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.