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Nearly New! 3,453 Mile 1987 Ford Taurus LX

Back in 1986 when it was first introduced, the “jelly bean” Ford Taurus’s styling was quite controversial. Now, it looks much more normal. This garage find has only 3,453 original miles and has never been driven in the salt, despite being located in Chicago, Illinois. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist for $6,500, a considerable drop from the MSRP of $15,213, but above the NADA of $3,150.

They don’t come any nicer or cleaner than this! I’m betting that snow scraper was thrown in by the dealer–and this car has supposedly never seen snow or salt.

Absolutely pristine, isn’t it. The seller also tells us that all necessary maintenance has been performed as well, and that it’s his Mom’s car and she’s been the only owner. I can believe that.

When I first saw this car, the lack of wrinkles had me thinking these were vinyl, but the seller tells us not only are the seats leather, that they are power operated. The car also has power windows, steering, antenna and cruise control, as well as cold and functional air conditioning. Other than cleaning the floor mats and possibly some spots on the carpet, you are essentially buying a demo 1987 Ford Taurus LX!

Here’s the 3.0 V6 power train, and an engine compartment that could use a good cleaning but is ready to go otherwise. I’m pretty confident looking at this that it isn’t 103,453 miles–do you agree with me? And is this a “run it into the ground” daily driver, or an example that should be preserved, or something in between? Please share your thoughts in the comments section; I’ll be interested in your reasoning as well!



  1. Ralph H.

    It’s astonishing to see a 30 year old car with such low mileage and very little use. Whether or not its a common Taurus, it is surely one of a very few in this condition. I’d hate to see it turn into a daily driver, thereby eliminating all the care it has received up to this point.

  2. Rick

    Am I the only one that doesn’t like the position of the “0” on the odometer?

    • Dave A

      Agree, The mileage is either bs or rode hard cross country and back. Despite the minimal wear, close inspection of pics does not warrant some of the use this car has seen.

    • Tom Member

      I am kind of there with you but I do recall these and many others especially Mustangs where the odometers were kind of “lazy” and the digits were a little high and a little low. Let’s face it, this era, cars were pretty crappy. I worked for Enterprise Rent A Car from 88-98 and read the mileage off 1000’s of cars…..this does not surprise me.

      look at the car too…..the steering wheel, seats, just does not show wear of 100K miles …..closer inspection would be better but it kind of looks legit.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Tom, I respect what you are saying, but the digit in the 100,000 position is mis-aligned.
        Would you see that type of mis-alignment on a digit that supposedly hasn’t moved?

        I agree that the condition speaks more about the true mileage than anything else.

  3. Bill Lawrence

    I’d like to buy it and loan it to movie studios for period pieces.

    Like 1
    • Stang1968

      Exactly what I thought.

    • Puhnto

      Don’t lend it, RENT it to them!

    • Tim Rusling

      I had a Checker for 24 years, and in the early years I’d get requests for having it in special VIP parades and one film. A car buddy told me to never agree to this. He said these cars are beaten to death and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it because you’re not there.

  4. dirtyharry

    The math works out to an average of 9.5 miles per month. Yeah, sure I believe that.

  5. JW454

    Unless you’re looking for a daily driver with low miles and you’re willing to pay over the current published value, I don’t think there would be much of a market for it.
    The minute you start driving it, it loses any value it may have had. Possibly a collector that intends on preserving it as is with some open space in his storage area. I hope it finds a good home.

  6. Terry J

    The car that saved the Ford Motor Company. Modern design, well built and attractive, the Taurus was revolutionary in many ways and was the blueprint copied by the other US manufacturers . The 3.0 Vulcan was a tough engine – cast iron block and heads, and eventually the tranny growing pains were resolved. I bought a 1995 from the original owner with less than 50,000 miles on it and somewhere about 15 years later and another 85,000 miles I sold it to a young man who is still driving it around town. Great cars. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
    • G 1

      GM laughed when Ford came out with these. After a couple of years they weren’t laughing anymore.

  7. Tom Member

    Let’s say it is true and original mileage…….who bought this one and put it away thinking…..”man one day……one day…..this baby is gonna be ….” LOL sorry I can’t even keep the line of thinking going!!!!!

    • Woodie Man

      Really. The real question is Why? And now what?

  8. Squad41

    Controversial styling? Not at the time, no. It was hailed as the future, as the domestic competition was still schlepping three-box designs such as Chrysler’s K-car, and GM’s Celebrity/Century/Cutlass Ciera/6000. The Taurus was, in fact, well-received, award-winning, and sold in strong numbers.

