• May 18, 2009
Ford Taurus SHO Prototype - Click above for high-res image gallery

So the story goes that back in the mid 1980s, Ford inked a deal with Yamaha for a V6 engine to be used in a Fiero competitor. The car went nowhere, but Ford found a place for the engine: Under the hood of the legendary 1989 Taurus SHO. Before the real car could happen, it had to be prototyped. The task of figuring out how to put a V6 carrying overhead-cam heads and the storied "bundle of snakes" intake manifold into an engine bay designed for the compact Vulcan V6 fell to two lucky guys, Mike Klein and Will Johnston. Holed up at Carron Industries, a working version of Yamaha's engine was installed in the engine bay. Mountings and wiring had to be fabricated, and an Escort 5-speed manual was bolted up. It was all tucked under a hood modified with a Mustang hood scoop, and after some shakedown cruising, the car was shipped back to Yamaha.

Pictures were forbidden, but when you're working on something that you just know is going to be groundbreaking, it's tough to fight that temptation. There's certainly no need for secrets any longer, and seeing the gestation of one of our all-time favorites is tantalizing. The engine was clearly not in its final form, with a Vulcan shortblock and an intake manifold that's lacking the crossover tube of the production version. There's also core plugs in the intake runners, indicating that the casting process was changed to get the smooth-looking tubes in the final version. A peek into the past at possibly the very first SHO ever, the car that proved the concept, is very cool. Thanks for the tip, Matt, and thanks to forum member Pyro for sharing his family album!



[Source: Sceamandfly.com, Photo: Pyro]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      That grille did make the sales materials in '86. Brown MT5 in the brochure. Don't know if any hit the street. Bought a Monte Carlo instead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thing of beauty that engine is, not like today's plastic covered, wires all over the place having, blah blah....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I always liked these cars, a friend's dad had one and riding to soccer practice was pretty cool... but "legendary 1989 Taurus SHO" made me laugh. Cool find nonetheless.
        • 5 Years Ago
        so i guess this actual car is still in Japan? (or recycled already?) anyhow the original Taurus were so ground breaking back in 1986.....can't really think of any car after the Taurus have the same ground breaking effect since then.......the closest i can think of is the current Honda Civic in term of ground breaking exterior and interior designs.

        sadly i don't think SHO will be a collector item no matter how you look at it......recent check on local used car market, a 1993 SHO go for $400 as it........ ;-(
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have a 93 Maxima SE 5-spd, a close runner up to this car as far as FWD sport sedans go, and I will always have mad respect for the SHO.

        Those of you who have them should be proud; they're classics for sure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was going to say, it seems like our memories of the SHO maybe a little faded.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That grill reminds me of the robocop taurus! They also used to provide this grille in the SHO model kits from the late 80's! ah memories.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That looks like a preproduction version of the Taurus Police Package grille. Same idea, but split in the middle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nah...the MT5 got a solid grille. The PoPo Package had the grille slits. In either case, this isn't a production grille.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So technically, SHO is a Japanese sports car. hahaha
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Ford had kept updating the Taurus instead of remaining stagnant perhaps it would still be the best selling car in the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah Autoblog, your unrestricted love for the Taurus SHO is adorable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pte. xxxxxxx;

      "I am going to have the duty NCO go through your room with intent, and if a camera is found, you will go strait to fxxxxxx jail."

      "What picture sir?"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know why I remember this, but when my Dad bought an '86 Taurus wagon, the sales brochure showed that black slotted grill on the base L models. The salesman said that they decided right before production started that all the models would have the body color solid grill.

      And now you know.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uh, the early Taurus (Tauren?) until 2007 look all boring as hell. Even a 1992-1997 Crown Vic looked better than the Taurus did.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ chineyz954 and Lonewuf - You both obviously don't have a clue what you are talking about. Go look at pictures of all of the OEM's mid-size vehicles from 1986 when the Taurus first came out. The Taurus stood out, both in exterior and interior design as daring and far ahead of everything else out there.

        Or was the reason that the Taurus was the best selling car in the US year after year shortly after introduction until the 1995 model because clearly everyone who bought them was nowhere near as intelligent and insightful as either of you two pathetic trolls?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The first Taurus is legendary and whenever there's a top ten list of the mot influential vehicles of all time, or something similar, the Taurus is usually on it. BECAUSE of its styling which was revoltuionary in its day. It also got a starring role in Robocop which you two must be too young to remember.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yawn
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1

        The most interesting part of the article was the mention of a Fiero fighter with a DOHC V6.

        I guess Ford let Acura beat them to the punch.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Ahhh...I long for the days of a *real* Taurus SHO...not today's fake imitation...
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