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Cheap V6: 1989 Ford Taurus SHO

Yamaha has quite a history of collaborating with different manufacturers to produce some pretty impressive engines. Their links with Ford produced a lively V6 engine that eventually found a home in the Taurus SHO. Barn Finder Chuck F located this SHO for us, so thank you so much for that Chuck. This one will need some work, but the owner is offering a couple of potential options, and these may be worth considering. The Taurus is located in Westbank, New Orleans, Louisiana, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price for the car has been set at a mere $425, but there are some other options and ideas that are worth considering.

The Taurus looks to be largely complete, and apart from some surface corrosion, it also seems to be rust-free. The body certainly has its fair share of dents and dings, the most impressive of these being the sizeable one in the top. It doesn’t look as though the car has been anyone’s treasured classic at any point in the recent past, so there’s plenty of work needed to return it to its former glory.

It seems that anyone who says that plastics will take thousands of years to biodegrade has never looked at the interior trim of cars from this era, because that stuff has now reached the stage where it is capable of dissolving before your very eyes. The interior of the Taurus is no better than the exterior. This is a shame because while it would never have challenged a Cadillac for luxury, it still must have been a nice place to be when it was new. Once again, there’s plenty of work required here, but apart from the missing factory stereo, it all looks to be complete.

It’s when you get to the noisy end of the car that you find what all of the hoopla was about with the SHO. Yamaha has been allowed to weave its magic, and the result was a 24-valve, quad-cam, 3.0-liter V6 engine. This pumped out a pretty healthy 220hp, would happily rev to 7,000rpm, and transmitted its power to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. What makes the SHO all the more impressive is that in spite of the fact that it was a front-wheel-drive car, it could still haul the mail through the ¼ mile in a very respectable 15.3 seconds, which wasn’t too shabby. The owner says that this is a car that you aren’t going to get into and drive away, but does say that if it doesn’t sell, then he’s going to drop the engine into a ’03 Explorer. That indicates that the engine and transmission are probably in reasonable health. He also has a pretty nice little parts package that set him back $4,000. This includes a Fidanza flywheel, a stage 3 clutch system, a 4-corner air strut system, and numerous other parts and pieces. He says that if anyone is willing to talk turkey, then he may be willing to negotiate on the car and the parts as a package deal.

The Taurus SHO is not a mega-dollars car, and this is a bit of a shame. While the styling doesn’t appeal to be everyone’s taste, that wonderful engine really is a jewel. One of my Barn Finds colleagues, Jeff Lavery, put it best in this article back in 2017, when  he said that, ” there is no such thing as a cheap SHO, there is such a thing as buying one cheap enough that your exposure to risk is minimal.” Those are wise words, and if that motor has been properly maintained and is in good health, then the car is worth the asking price for that alone.


  1. PatrickM

    #1: I don’t know much about these…ok? but, #2: check this out.. This seller is in a really big hurry. He grabbed the camera before putting away the cleaning materials and airing up the tires. I also think this is a Catrina Rescue. I really can’t say much about this. I’ll stop now.

    Like 1
  2. karl

    You could crush every model Taurus and Sable ever made and I wouldn’t even feel nostalgic that there were none left .

    Like 1
  3. Al Thompson III (CA)

    I drove a SHO a few years back. Smoked the front wheels!

    Like 2
  4. Brian Ach

    The wheels alone are worth $400. This is a parts car, definitely, but the parts are worth some cash as it sits.

    Like 4
  5. Ralph

    This thing is SHOt………

    Like 1
  6. mikestuff

    In the mid 90’s I got a new job with a major bank, just in call center here in town. I was on a team of new hires of and I was far and away the oldest person in that group. There was a kid, and when I say kid, I mean he was a year out of high school, going to school, still living at home.
    He came to work about 2 weeks into our training and said he’d been in a wreck over the weekend and wasn’t hurt but his dad’s 10 year old Explorer (kid’s driver) was totaled and he was driving his mom’s normal Taurus. I don’t remember all the details but in just a few days he came to work driving a SHO that was the same color as the one in this ad. He was a little pissed that his dad had bought a car with a stick shift since he’d never driven one. I don’t think his dad realized what this car was but he said his mom wouldn’t drive it either …stick shift, ya know. I talked the kid into letting me drive his SHO one day on lunch break; the call center was right next to I-80 and it was really fast. The kid was sitting in the passenger seat and I don’t think he’d realized how damn fast it was.

    Like 6
  7. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Owned one and loved it. Definitely a parts car. I wonder if I could fit the engine in my vintage Econoline.

    Like 2
  8. OhU8one2

    I saw cell phone video back when engine was being developed. Engine was sitting on a Dyno turning over 9000 RPM. The guy who was working the controls said “At 10,000 RPM the solder in the alternator will melt. That motor was detuned for the street. I wish I still had my 93. Loved that car.

    Like 0

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