  9. Paul Hudson

    My Dad had two wagons a new 1988 and a Used 1997. Both were great cars. They were great driving and could hold lots of stuff. The 88 had the Vulcan 3.0 the 97 had the DOHC 3.0 and was a real fun car to drive with excellent power. Both got decent mileage for their size. The 1997 was a much better built car. I took over the 97 when Mom could no longed drive. Unfortunately the car was totaled two years ago when my ex was teaching my son to drive. Amazingly the 18 year old car’s dual airbags went off without a hitch and no-one was hurt except the car. Both cars proved to be reliable. The interior on the 97 was still in excellent condition even with 170k miles on it. I’d still have that car today if not for that accident. There are still many on the road and they make a pretty decent daily driver even today.

    • Jose Balli

      i bought a 1997 mercury sabal wagon several years ago it had 64 thousand miles on it the car is in excellent condition i still drive it daily with no problems.

  10. Jeffro

    Yes it’s neat. Low mileage. Really clean. However, it’s not a “1 of 1”. It’s not a SE, GT, LE, and certainly not a SHO. It’s not turbocharged, supercharged, or supporting a rare motor. It’s a plain vanilla 87 Ford Taurus. A used car. Ok, it’s a nice used car. I humbly await your thumbs down…

  11. grant

    No thumbs down here, Jeffro. I like Tauruses (Tauri?) and I’ve owned several. Reliable, drama free and pretty much invisible to law enforcement. Just not sure if this is worth a premium due to not being used. One wouldn’t want to run the miles up now, and destroy the one thing that makes it unique. At the same time I doubt this will ever be a high dollar collector car, so it was kind of a waste of a good new car.

  12. KevinW

    Needs to be converted into a 6000 SUX. I kid, these were well built, dependable, and nice driving cars!

  13. pursang

    Tauruses had the worst front seats I’ve ever set my butt on.

    • Jeffro

      My girlfriend said back seat was uncomfortable too! : )

      • Mike H. Mike H


      • Tom Member

        It wasn’t the seat. HA !!!! I’m kiiiiddddiiiinnngggg !! I am just poking fun….at your comment of having fun poking!! Hey, if you can’t laugh a little, life is not worth it!

  14. kman

    Regardless of the miles, it’s nothing more than a $500 beater here in the Chicagoland area.

  15. irocrob

    I do not like the way the numbers on the odometer line up.

  16. RoughDiamond Member

    The transmissions in those cars were their weak kink. Poor lubrication design and with sustained heat, I believe it was the planetary gears that would literally weld themselves together. Ford ducked a class action lawsuit on the transmissions for years and I was so happy when Ford had to refund me the $3,200.00 I had paid to them years earlier.

    • Daniel Wright

      When these were still common most of them died from transmission failure or rust. I remember seeing otherwise pristine examples scrapped due to transmission failure. My sister had an 89 that took a legendary beating and just kept going. It stalled on her once and it turned out she was driving it with no oil or coolant….At the end the dash shook like a popcorn popper not sure what caused it.

  17. milotus

    We bought a ’90 wagon from an estate sale,
    & sold it two years later,for $200 less.
    These were good cars when new,but had a
    lot of problems.We went through front brakes twice,
    & the car just seemed cheaper the longer we owned it.
    We were able to transfer the extended warranty,which
    saved us a lot of money.
    After we sold it,we bought another Fairmont wagon.

  18. Jason


  19. Howard A Member

    Ok, 1st, this car has the honorable distinction of being the car that caused me to lose interest in newer cars. They were good cars, brother had wagons, nephew rolled a car like this, walked away without a scratch, many, many miles. While transmissions were a big problem, an even bigger problem was head gaskets. ( I think there was even a recall on those for that) Sorry, there’s no way this car has 3K miles. It is 30 years old, and is only a few thousand miles a year, and if it’s kept inside, it could indeed look like this. Be a good beater for a grand, but that’s about it. Most looked like this.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      The head gasket issues were on the 3.8L, not the 3.0L. Head gaskets were very common failures on those 3.8L motors and we saw them weekly in the shop I worked at in the early 2000’s. The common complaint here in MN was that there was no heat at idle; customer would freeze to death sitting at a long stop light. Combustion pressure would enter the water jacket and disrupt flow to the heater core until the engine revs came up to overcome the imbalance. It got so that I could do the whole job (with stocked reman heads) in about five hours.

      The only real issue I ever had with the 3.0L is that Ford used tapered seat spark plugs and they’d rust to the head. Broke off many plugs on those motors over the years, but I also got really good at getting them back out, too.

