The Taurus SHO is the fastest, most expensive Ford sedan | Revelations with Jason Cammisa | Ep. 08



With a development budget of $3.5 billion, the Taurus was Ford’s most expensive project ever. It was also a Hail Mary for the company, which was in financial trouble.

And the SHO was the fastest version of the Taurus.

If the Taurus failed, so, too would Ford. It was so important to the success of the company that Ford restructured the engineering and design teams to work together on the new family sedan.

The Taurus’s design was so revolutionary that Ford kept its previous mid-size sedan, the LTD, in production at the same time, just in the new car failed — as the other American car executives predicted it would.

Instead, Taurus was an enormous success, eventually becoming the bestselling car in America. The performance version, the Taurus SHO, used the same basic 3.0-liter Vulcan V-6, but instead of pushrods, it used four overhead cams and 24 valves. The DOHC 4-valve heads were designed, manufactured, and assembled by Yamaha in Japan.

The SHO used a Mazda-sourced 5-speed manual and was the most powerful front-wheel drive sedan in the world. The only four-doors quicker or faster in America were the BMW M5 (E34) and 750iL. It was a performance bargain.

But although Ford sold around 400,000 Tauruses per year, it didn’t come close to its target of 20,000 SHOs annually. Except for the first year with the new, optional automatic transmission and larger 3.2-liter SHOgun engine.

Why didn’t the SHO sell? Well, because it looked like a Taurus — then, the de rigueur family sedan for the person who didn’t care about performance.

So the SHO was a victim of the Taurus’ success.

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41 Comments

  1. You sleep on the newer sho but it still does the same thing the old one does. Smacks around BMW’s and with tune is faster then a 6.4 scat pact with 2X the engine. Yea it’s not like the older one but it’s not something to forget

  2. It's so strange that Ford US did NOT join forces with Ford Europe at this time.
    The europeans worked at the "Scorpio", at the same time. And the Car looked quite similar. Google for it.

    BUT: It was rear wheel drive, available with a lot of different engines, including a 2.9L 24V performance V6.
    The Scorpio was roomy, had precise handling, good brakes and a similar design. But it was a completely different car. So Ford threw a lot of money out of the window…

    Funfact: It was sold in the US as the "Merkur Scorpio" for a short period of time.

  3. The Taurus also had those cool slant cut on the rear doors that many car companies have using for the past 20 plus years, take a look at the 97 Mercedes E class rear doors. Ford did it 8 years earlier.

  4. @Hagerty –
    YES , FORD pulled an (1990s) AUDI -> "Vorsprung durch Technik" & a modern more advanced design (that is even nearly timeless , like 1990s Audi) & far less wiredness + far more user freindlyness than the typical USA-car

  5. Tom Morana racing reved the original SHO engine out to 10,000rpm stock, they did it just for testing purpose and by their own account was making around 70hp that high but it could do it

  6. I remember these when I was young. Taurus were everywhere, but the SHO was very rare. They were quite a lot more expensive than the regular Taurus so only enthusiasts would by them.

  7. there is one local to me. i spotted it outside of a car and coffee! park alone on the side of the road! i was soo happy to see one i went directly to it! took pic of it and then my coworker was like why? i was suprise he didn't even know why that old taurus was special! and the worst he knew the owner! i might be able to buy it but its not really to best timing for me to buy another car! 😆

  8. Can you please do a video like this on the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited? It’s definitely a historic Jeep Icon and is kinda the grandfather of what started the SRT-8 Grand Cherokee.

  9. Jason I did not know that the 4th/Last Gen Taurus was based on a SUV platform. So that's the reason I never cottoned to the last Ford Taurus SHO. It's proportions looked weird, it had very little interior space, front seats had as much room as an old Gemini space capsule from the 1960's and I was never a fan of that high above the shoulder window design. Even though It would seem that on paper that an AWD twin turbo V6 sedan would be the second coming of the American Family Muscle Car/Sports Sedan ala Impala SS, Mercury Marauder, Dodge Charger, etc. .

  10. I remember the first time I saw a Taurus. I was on the school bus and stood up and shouted, “that looks like a car from the future!!!”

  11. FYI: Just the steering wheel from a Porsche 928 (and other models) had the same amount of man-hours in it that an entire Ford Taurus had. That being 13 hours in total.

  12. My father in law had a 1st generation and a second generation, both manuals. Second one had custom exhaust. Both very fast for the time

  13. My parents owned a couple of Taurus and my wife’s company leased thousands for sales reps.

    Ok.. I have to say they were very good for the price and for the time.

    Now, it needed improvements in quality of materials and the production line definitely had some drug using workers.

    In 1995 my wife Conpany gave her a new Taurus. After 9,000 miles and three months in the shop it was lemon lawed. The next Taurus made it to 6500 miles before being lemon lawed. Finally she receive a new model version of the Taurus with the round rear window. It was a 1996. That car made it to 42000 miles when it was turned in for a 1997 Ford Explorer. She never went back to a car after that.

    What interesting is how very reliable some Taurus’s have been.

    My parents last Taurus was a Mercury Sable. It had the performance engine and the coolest digital dash. The interior was leather and very quite. I really enjoyed the car.

  14. I was enjoying your videos for a while, and then I realized half of them were just you bitching about the government. If I want that, I can just watch Joe Rogan. Focus.

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