• Apr 26, 2010
1994 Mercury Sable AIV – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in 1994, Ford produced a series of experimental Mercury Sables with all-aluminum bodies. About 20 were made, a few of which were even powered by the aluminum 3.2-liter Yamaha V6 from the automatic-equipped Taurus SHO of the time. Laden down with high-performance hardware, the aluminum-bodied Sable AIV, which stands for Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle, was some 360 pounds lighter than a steel-bodied SHO and 91 pounds lighter than a 1994 Mercury Sable (with a much less powerful Vulcan V6, mind you). It was also more fuel efficient despite being tuned for performance.

Having largely been developed and tested in Canada, the Sable AIV isn't known to many Americans (despite one being campaigned in the 1995 One Lap of America and finishing a respectable 15th), but those who troll SHOforum.com were recently given a history lesson when a Canadian forum member stumbled across a pristine example sitting in the parking lot of Ford's Canadian headquarters. Fortunately, this crafty Canadian SHO-fan eventually made contact with someone at Ford who confirmed the parked AIV was indeed the real deal. Unfortunately, this Ford contact also confirmed what most SHOforum.com members already feared: Unable to be registered as a road-going vehicle, this AIV will likely be destroyed.

An aluminum-bodied SHO (even if it looks like a Sable) ranks right up there with a SHO Wagon as the ultimate unobtainable prize for any SHO fan. For one, it completely fixes one of the original SHO's major shortcomings: rust. Thanks to aluminum's natural corrosion resistance, this particular example looks SHO-room (hahaha) fresh despite being 16 years old. Plus, these Sable AIVs were said to go like stink thanks to their 360-pound weight loss.

The last thing Autoblog wants to see is such a unique piece of automotive history sent to the crusher, especially me, what with a 1991 Taurus SHO Plus sleeping quietly in the garage. Hopefully Ford decides against euthanasia for this 16-years-young cousin of the SHO and makes some space for it in the Henry Ford Museum (or even a dark warehouse). If neither of those solutions will work, I have a two-car garage.



[Source: SHOforum.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't understand why it can't be registered. If the show top gear can make their own electric hybrid, with the only thing that wasn't garbage on it being the chassis, then why can't this thing get on the road. If only in the UK then.

      I think ford are lying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet Conan would buy it (if it was for sale). He seems to love all things SHO.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pretty sure Bondurant used SHOs. At least from the pictures I remember seeing.

      I remember reading about the AL bodies in one of the auto rags. Had a picture of two engineers holding the body between them. Also, one of the guys on the old SHOtimes distribution list (you know, prior to forums) was involved in the AIV project and had one saved from the crusher. Wonder if this was it. Can't remember the guy's name off-hand.

      Talk about an even better sleeper than an SHO. Sable has "Grandma's car" written all over it. Even better than an old debadged 5.0 Mustang LX.

      By the way, looks like a motor mount let loose at one point. That's typically what the shiny spot on the front intake manifold came from. Had to replace the one on mine and that was a chore. My technician welded a piece in to the replacement so it wouldn't ever let loose again! :)

      I agree. I certainly wouldn't need it registered for street use. Love to see it preserved. Preferably in my garage.
      • 4 Years Ago
      220 HP in a 3000 pound car would be nice, but not exceptional these days.

      I agree that it should be placed in a museum.
        • 4 Years Ago
        At the time though, that would have been amazing.

        In 1994, all the bad-@$$ high school kids were driving 5.0 Mustang GTs with 215 hp. Heck, the quarterback on our HS football team had a booster-supplied E36 M3, and it had a mere 240 hp...

      • 4 Years Ago
      track car!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Peterson museum would be a nice place for it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the words of Darth Vader, DO NOT WANT! (For those of you who don't get it, it doesn't mean that I don't like it; on the contrary, it is a poor translation of his scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!")
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I remember correctly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison FutureCar (which became the FutureTruck) team received an AIV from Ford (as well as a compact Euro diesel to create a diesel hybrid).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Back in 1995 I lived in the South Lyon/New Hudson area of Michigan and a Ford Engineer who'd live there had a Taurus SHO AIV . I used love following the car until my workplace would show up. 1 time I was at a gas station in Novi, he pulled in with it, I quickly walked over and politly looked inside. It was a stick / manual and he told me it hustled real good !
      • 4 Years Ago
      Paging Leno.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw this car, and talked to the driver about 15 years ago. In high school I worked at one of the service centers along the 401. This car had been shown in an issue of Motor Trend or Car and Driver so I recognized it when it pulled in to the station. I asked the guy about it and he said it was fast. He said he worked for Alcan which had provided the Aluminum to Ford for the vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If Ford was going to crush it, wouldn't they have done it already? Why wait 16+ years?
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