Three Pedal Performer: 1994 Ford Taurus SHO

Super High Output! What’s not to like? Finding a new domestic sedan in the late ’80s that was only available with a manual transmission was a total throwback – in a good way! Kudos to Ford for the Taurus SHO and today we have a chance to review a second-gen Taurus SHO, specifically a 1994 model that is located in Woodbridge, Virginia. It’s available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $2,500. Thanks to Mitchell G. for this neat find!

The SHO first hit the marketplace in 1989 and sold a surprising 15K units. It was surprising because it was based on a very commonplace and popular passenger sedan but was seriously ginned up in the power department and only available with a five-speed manual transaxle, not the sort of thing most buyers were angling for in 1989. But again, the SHO was a lot more than just a common sedan with a manual shift. The second-generation SHO, like this example, was introduced in 1992 and by 1993, an alternate engine was available that was comfortable with an automatic gearbox. The third-generation Taurus SHO rolled out in 1996 and by its conclusion in 1999, approximately 104K Taurus SHOs had found new owners. After a ten year lapse, the SHO returned in 2009 and saw a ten-year run lasting into 2019. Throughout the Taurus SHO’s four generations, a refined understatement of appearance would be its calling card – powerful but dignified.

Fortunately, whoever initially purchased this ’94 SHO opted for the standard 200 net HP, Yamaha built, 3.0-liter, DOHC, V6 engine and mandated manual transaxle. There was a 3.2-liter Ford-sourced V6 engine, with an automatic transaxle available too and while it possessed the same power output, it generated an additional 15 lb. feet of torque. The seller does not detail how this 128K mile SHO runs but he does suggest that the motor mounts need to be replaced. Work performed, recently, includes a new radiator, radiator hoses, thermostat, fuel injectors, spark plugs, and fuel rail. He also has a new clutch that he will sell as an additional item though he claims the existing clutch is “perfectly fine“.

There are only two images of the exterior included in the listing and neither are very good. The car presents pretty well though there is something scuffed on the driver’s door and the finish, overall, looks a bit tired. A simple washing and four of five comprehensive exterior images, including a full reveal of the front and the passenger side, would do wonders to help with the promotion.

The interior has a similar tired vibe as the exterior. The beige cloth upholstery is worn and dirty and the console lid looks as if it is starting to collapse – typical and minor issues in the scheme of things.

The seller claims, “this was my dream car for a very long time and I finally got it really don’t want to sell it so just testing the water”.  Which I take to mean that he’s testing the price, it seems an odd position to take. If one has doubts about their car, hang on to it until you’re really sure it’s time to part ways. While the Taurus SHO was a pretty remarkable car, their long-term durability and longevity are unknown to me and 128K miles is a matter to consider. Of course, the seller is only asking $2,500 so maybe the mileage shouldn’t be such a concern. What do you think, worth taking a chance on this speedy sedan?

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Comments

  1. Mark_K Member

    I bought a clone of this car brand new back in ’94. I had to special order it to get a cloth interior instead of leather. It got built the Monday after the Super Bowl. Within 2 months of me taking delivery it was bought back under the California Lemon Law. The sunroof kept developing leaks. The dealer finally figured out that if you drive a 5 speed SHO hard, the body torques under hard acceleration and hard shifts causing the leaks.

    Like 7
  2. nycbjr Member

    130k? Has it had the 60k service 2x? This is one of my dream cars, price is right but they are only good if you follow the regular maintenance!

    Like 4
  3. Stangalang

    I remember these having two tailpipes..am I going blind or what?

  4. DayDreamBeliever Member

    It has two. Hard to see in the photos here, but in one of those on the FB listing, clear to spot.

  5. irocrobb

    Had a green one just like this in around 2002. The 6 cylinder would really sing going threw the gears. Comfortable and stable on the road. Mine had about 130,000 miles on it and everything started falling apart. I only kept it about 6 months. Most cars now will surpass its performance but back in 2002 it was a pretty hot number

    Like 2
  6. jwzg

    The 3.2 liter was just the 3.0 with a larger bore. The bottom end was based on the Vulcan with the top-end being designed and built by Yamaha.

    Like 3
  7. JS

    I had a ’91. That was before they added mass to the flywheel, so it was easy to stall. Fun car, the only car I remember being surprised by beating it was a BMW 540. Bought it really cheap because it was rather tatty. I remember getting a busted tail light from a junkyard for free and sawing it in half and glueing to the good half from my busted tail light to make a good one. Eventually, the transmission locked up at speed on the interstate and the front tires were skidding. I pushed in the clutch and coasted a bit before trying it again. It worked again but spun a bearing the the transmission and made a lot noise. I drove it another 30 miles or so to get to the meeting I was going to, then got it towed home. I couldn’t find another tranny so we gave it to a charity. They gave me a valuation so high I think the tax savings made it a free car. They are a lot of fun when they are working.

    Like 1
    • Z1rider

      Hmm,,,,Do I understand you to say that when you stepped on the clutch the front tires stopped skidding? If so the trans did not lock up. That could have only been the engine seizing. Please clarify.

      Like 2
  8. RacinRob4

    Owned one each of the 1st 3 generations. A white 90 5-spd, obviously,with Mocha full leather interior, a white 91 PLUS with 50/50 black interior and finally a black 98 with camel full leather interior. Of all of them I would love to have the 90 SHO back the most. U have to do the 60K engine services on time and can’t go with cheap parts either you’ll end up paying to have the job redone sooner than later. $2500 with $128K isn’t a bad deal $2000 would be as high as I could go. GLWTS!!!!

  9. Rex Payne

    I believe you mean “throwback”, Jim, and not “through back”.

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      You are correct, thx.

      JO

  10. Greg Millard Member

    These cars are great and beg to be driven aggressively so if you want to enjoy the design I suggest spending a little more and find a good one that has been properly maintained. Our ’92 was greatly appreciated at the most recent LA RAD Car Show and was even given a short writeup in Hot Rod Magazine. SHO Forum is a fab owners group for maintenance & repair advice for the DIYers.

    Like 1

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