    • Tim Rusling

      How in the world can any car – I mean ANY car rot out this bad? Twice daily salt sprays? I used to drive a company pool ’87 Taurus – never rustproofed and other drivers beat on it hard. At about 180K miles its Vulcan was treated to a fuel injection bottle service, and after that, on full throttle, it got a chirp on the 1 to 2 shift. Nothing seemed to kill this car, and I never saw any rust of consequence on it. One night, on the highway, going from a city 4 hours away, the wind kicked up really bad and I could barely keep the car pointed straight. It was going off the shoulder, over the center line, over and over. Scary, scary. When I got home I saw on the news that I’d driven right alongside a tornado. Wow.

  20. Big Mike

    I have to disagree with some of you guys, a car in Chicago with these few miles is very possible. My Wife has an Aunt and Uncle that live and worked in Chicago and raise their kids in the Greater Chicago area. Where they lived they took Chicago Transit Authority or CTA or rode on the “L” trains to work everyday and the kids all took the bus wherever they went. Most companies that have offices in the downtown Chicago area will give their employee CTA passes so they can leave the car or truck home because like New York there are not a lot of places to leave your car for the day. They would walk to the CTA or “L” station and ride it into town. We where up there one summer for a visit and we went a White Socks game, we rode the “L” into the game walked to dinner after and then rode the “L” back to a stop and walked to their home. So if this owner lived in Chicago I could see a car having this few of miles. Now I am not 100% sure about today because both her Aunt and Uncle are retired and live in Florida, but I remember my Wife’s Dad talking about they only bought a new car every 15 years because they never put a lot of miles on them like we did down here in SE Missouri where her Dad would drive 120 miles a day to work and home when he worked in St Louis.

  21. J Jefferson

    I do find the wording of the ad a bit funny…. “All nec. maintenance performed”… what exactly does one of these need done in the first 3,500 miles?

    Here in Canada these all had major paint issues. After one winter the paint would peel faster than a **insert stripper joke here**. Mechanically they were all right in comparison to their North American competitors. I bought my uncle’s ’93 in almost this same condition and mileage…. unfortunately he passed away 6 months after buying it, so never used it that much. I on the other hand drove the snot out of it and gave it to my nephew about 10 years ago and he squeezed another couple of years of snot out of it too. Most consistent problem for me was the gas gauge kept shorting out.

  22. Alan (Michigan)

    Unless it is a camera issue, it looks to me that there is a paint color mismatch between the LR door and the LR fender. Partial repaint?
    This car may have spent a long time languishing in a body shop’s back room.

  23. Dovi65

    It’s a nice car, and a great find. Unfortunately, as it was a mainstream sedan produced in huge numbers, it’s unlikely to ever become a highly sought after collectible. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be proud to show it at local Cars & Coffee events. It’s survived 30 years with loving care, & attention. I hope the new owner doesn’t start racking up the miles

    • Tim Rusling

      Regardless of it’s being a low-line family car, bereft of status, I’d love to have it and take it to shows. It’s the plain, the unloved and the unwanted cars I gravitate towards. It’s the antithesis of what I see all over in the show, cruise circuits – high dollar, highly sought after rare, muscle, numbers-matching etc. etc. The fact that it still exists and was never regarded as worth keeping is what interests me. And it allows lower-income folks to get into the older car hobby easily. A new generation will be awaiting this car. .

  24. Larry K

    Growing upin the seventies Mom would drive her car to work about 4 blocks, sometimes hit the grocery store( 2 more blocks),and the odd trip to the dentist, doctor,etc. Any trips or functions we’d take Dads van. 9 miles a month, no problem.

  25. Andy

    I live in New York and I see movie shoots all the time. You’d be surprised how many clean, old, boring cars they rustle up for these. Somebody in north Jersey or Long Island could make a few bucks renting this for the odd ’80s/90s period piece. Maybe even somebody in an outer borough with their own garage.

  26. Rex Kahrs Member

    After my son’s POS Corsica blew 2 intake manifold gaskets, I bought him a used Integra, which he drove for 6 months and then destroyed one snowy night. It was at that point that I decided he needed a Taurus.

    I found a 65K-mile Granny Taurus, a 1995, for 1100 bucks. Now 4 years later the thing is so beat to hell (bumpers half gone, headliner gone, McDonald’s bags everywhere)…BUT….the thing is still going. When that car dies, I am gonna recommend another Taurus.

    • Keith

      At least you had a Corscia and not a Beretta my friend!

    • Keith

      At least you had a Corsica and not a Beretta my friend!

      • Paul Hudson

        Thats funny because I remember renting a Beretta when they first came out. The Column automatic shifter was in a location where I hit it with my knee and accidentally threw the car into neutral several times. It was a nice looking little car for the time. I only rented it for several days so I can’t vouch for its reliability.

