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Sleeper Project: 1992 Ford Taurus SHO

Automotive history contains many examples of a manufacturer collaborating with a performance specialist to transform a garden-variety model into something memorable. One obvious example is Chevrolet’s Cosworth Vega, while Ford teamed up with Yamaha for the Taurus SHO. Our feature car rolled off the line in 1992, and while not perfect, it could be the ideal candidate for a first project build. It runs and drives, and its lack of rust means its cosmetic needs are pretty basic. If you feel up for the challenge, you will find the Taurus listed here on Craigslist in Reno, Nevada. The seller set their price at $4,900, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting the SHO.

This Taurus makes a positive first impression, with its original Vermillion paint shining nicely. The seller is candid about its condition, supplying shots revealing a collection of minor scratches and defects. None appear severe, and addressing them could occur at the new owner’s leisure. The panels are straight, with no evidence of existing bruises or prior accident repairs. The plastic components are excellent for their age, as is the glass. The car rolls on its original alloy wheels featuring their SHO center caps and no evidence of physical damage or stains.

Lifting the hood reveals what sets this Taurus apart from mere mortals. Yamaha has a successful history in motorcycle racing, even venturing into the world of Formula 1 as an engine supplier. That foray was not its finest moment, although its work with Toyota produced a Celica that secured much success in rally and circuit racing. The genesis of the Taurus SHO dates back to 1984, when the company signed a contract with Ford to produce a high-performance narrow-angle V6 for production car use. The result was the engine we find in the Taurus SHO. With a capacity of 2,986cc, this fuel-injected DOHC beast produces 220hp that finds its way to the road via the front wheels and a five-speed manual transmission. FWD vehicles aren’t renowned for their acceleration from rest due to limitations in applying the power to the road. However, this classic should storm through the ¼ mile in 15.6 seconds. Buyers can walk into a showroom today and drive away in modern family sedans capable of matching that figure, but the ¼-mile ET and the ability to hit 144mph looked impressive in 1992. The seller indicates the car is largely unmolested, showing a genuine 89,000 miles on its odometer. They recently added a ported intake and big-bore butterflies from the experts at SHO Source. The car features a Magnaflow Y-Pipe, but the buyer needs to add a muffler. While a few tasks require completion, they say this classic runs and drives well.

This SHO may tick the right boxes if a practical classic with luxury touches is on your radar. Its seats feature supple leather, while a driver’s airbag, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and a premium stereo with a CD player ensure the occupants feel pampered. The presentation of this interior is above-average for a car of this vintage. The heavily-bolstered front buckets show no significant wear, while the carpet and dash are excellent. There are no aftermarket additions, and the only fault the seller notes is with the A/C. They converted it to R134a refrigerant, but it doesn’t blow cold. It requires further investigation, but the buyer can do that at their leisure.

The 1992 Taurus SHO spent many years ignored by enthusiasts, and the reality is that it represented a niche model when the first cars rolled off the production line. Values plummeted as they were ignored in the classic market. However, these vehicles are developing a following among those seeking an affordable and practical classic. The result is values are climbing, but not at a rate to suggest they will ever be a mega-bucks vehicle. This one shows promise because a competent owner should be able to address its shortcomings in a home workshop without spending a fortune. Are you tempted to pursue it further, or doesn’t it tick the right boxes for you?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Thanks Adam. I had a 92 SHO, bought it new, liked it. The engine was of course the highlight, especially when coupled with the 5-speed. Perhaps “affordable” and “practical” are the key words here. At the time I wanted a performance car but needed a car which could do family duty, all for not too much money. Maybe someone today is in the same situation, and could take this example and give it some love.

    Like 10
    • Rw

      You ever replace the clutch?

      Like 1
  2. Cadmanls Member

    These cars can be real sleepers as there is more power to be had under the hood. Not too sure, but don’t you have to perform some heavy maintenance to these at some point as is required to keep them healthy? Thought I read that somewhere.

    Like 5
  3. Rixx56 Member

    If memory serves, belt tensioner and pulleys
    may be tough to source. Strong runner!

    Like 3
  4. Ed

    Hoo boy. These require a significant amount of specialist attention for the major services – 24 manually adjusted shim and bucket valves, tiny and short lived clutches, transmissions originally intended for 100hp 4 cylinders that really don’t like 220hp agressive launches on sticky 16” tires. If you add more power, you will discover every weak link in the powertrain, one by one.

    Watch out for smoking tailpipes, as they were notorious for destroying the rings in the back 3 cylinders when the thermostat stuck open in the summertime causing the engine to over fuel and take out the cat, whose crumbly ceramic dust got sucked back into the engine on lift throttle up shifts. Lotta replacement Y pipe/cat assemblies for that issue.

    BT, DT

    Like 12
  5. Stan

    Ford had had some great 6cyl motors.

    Like 2
    • Rw

      It’s a Yamaha motor

      Like 9
      • Stan

        Im aware, and fair point RW.. but it was nice of Ford to get it in their sedan.
        Also a big fan of the mazda/ford 2011 & up 3.7L in the mustang. Great performer.

  6. ThunderRob

    Actually,it’s the Ford Vulcan V6 sent to Yamaha where they added the new heads ,tuning and the insane intake,but it is a Ford Vulcan V6.

    Like 8
  7. rustylink

    89K – right at the major service point for timing chain/belt replacement. That should be the new owner’s first service.

    Like 1
  8. Stan Part

    “Classic vehicle” plates on a SHO… thanks for making me feel old!

    Like 7
    • Rick

      Classic vehicle plates on any vehicle as new as 1997 make me feel ancient.

      Like 2
  9. Troy

    I think Ford made a mistake with the SHO, because they were nice cars but at a glance they looked like any other Taurus on the road I wish they would have done styling that set them apart from every other car on the road

  10. Harley Anderson

    It is gone now.

    Like 1
  11. Emel

    Never was big into family/company cars morphed into faux muscle cars.
    This might have been the height of that idea.

    Like 2
    • jeffgfg

      No I believe that the Dodge Charger takes that award as a four door faux muscle car. That would be the height of the faux muscle car era for me!!!! Lets not forget the Dodge Magnum either a sporty station wagon too!!!

      Like 1
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        I wish I knew someone with one of those Chargers just so I could ask him how much he had to pay for the two additional doors.

      • Emel

        Yea which is why dozens (hundreds) of police forces used them. lol

  12. Keith D.

    Was the SHO during those model years only available in manual transmission??

    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      If I recall, for this generation, only manual transmissions through 1992, automatics also available 1993-1995.

      Like 2
      • Keith D.

        Okay got it, Thanks for the information!

  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Had a ’91, bought it when it was a year old and 12K miles. Fun to drive, horrendously expensive to repair. It cost at least $300 every time something needed to be repaired, and it was in the shop a lot. I traded it for a Maxima when the monthly repairs were costing more than the car payment.

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    I thought it was a 4 cyl turbo (no) attempt to get
    some mericans to buy usa rather than a beemer?
    May B that was an older ford…?

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      chrisful, You might be thinking of the Merkur XR4Ti. I had one of those too. Also had bad luck with it. Both that and the SHO made me swear off Fords, but now we have 3 of them in the driveway. Someone slipped me the Blue Oval Kool-Aid.

      Like 3

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