By on October 10, 2012

The Ford Taurus has been among the most numerous of junkyard inmates for nearly 20 years now, and a sprinkling of Yamaha-engined SHO versions show up among the bread-and-butter commuter Taurii. However, the third-gen Taurus SHO, with its 235-horse V8, is much rarer than the earlier V6 SHOs; in fact, this weirdly purple car I found in Denver is the first V8 SHO I’ve seen in the junkyard for at least a few years.
The 1989-95 Taurus SHO was very quick, if fragile; we’ve even seen several SHOs win 24 Hours of LeMons races over the years. The V8 SHO was also quick, but engine problems fed most of these cars to The Crusher a long time ago. On top of that, you couldn’t get this car with a manual transmission, presumably because Ford didn’t have a non-slushbox transaxle that could survive behind the Cosworth/Yamaha V8.
Sure, it blew up early and often, but just look at that engine!
Ford took a big gamble with the oval-centric restyling of the 1996 Taurus, and it didn’t really pay off; it wasn’t long before the Taurus got the rectangular back window of the Sable and went through a general appearance de-radicalization program.
Should we miss the odd vehicle colors of the early-to-middle 1990s?

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88 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1996 Ford Taurus SHO...”


  • avatar
    Toad

    I’ll bet changing the spark plugs on the rear cylinder bank was fun.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s actually not as bad as you think. Underneath the engine over and funky intake, the 3.4 is a pretty small engine and the plugs can be had through the top.

    • 0 avatar
      Rutlefan1

      Changing the rear plugs or coils wasn’t too bad once you’d been back there once. Wouldn’t trust a dealer to do it though; I heard more than one story of someone being charged for both banks only to find only the front had been done.

  • avatar
    raph

    Tru’dat – I bet if anybody had one long enough to require plug replacement and took it into the dealer only the front four got replaced, they were charged for eight and if it had a miss due to worn out back side plugs – “that is normal for these high mileage SHO V8s”.

    IMO the SHO V6 was a better looking engine.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Ford design team, set protractors to oval and get with it!

  • avatar

    Is someone who rented tons of these back when Ford owned Hertz, I have to add that the “appearance de-radicalization program” also led to weight-gain, MPG loss, and a wider turning radius.

    Round-window Taurii were nicer to drive than the later ones.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    My aunt had a black/grey one of these with chrome wheels. I remember thinking it was so cool. That 3.4 V8 is such an odd bird. I believe it was developed from the Countour/Mystique/Mondeo 2.5 V6. Hers was bought back under the lemon law after about a year and a half because of MULTIPLE cam failures – the big problem with these engines.

    Also, a note about that color. Ford and Mazda used that right through 2009 on the Mustang, Mazda6, and first-gen Fusion. I’ve been in about 6 quadrillion thusly painted rental cars. Always hated the color…

    FWIW she went with a Camry V6 after the SHO, but then switched back to Ford with a Gen I Fusion 4 cylinder. She now has a ’10 Fusion 4 cylinder. No problems with any of the cars after the Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The cams had the sprockets pressed on and they often shifted, causing the valves to hit the pistons. Welding the sprockets took care of that issue.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      This color was called Rose Mist. It went away around 1997 or 1998.

      Yes, it was odd, but I liked the fact that there was COLOR options back then!

      • 0 avatar
        Rutlefan1

        I think you’re right in that this is a Rose Mist, though people often confuse it with the more common Charcoal Gray (aka “Barney Purple”). I had a ’96 in the gray and it looked fantastic, whereas the Rose Mist looked strange, IMO.

        Both the Rose Mist and the Charcoal Gray were offered ’96 only. Medium Willow Green also. Loved MWG.

    • 0 avatar
      autojim

      The engine had nothing in common with the Duratec V6, actually. IIRC, they did wind up with a 90deg bank angle after going back and forth about 60deg or 90deg — the 60deg would have required offset crank pins to get an even firing order in a V8.

      I was working at Ford Engine Division during the time this one was developed. A lot of innovative ideas early in the program didn’t make prime time, primarily for cost. Getting details out of the Yamaha guys was… interesting, too. The clamped-by-bolt cam pulley is typical Yamaha — Ford SOHC and DOHC engines were typically keyed.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    A dent in the front fender, a small rip in the driver’s seat; but otherwise looks clean and well maintained inside and out; look how clean that engine compartment is. Wonder what finally did it in.

    EDIT: You can weld re-enforce the cams; not a big deal if you know to do it.

