complain anymore.
      http://www.desertclassics.com/DC5/image/DiaT48pickup201TC2.jpg

      • David Wilk Member

        Howard – In turn, sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful truck. Can you tell us more about it? Where did it end up?
        I hope by now you have found a replacement (relationship and vehicle).
        David

      • Mike H. Mike H

        Diamond T? Those were about the coolest pickups built, ever.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi David, yeah, that was a tough decision. It was either my Harley ( which nobody wanted) or the Diamond T. (the judge had no sense of humor, come up with some cash or go directly to jail) I found the truck in a junkyard in S. Wis. ( during happier times) in the early ’80’s. It had no wheels, but looked very similar to that photo. I paid $100 dollars for it, found another chassis in another yard that I paid $200 for, mostly just for the wheels.( 16″ Dayton style, very hard to find) and dragged it home. I had the truck for many years, until 2002. I sold it to a friend, ( who still has it, I hope), for $4,000. A restored example sold at auction for $97,000 dollars. I also had a ’72 Peterbilt I had to sell. THAT was a heartbreaker too. Note to all, be careful when you say “I do”. http://assets.blog.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2014/03/HowardArbiture_01_1500.jpg

  6. Jeff

    Cool find, wish I could see the Craigslist ad. In my younger days my wife and I had a ’93 Mustang GT Convertible w/ an automatic and when our first child came along we traded it in on a very low mile 93 or 94 SHO w/ an automatic. These are awesome cars and a lot of fun to drive at the time.

    I wasn’t aware of the service requirement but I think we traded it before it had that many miles anyway, we wanted to buy a house so we sold it for a plain Dodge Intrepid (Geez) that we got a chance to buy dirt cheap from my wife’s employer

    I haven’t seen one in years. There is a local doc with very deep pockets that is a car buff and he somehow got Ford to build him a SHO wagon back in the day, it was dark green I’m sure he still has it.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Sorry to hear about your Dodge Intrepid experience as I had a horrible ’00 Intrepid experience. As a side note…FoMoCo did offer a Taurus SHO Wagon as a production vehicle. If the Doc still has it…..make him an offer !! Now !!

  7. Todd Zuercher

    A rare “sight”. I love ’em too. Years ago I picked up a nice intake at the u-jerk-it for wall art for my garage.

  8. jim s

    first gear was a issue on some of these. they were fun cars to drive and i too loved the motor.

  9. OhU8one2

    I had a 93 SHO,what an awesome car. The sound of the engine once you planted your foot onto the gas pedal. I bought for my wife to use after my son was born. I was working at Saleen at the time and was able to get some inside information on the car. The Yamaha engine could spin all the way up to 10,000 rpm,but the solder in the alternator would melt. Actually saw dyno video from Japan. The engine was supposed to be for racing,but series was cancelled. Then Ford and Yamaha started talking and the rest is history. At 64,000 miles the tranny let loose,thank god I bought extended warranty. BUT after 5 rebuilt transmission’s replaced I finally had enough from Ford. I had one tranny last 2 weeks before it was at the dealership again. Crazy thing is,I really do miss that car.

  10. Howard A Member

    Had a friend with one. Never cared for these. It embodied everything that WASN’T like a Ford. Front drive, Asian motor, jelly bean design. Sure set you back in the seat, for a modern type car, though. Never in a million years did I think a car like this would be collectible, and it’s the motor that’s making it so. I suppose that could be said for many cars.

  11. John

    I had a first year SHO. Favorite car until I bought my Magnum. I forget how many miles I had on it when I (stupidly) got rid of it. Only had to replace the timing belt. even with the seats full of friends it would race a pony car even Steven.

  12. Van

    I always wanted to know if this engine would fit in a probe?

  13. angliagt

    Ford NEVER offered an SHO wagon – they built a one-off
    show car however.I might have bought one,had they offered it,to
    replace our Black ’78 Fairmont wagon w/TRX wheels/tires.
    I’m also getting really tired of the scammers spamming
    craigslist with listings like “2014 Acura – $2500”,etc.And the posts
    from out of the area clog it up too.

  14. Dan h

    Used to work on allot of ordinary Taurus’s back when they were common. Then one day this guy comes into the shop with a SHO. He was all proud of it and I was thinking to myself “what the hell is so special about this Taurus??”
    Then he popped the hood….

  15. Tommy

    I have a ’95 Taurus Sho sitting in my garage under a cover…haven’t used it for a few years and debating of putting it for sale. Only 111k miles on it and it was all highway miles…

    • Jeff Staff

      Tommy, tell us more…or tell me more, I guess. ;-) Service history? Any accidents? My favorite color…

  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I had a ’91 that I bought in ’93 with 25K on it. Great car and a blast to drive.

    Unfortunately, this one had several “minor” issues that always seemed to cost $300 – $400 to fix. Things like the alternator, engine fan, freaky instrument issues, etc. Since everything was “heavy duty”, it always cost 2 – 3 times what a normal Taurus repair would cost. Never had a real engine issue, but the rest of the car was all Ford.

    I finally got tired of the bills and traded it for a Maxima.

  17. Jim L

    I am the proud owner of two SHO’s. I have owned 12 of them throughout the years and I still have a ’92 and a ’95 left. Both are manual transmissions and both go like stink. My ’95 is sitting in my car hauler and has only 120K on the odometer. I love these cars and there is NOTHING in the world as nice as planting your foot on the accelerator and hearing that sweet Yamaha engine wind up to 7,000 RPM. My ’92 is a daily driver and has over 200K on it. I sold a ’93 a few years back that had over 500K on it and the new owner still has it and drives it daily.

    Like 1
    • Jeff Staff

      Sound like great cars, Jim – and agreed on the noises that motor can make!

  18. Grizzman

    I owned a 1991 SHO, fast black, very nice engine, but the rest of the car was awful. When I finally sold it in 1997, the body was falling off of it, the only door or window that worked was the driver’s door thankfully. The hood was fiberglass and the only panel that didn’t rust, but the paint fell off. I loved this car to start, with but happy to see it go…………salt in Canada is hard on vehicles.

    • Jim L

      Grizzman, if it had the fiberglass hood it was a SHO PLUS version, only available in ’91 and actually quite collectible. One of the ones I owned was a PLUS. Now, for a bit of trivia, in 1991 the Emerald Green color was only available on a PLUS. Quite a rare car.

      • Grizzman

        Jim L, I always wanted to put it away before it rusted so badly, but no money, kids and stuff got in the way. Funny how the paint peeled on the hood, but no rust. I recall I installed a CD player and it rode so rough, the CD skipped all the time. Handled great, and I loved the 5 speed and the sound of the Yamaha.

  19. Funkoff

    I’m actually the proud new owner of this vehicle. It was purchased from the original owner by one of his best friends who owned the mechanic shop that has maintained it since original ownership. Only thing I have done to the vehicle so far is tie rod ends and sway bar bushings.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Terrific! Let us know how things go!

      • Funkoff

        I definitely will. It will be tinted in the next week or two. The ground effects will be painted in the fall along with some touch-up. Next week I have some classic 12-inch MB quart Subs that will be installed and the head unit has already been replaced.

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