  27. Squanto

    Just like new and still as ugly. “Quality is Job 1”

  28. Matt

    I had the exact same car for a while, bought in ’93 with about 40,000 miles. The transmission would grind and the throttle body always needed cleaning. Finally our local Ford dealer, now out of business, bent a rod while de-carbonizing the engine.

  29. 8banger Dave Member

    The various nylon/plastic gears in its transmission WILL shut it down.

    • Terry J

      Never had on bit of problems with my ’95 Taurus in all the years we had it. Sold it at 135,000 mi and it’s still going. :-) Terry J

  30. Pappy2d

    30 years old, without patina?

  31. BCG 1

    My dad had one. A pile. He said it was the worst car he ever owned. And he had a Maverick. He never bought a domestic brand again.

  32. David Miraglia

    Rented one at Hertz. Great daily driver

  33. steve m

    Something about this car does not add up, the dash or cluster has most likely been opened. The ODO does not look right, the gear selector says its in drive with the lever up like its in park. The brake petal pad looks worn on the right side.Im not trying to be mean, but this car does not look legit to me, Id love to see a carfax (if they go back that far).

  34. Ralph Robichaud

    OK, my 2 cents’ worth. I look at this not as a collectible,or something to be modified, souped up. What I see is a family sedan in near impecable condition, for $6500,. You’d be hard pressed at that price point to buy any used car, that would be as clean, presentable, and reliable family transportation.,regardless of the year of manufacture. It’s a great car that somebody ought to buy and use over the next 4-5 years. It’s not a keeper, never appreciate in value, wont win any awards, but will get you there and back, in reasonable comfort, pretty cheaply.

  35. glenn

    i had one of these and i dont remember a zero being present when the car was low milage as this one says . it has a zero before the 3 which leads me to believe that it is 103000 miles

    • Rick

      All odometers I’ve seen start with all zeros when new except, of course, the digital ones.

      • Mike H. Mike H

        I disagree with that statement. All of the digital ones I’ve seen also have zeros making up all six places.

      • Mike H. Mike H

        Like this. . .

  36. Ralph Robichaud

    From way back in the 40’s, odometer on NA cars have had five digits, so the 0 is very much valid, and it would read as is whether it’s three or onehundred three.
    The six digit odo we have now are fairly recent.

  37. 8banger Dave Member

    Steve M – those shifters are notorious for doing that and some will eventually fall out. Another sweet thing those peppy 3.0s are prone to are the freeze plugs rusting out…

  38. Tim Rusling

    I had a rotten freeze plug blow scalding coolant all over a technician when it was up on a hoist. . .the 231-4V V6 Turbo Buick was almost two years old when that happened. To this day, it’s the single shittiest car I’ve ever had the misfortune of owning. I gave up a Pacer X to get it. Now 38 years later I’m once again in the Pacer fold and am happy to be back on track in a car I love that doesn’t let me down.

  39. Robert

    I have a 2004 Honda Accord and the Engine Compartment is much cleaner then this Ford and the Accord has 165,000 miles so I would think it is 103,000 Miles not 3,000 Miles Just my OPINION and you know what they say about OPINIONS. ……… he He HE.

  40. djkenny

    A friend had a “thing” for these sedans. In the mid 90’s he had a couple Mercury Sables. Bought new, even. They notoriously went through the transmission at around 80k. Repaired at the time to the tune of over $1500. A car that was worth that much in 10 years.

    He finally bought a Camry new in 2005. It now has 215k on the original transmission and engine, only brakes and maintenance.

    I drove a 2002 model Taurus wagon loaded with leather. Good pick up. It had 100k on it and the motor had lots of Go. They got a little better during the last generation of the car.

  41. Mark-A

    Can someone please explain what the part is between the Battery & the Alternator (if that’s what it is?) with the holes drilled into it? Thanx (PS I’m an Ignorant Brit so don’t recognise the part!) Thanx

    • Mike H. Mike H

      The thing to the left of the alternator is actually the coolant expansion tank and washer fluid reservoir. I think the metal piece with the holes is merely a belt guard over the drive pulley.

  42. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hi Mark, that’s a fair question. After studying the photo, I think that’s a cover/guard over top of the alternator belt.

  43. Mark

    I have driven the car and have given it a thorough inspection. I am very confident that is the real deal 3500 mile car as it has the low mileage new car look & feel. It is a car that is so old that most models of this type are no longer on the road and it will pass for a late model to the masses. This is a sedan with everything a car needs to have and none of the gimmicks that a new car has that will be high dollar to fix a 100,000 miles down the road.

  44. Evan

    I want this car so badly lol. Wow!!!!! Just amazing.

  45. Rex Kahrs Member

    Evan, you are 3 years too late.

    Like 1

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