    Has anyone figured out where all the Camcords they sold at the same time went? I sure don’t see them on the road; though it may be my selective vision.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      Up here in the rust belt I’ve seen Camcords in the pick-n-pull lots. Lots more Camry than Accord, but that probably is due to volume sold. Also see more late 90′s into 00′s Camry than the older ones. Assume those older ones are already picked clean?

      Toyota is running some ridiculous ad that says something like 95% of all Camry made in the last 15 years are still on the road. Maybe, but I doubt there are many 1997 model Camry, Accord or Taurus still doing daily duty.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        “Maybe, but I doubt there are many 1997 model Camry, Accord or Taurus still doing daily duty.”

        Presently putting 140 miles a day, 700 miles a week on the “Blue Goose”; my 1995 Ford Taurus GL wagon. The saga of it’s purchase by my parents, surviving the full brute of Hurricane Rita only to die at our new home, rebirth, death again, four years of the scrapper calling it’s name while Mom and Dad passed away, and it’s rebirth is a story in itself.

        Remembering the Audi 5000s and the Taurus when they first came out, and the “Blue Goose” are the reason why I am a Taurus Fanboy. On my commute, I still see roughly a couple dozen Taurus a day; only seen a handful of Gen 1s; an occassional Gen 2 like mine, and quite a few Gen 3s like this and Gen 4s. The current generation of Taurus are showing up in even increasing numbers as auto sales pick up.

      • 0 avatar
        jeoff

        I think that they are on the road after being exported to 3rd world countries.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ……Toyota is running some ridiculous ad that says something like 95% of all Camry made in the last 15 years are still on the road….

        A pretty easy feat when you realize something. If sales of the car grew significantly as the years went by, you are averaging in a lot of newer model years in with those older models. That, coupled with the fact that the Camry is reliable to begin with, makes such a claim easy to obtain. As is always the case, you can manipulate anything you want to produce the outcome you would like to see.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        Thinking nostalgically I was a huge fanboy of the SHO, especially the ’92-’95 model. Fit and finish it may not have been a Camcord, but damn that thing was fast for the time and it had a 5 speed. If I could get one in decent shape I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Too bad they all got hooned out.

        I do still see quite a few Taurii on the road. All hooptied out usually. I drove a 1990 model past 200k miles and driven with care would guess that most Taurus models could live just as long as their Camcord counterparts…and I’m a current Accord driver.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    For all the ultra-modern oval swoopiness, Ford still used those stupid pushpin locks at the back of the door panel. Even on the SHO.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I think the wagon versions of the Oval Taurus/Sable were one of the better looking wagons to grace our roads. The theme just worked better to my eyes on the long sides of the wagon.

    They didn’t drive bad, but the coarse Vulcan V6 and the ungodly slow shifting of the slushbox made the car feel old and tired, even before 30k rental miles had happened. The Duratec cars must have been better.

    I do kind of miss the odd color choices. I worked for Enterprise during these years and we had a Taurus wagon in the reddish-purple Ford offered. One lady remarked “That car looks like a spaceship”

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I am biased towards the 1985-95 wagons (I still own a 1995 Taurus GL wagon); but yes, the wagon versions of the oval Taurus/Sable were really neat. According to the book “Car – A drama of the American Workplace”; Ford was going to retain the wagon body of the previous generation, but just put the new nose on it; until someone saw the clay and remarked that it looked like an appliance. The production wagon was quickly designed to replace it.

      It could be said that Ford came out with the CUV ten years too early. The 1997 Taurus Santa Fe and Mercury L’Attitude concept cars incorporated many of the features found in today’s CUVs; the Mercury L’Attitude even had a portable Apple Newton global positioning system navigational unit housed in the front console. It offered a map display, directional guidance, a telephone dialing device and mobile office capabilities; a forerunner of today’s infotainment systems.

      Taurus Santa Fe:
      http://www.ford-taurus.org/taurusinfo/Concepts/SantaFe.php

      1997 Mercury L’Attitude
      http://www.ford-taurus.org/taurusinfo/Concepts/Lattitude.php

      • 0 avatar
        econobiker

        Ford out Subaru’ed Subaru with that Santa Fe concept.

      • 0 avatar
        sckid213

        Funny how much the first-gen HYUNDAI Santa Fe looked like this Taurus-based concept Santa Fe.

        The L’Attitude version looks much better. I remember seeing the concept in the car mags at the time. I always thought L’Attitude was a clever name and should have made it onto a production vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The Santa Fe indeed reminds me of a Subaru; the L’Attitude a more refined car like an Audi Quattro. The Santa Fe looks like my dream rally car; but notice it has the same Yamaha V-8 as the SHO; I somewhat doubt it would have held up well in truely spirited off-road driving.

