• Feb 12, 2009
In case you haven't noticed, there will always be a place in our hearts for the Taurus SHO, and news that the car is headed back to production has at least one staffer in something approaching a dream state. But if you ever really thought about it, it doesn''t really make too much sense that Ford would commission a high-revving V6 for its family hauler. As it turns out, Ford had grander plans for the 220 horsepower Yamaha engine. In 1984, Ford brass green-lighted an all-new, mid engine sports car to compete with exotics from Europe. The car was being tested and engineered by Roush and Ford signed a contract with Yamaha to build the engine. By 1986, Ford had bigger priorities, and the GN34 project was shelved to make room for the first Ford Explorer. Judging from the Explorer's incredible success in the Nineties, we'd say that Ford made the right call.

With GN34 scuttled, Ford scrapped all but two of the mid engine prototypes (Jack Roush has both of the Pantera-influenced models in his private collection), but there was still the matter of a signed contract with Yamaha. Instead of putting the powerful 3.0L engine under the hood of the Mustang or Thunderbird, Ford made the decision to instead turn the Taurus into the sport sedan we know and love. It's hard to say if the GN34 would have ever become a hit, but few can deny the impact the SHO had on the automotive landscape.


[Source: Automobile]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The thing that amazes me about the new Taurus and SHO, is that it's a car I would actually consider getting, and can say that with a straight face. The new Taurus us such an improvement over the usual rank-and-file sleeping pills that Ford's been putting out over the past decade. I'm by no means a fanboy of any camp, but for the past several years I just can't bring myself to get excited over any of Ford's vehicles.

      It looks like a great car, I'll be interested to see how it does. I'm in the market for a reasonably priced 4 door sedan in the next couple years, and would normally just default to an accord, but I can actually say I'll be giving the Taurus a [serious] look. Interior looks good, exterior doesn't look cheap, decent fuel efficient engines. Nice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Edward Adams has it correct. This article is WRONG! As someone who actually worked on the GN34, I can help set the record straight. The GN34 was to be a Testarossa sized car with a North-South mid-engine powertrain. The early development mule at Roush that is pictured looks nothing like the production styling, which was done by Ghia in Italy.

      Our team struggled with the engine choice from the start, as Ford had nothing available that would do it justice. We didn't want to put in the pushrod 5.0L V8 from the Mustang - - too low tech. I personally visited Lotus and determined they were interested in building a new 4.0L DOHC V8 with Ford's EEC-IV controller. This would have been a natural for the GN34, with all of the past Ford-Lotus history! We pitched it to Lou Ross, Ford's NAAO VP at the time, but he insisted on a "Ford" engine.

      The 4.6L DOHC V8 was just being designed for the Mark VII, but would not be available in time for the 1990 GN34. The 3.0L SHO was already in development for the Taurus. We asked Yamaha how much they could increase the displacement, and they said 3.6L with 280 HP. So, we committed to the 3.6L SHO but packaged the 4.6L DOHC V8 to be used when it became available. The transaxle was basically the old ZF 5-speed as used in the Pantera, but with upgraded synchros. We were also working with Getrag in Germany on a N-S hi-torque automatic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish the 2010 SHO had a manual as an option.
      I need that third pedal to make my blood boil!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I see a little Fiero in the front too (Venturi as well but that car came afterwards I think).

      That engine sure looks pretty sitting midship :)

      Mule or not, god look at that interior. Ford has come a long way!
      Edward Adams
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The original SHO engine/auto trans fit the existing Taurus platform with minimum modification. It was only after the clubs and rags made such a fuss they came out with the manual. Although there were many that stated they would buy the SHO if it had a manual, very few stepped up (think of that every time you read someone in AB state "I'll be first to order one."). "

      No, the original SHO was planned with BOTH manual and automatic transmissions from the start. During development, it became clear that the automatic (called AXOD in those days) did not have the capacity to take the full output of the engine - and car performance was compromised when engine output was restricted, to the point that the car was introduced as a 5-speed M/T only. Because of this, the volume never met projections. The AXOD version did not see the light of day until the 1992 version (coupled with a 3.2L version of the engine).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Damn.

      I was just thinking yesterday, after reading the comments section on the previous SHO articles, where people were talking about the original V6 and V8 SHO engines...

      That man, those would be cool in a longitudinal mid-engined layout sports car, with a robust transaxle, and the engines tuned up to their potential...

      Now it appears Ford chickened out on that very concept, instead of making it for me...

