Neat and Quick: 1990 Ford Taurus SHO

A few weeks ago I wrote about this 1989 Ford Taurus SHO, and the reader response was quite mixed. Barn Finder Roger has referred a 1990 model to us, so thank you for that Roger. This car has a number of key advantages over the previous example. The first and most obvious of these is that this car doesn’t look like it has spent any time doubling as a submarine. It is actually quite a clean looking car, and it will be interesting to see what the feedback on this one is like. Located in Hartfield, Virginia, it is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a price of $3,900 for the Taurus.

The first thing that I’ve noticed about the SHO is how clean it is. The owner describes the external appearance as being an eight out of ten, and I would tend to agree with him on this. It does look to be nice and straight, and there are no obvious signs of rust. There are a few stone-chips around the car, but overall, the presentation is pretty good. One nice bonus is the fact that the car is fitted with a factory sunroof, which was actually a fairly desirable option in these when new.

As with the exterior of the Taurus, the owner once again labels the overall condition as being eight out of ten. It isn’t perfect, but it still looks to be pretty good. The front leather seats look like they might benefit from conditioning, but the rest of it looks to be quite good. There is an aftermarket Kenwood CD player fitted into the spot where the original stereo would have been, but the rest of it looks pretty original. As well as the previously mentioned sunroof, the car is also fitted with power windows, power locks, air conditioning, and a driver’s airbag. There are a couple of minor items that will need repair, but nothing major.

It was what was under the hood that was the big story with the Taurus SHO, and what was there was quite impressive. The 3.0-liter V6 engine, which was developed in conjunction with Yamaha, punched out a pretty impressive 220hp. This was fed to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. It appears that the engine in this Taurus is in good health, and has recently received new plugs and wires, along with new intake and valve cover gaskets. With the car having also been fitted with new struts, it should be quite a nice thing to drive. The owner doesn’t make outrageous claims about the vehicle’s mileage, stating that it is sitting at 128,000 miles.

When it was originally released in 1989, the Taurus SHO was a potent car, and even today, its performance would not be shamed by many of its newer rivals. After all, any 4-door family sedan that can reach a verified 143mph is no slouch. This 1990 model appears to be in nice condition and seems to have managed to avoid the sort of deterioration and shabbiness that can plague these cars. In comparative terms, this isn’t the cheapest SHO that you can find on the market at present, but it is by no means the dearest either. The interesting thing about the 1990 SHO is that it has begun to experience a bit of surge in popularity (and value) over the past 12 months, which seems to indicate that this one might be a pretty good buy at the price.


  1. CanuckCarGuy

    Beautiful car, I fell for these when Ford first rolled them out and would love to have one; the price and condition of this one seem too good to be true.

    Like 5
  2. RoughDiamond

    That is a heck of a deal if the CarFax and AutoCheck are clear. I say “and” because a co-worker looked an SUV in Atlanta 2 weeks ago that was being sold by a large reputable dealer. He had asked all the right questions regarding accident history, etc. He was just about close the deal, however felt it was a good idea to look at both the CarFax and AutoCheck reports since the salesperson mentioned they always furnished both. The sales person slid the CarFax across the desk, but not the AutoCheck which he kept on his side of the desk. My co-worker saw the CarFax was spotless and hesitated to even ask to see the AutoCheck, but did and it showed the vehicle had sustained moderate collision damage. He was stunned and so glad he asked to see the AutoCheck report.

    Like 7
    • Thomas

      Always check both reports. As a prior manager I knew all my buddies at different dealers that had carfax or auto check. Some dealers will tell you they don’t subscribe to one or the other because they know it’s bad. There are plenty of independent inspectors that will give you a nominal amount. Some people pay cash to avoid carfax etc. put a REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT or walk.

    • Thomas

      correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t these require an exorbitant fee to do A mandatory maintenance service?

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I can tell you from having owned a 2 year old ’91, that every time there was an issue, it cost at least $300 to replace the defective part. As you can guess, all of the engine parts are unique.

    • Thomas

      ROUGHDIAMOND, no disrespect but find somebody that can teach you how to look for paint lines and other tell tale signs. I had a guy swear up and down original owner/paint until I showed him all the paint lines. Instead of coming back in he drove off.

  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Rumors from the day say this engine was a cooperative effort between Ford and YAMAHA..

    Like 2
    • GTiDave

      Correct, Yamaha motor. We had a few around work then, blast to drive.

      Like 1
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Gotta love a factory-built sleeper!

    • Kyngofpop

      Yamaha actually took over development when Ford tasked Yamaha with fitting DOHC heads to their Vulcan 3.0 boat anchor but they kept cracking the blocks. Yamaha took over and this is what came about. I’m an S.H.O. owner 8x over. These things are an addiction .

      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Yamaha has some outstanding engineers obviously, with the newer SHO’s developing 265 hp from 3.0liters.. Another lesson in carsmatology RE Yamaha taking the reins from Ford on that project and why.
        Thanks, kyngofpop!

  4. W9BAG

    A really great car !

    Like 1
  5. Thomas

    I had a supercharged Pontiac Bonneville 12.9 1/4 mile time 4000 lb car. Surprised many people on the freeway. It started off as a 3.8 V6 punched it out to a 4.4 with a smaller pulley and 150 nitrous shot. Plus a long long list of other things.

    • kyngofpop

      I mean…ok? What’s that gotta do with anything?

  6. Chrisssssssss

    I have had three of them. A 90, a 92 and a 93. All 5 speed cars. The 92 developed rod knock in it and I took a 3.2L out of an auto version of the cars and the 3.0L cams and put them in. It also had a super chip. That car would eat 5.0’s all day long.

    Like 1
  7. Steve D

    We were an early adopter. Clutch issues galore. Ford took it back and we bought a Bronco. Hopefully this one has an updated clutch up to the task. Fun car though.

    Like 1
  8. PatrickM

    Sounds like something I’ve been looking for. Price is suitable, too. Will be looking at this one seriously.

  9. Michael S

    This is my buddies car, we drove 6 hours to pick it up because of how clean it was. The second picture is the day we got it, still in Philadelphia.

    Big head turner at all the shows we’ve taken it to.

    Like 2

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