Ford hints at 400-HP Taurus SHO and more during annual convention

2010 Ford Taurus SHO Convention highlights – Click above for high-res image gallery

Blue Oval execs rolled out the red carpet for Taurus SHO owners last week in Dearborn, MI to welcome 100 privately owned examples and many more enthusiasts to town for the 19th annual national Taurus SHO convention. Ford would love nothing more than to win the approval of the already rabid SHO enthusiast community, many of whom appreciate the performance potential of two turbos and all-wheel drive but aren't necessarily on board with the new super-sized model. To that end, Ford dropped some not-so-subtle hints on what could be in store for the next SHO, a model rumored to be on deck for 2013.

"365 horsepower is good. 400 is better."
"The SHO is at the top [of Ford's performance sedan lineup] and we're going to keep it there," said Steve Ling, Ford's North American car marketing manager during a Tuesday lunch presentation at Ford World Headquarters. "365 horsepower is good. 400 is better."

Advanced Engine Design and Development Engineer Brett Hinds spoke at length about the EcoBoost V6 during the Tuesday presentation, noting that the 3.5-liter engine had the potential for considerably more power, as we'll likely see later this year between the fenders of the F-150. That version of the EcoBoost will definitely produce more torque than the SHO's mill, but if the rumors of 400 horsepower for the F-150 are true, a more muscular SHO could indeed be just around the corner.

Photos by Christopher Smith / Copyright ©2010 AOL

Ford's new Taurus-based Police Interceptor with its upgraded brakes and suspension may also play a role in future SHO development, likely as parts or packages available for purchase from Ford.

"Those considering aftermarket upgrades will want to look at the Interceptor," said Hinds. "The police package for brakes and suspension is just a little bit better."

Taurus SHO Chief Engineer Mike Celentino echoed those sentiments during his presentation to SHO enthusiasts at their convention banquet, noting the company was definitely paying close attention to the SHO faithful and their concerns about the new car.

"We will continue to push the performance of the vehicle, and you will see more performance ... going forward," said Celentino.

Celentino took it a bit further, specifically addressing the near universal consensus that the SHO's stock brakes are barely a notch above craptastic.

"We're listening," he said. "Brakes will be better."

Taurus Exterior Design Manager Earl Lucas took on the critics of the EcoSHO's understated styling during a 10-minute presentation at the Thursday banquet, proclaiming the future SHO would be lower, wider, less bulky, and sport less chrome for a more monochromatic look. To set it apart from the rest of the Taurus line, additional SHO-specific parts will be utilized, including wheels and possibly front/rear fascias. If some of the presentation photos offered by Lucas are true to concept, expect a Fusion-esque grille and fascia, with a sporting stance akin to the defunct Pontiac G8 GXP.

"We'll have more power, more aggressive styling, more excitement," said Lucas.

Ford's efforts during the convention did not go unnoticed by the attending enthusiasts. Aside from the informative presentations and spiffy prizes, many SHO enthusiasts enjoyed quality time with a plethora of Ford brass, including Edsel Ford II, who toured the field of SHOs parked outside world headquarters on Tuesday. The company also trumpeted a pair of 2011 SHOs for attendees to examine close up, and though Ford clearly wanted to emphasize its current super sedan, strings were pulled to bring in the 1994 AIV all-aluminum Sable-SHO found in Canada earlier this year (above). We'd like to say our coverage of this rare machine helped make this happen, but regardless of the reasons, we're just glad to see it alive and kicking.

The established Taurus SHO faithful still overwhelmingly favor their high-revving V-6 sedans, though a handful of 2010 cars and owners were welcomed for this, their inaugural enthusiast outing. Should the various hints, suggestions, innuendos and winks offered by the attending Ford team members hold true, we definitely expect to see more whoosh at future events. In the meantime, it's refreshing to see a company as large as Ford making a legitimate effort to win the hearts of a small but dedicated enthusiast base.

Photos by Christopher Smith / Copyright ©2010 AOL

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