      We need more real-world affordable mid-engined sports cars, for enthusiasts like me!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Like an updated version of the old MR2 Coupe! Around $25,000. Light weight, about 220HP... Mmmmm MMmm good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That new Taurus SHO looks very good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In my Opinion I would never ever buy this car no matter how could it looks, simply because of the name!! Sorry When I Think "Taurus" I think Ugly old lady car broke down on the side of the freeway... This is the eco car back in the 90's that every family drove and they were butt ugly and usually were trashed...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I semi-agree. I think this will be another "internet seller" just like the G8 is/was.

        I saw the G8 loved the idea, but didn't think it would be successful. I thought they should have refined the Bonneville and continued with it since it was a big seller. They could have competed with Avalon / Chrysler 300.

        The Taurus is a VERY large car now.

        300c - 196.8" length
        Avalon - 197.6" length

        Taurus - 201.8" (4inches longer!).

        AWD V6 Taurus is already 3,800 lbs. So I'm guessing with bracing, turbo etc could hit 4000lbs.

        Now in this day and age.. 4000 doesn't sound like that much compared to 4200lb SRT8 etc. But still this is not going to be the small "fun awd sports car".

        I would think of it as a great alternative to a G37x. Will be a little faster, little heavier, little bigger and probably the same price. If they can steal some of that (but I don't think the Ford name can) then they will be ok.

        Base AWD V6 Taurus - $29,300 / 25k after incentives. Thats without moonroof, floor mats.

        So SHO will really be in the Luxury category with pricing. Hard to justify a Taurus for mid 30's when you can get a G37x in the mid 30's and only give away 8-28hp.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The original SHO engine/auto trans fit the existing Taurus platform with minimum modification. It was only after the clubs and rags made such a fuss they came out with the manual. Although there were many that stated they would buy the SHO if it had a manual, very few stepped up (think of that every time you read someone in AB state "I'll be first to order one."). Because so few did the manual didn't sell. To contain the manual, Ford had to re-engineer the platform (read very expensive) and lost money on every one.

      Fast forward to the new Taurus. Who is this vehicle targeted against. Young couples with kids that have had their fling with the Fusion or Mustang and want to upgrade a little. It's not a vehicle the 20 something crowd is going to have much interest - and forget about the older set. The SHO is an attention getter for the guy with a young family that can't get the S4 (a bit too small for his new family anyway) or 335 he really wants. How it will sell at the price point is another matter. Time will tell. I hope it does well. And the old SHO, well insurance was dirt cheap, same as the regular Taurus.

      Of course it's not in the same league as Audi, but how many that have commented here about the comparison have driven both. Everyone says the Fusion handles very well so hopefully the Taurus will also; particularly with the firmed up suspension the SHO has. I suspect it will handle much better than people think. Although this thing is a GT (touring) car, it isn't meant to lap the Ring at 8:00. It's just meant to fill a place in the market that Ford thinks is there (I happen to believe it is also) - in addition to getting the customer in the showroom, perhaps buying a lower end Taurus or Fusion.

      I agree the engine would be better served in the Fusion, but also suspect Fusion's platform would have to be completely redone (at great expense BTW) in order for the engine/trans to fit. Ford can't afford that at the moment for a niche vehicle.

      This is a good move for Ford and with AWD a lot of the push of a FWD will be reduced.

      Yeah, it's priced a bit high, but don't forget this is a niche vehicle. It's not meant to, nor will it sell in large numbers.
      Edward Adams
      • 5 Years Ago
      My memory of SHO development is different. The SHO was originally planned for the Taurus, then planned for the GN34 as well. GN34 volume would never have been enough to support development of an engine as refined and different as the SHO. The article here has it backwards.

      The original plan was for Yamaha to develop twincam heads for the 3.0L Vulcan (the base Taurus V6 engine block). In technical meetings Yamaha told Ford the Vulcan block was not robust enough to take the output - which was proven by a prototype build which destroyed the bottom end....

      It was not well known at the time, but Yamaha had extensive experience building complete engines for Toyota (the Supra, as I remember). They were high quality products. Yamaha know its stuff. The SHO engine output had to be reduced to match transmission capacity.

      The GN34 business case could not be made; the outside assembly source was not likely to make the quality demanded by Ford, and its profitability was suspect.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Real SHOs will always have unique, Yamaha engines with wild intake manifolds.

      All others are just posers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It sounds creepy but I wouldn't mind being Jack Roush.
    • Load More Comments