      • 0 avatar
        ReturnofSAM

        Thanks for the link. Wow, Ford decontented the hell out of these right after introducing them in 1996. Thinking back to my parents’ ’96 Sable, it was really a well equipped car for today’s standards. Courtesy lights everywhere, damped gloved box and cup holders, chrome dual exhaust tips, four wheel disc brakes. It really was ahead of it’s time. The whacky ICP is now everywhere. Bucket seats are all you can get these days.

        • 0 avatar
          Rutlefan1

          I was working in the auto industry when the 3rd gen Taurus came out. I was amazed at what they had put into it, esp the SHO. I was also amazed at how quickly they started stripping stuff away once they realized they weren’t going to hit the sales they’d hoped for.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        @ReturnofSAM; the same book I mentioned describes how the design team for the 1996 Taurus/Sable set out to out-do the Camery in luxury and quality, and then had to raise the list price accordingly. But, by the time the new Taurus/Sable came to market, people were revolting against high new car prices; and Toyota had already begun to decontent the Camery. Ford had no choice but to quickly do the same; their zigging when they should have zagged also hurt Taurus/Sable sales, along with the oval stlying (which I think was also ahead of it’s time), and caused the Taurus to fall from the top of it’s class in sales; never to recover.

        Frankly, I enjoy the blue interior, Lazy Boy bench seats, and courtesy lights everywhere in my older Taurus. A new radio brings it up where it works with my iPhone. Parts are cheap; help is plentiful. I hope I can continue driving it for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      bkmurph

      I have to disagree; I dislike the oval-themed wagons even more than the oval sedans. The C-pillar looks terrible because the edges of the windows aren’t corresponding shapes. The forward and rearward edges of the C-pillar aren’t remotely parallel. And then the bottom edge of the rearmost side windows doesn’t follow the sweep of the beltline. These window-blobs are so disjointed.

  • avatar
    rubix560

    I always hated these

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As the owner of a ’92 SHO (the real SHO!) for 10 years, I always thought that this car spoke volumes about Ford. Compared to the original, this car was slower, took longer to stop, didn’t handle as well and used more fuel. This is progress, Ford?

    And, with minimal, bolt-on modifications (exhaust, induction, cross-over pipe), the Yamaha V-6 was good for 240 hp. And, IIRC, the spark plugs were centrally located between the valves, so changing the rear bank was not a big deal.

    AFAIC, the car in the photo was junk the day it rolled off the production line.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I test drove a 1997, and while I was impressed by how well a large FWD car could handle, I couldn’t get over how UNREFINED the Yahama V8 was. It was thrashy like an agricultural tractor, and hated to rev as much as a Vulcan V6 or the Lincoln 4.0L V8.

      The nerve of the marketing team to call this a “gentlemen’s express”.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Whoever was in the Town Car next to it when it crashed, must have ended up in a world of hurt (assuming they survived).

    As to this vehicle’s color…boy, talk about instantaneous depreciation. Hideous…

  • avatar
    rpol35

    An education for me today….I thought all SHO’s were V8′s, I didn’t realize only the ’96′s to ’99′s were.

    I was surprised at first to read about this one in the boneyard as I thought these were held in pretty high esteem though I admit I’m not completely up on what’s hot and what’s not in Ford world.

    I think I have seen only two or three of this generation of SHO Taurus motoring about; nevertheless, it is one UGLY car (and the color doesn’t help).

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      The ’96-’99 SHO’s were contraversial not for their looks (it was a given that the car would always look like a Taurus and its Ovid hulabaloo). It was the Yamaha V8, which many purists felt was against the original genesis of the SHO. It was also the first time the SVT crew was not a part of the planning/execution. But most importantly, and unforgivable, was this was the SHO with an Automatic; worse, it was a standard 4 spd slushbox. The Automotive rags (and the first autoblogs)crucified Ford on this point, ending their love-affair with the SHO.

      Ironically, the SVT skunkworks were busy creating the ’98-’00 Contour SVT. With it’s lovely, musical, high-revving and more importantly reliable 2.5L HO V6, Ford racing suspension, and slick, smart shifting 5 spd manual, the SVT Contour was everything the original SHO was. Having owned one and driven it all through Europe, it was an outstanding American tourer.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    183K out of a somewhat trouble-prone design?

    I’m sure that was a labor of love.

  • avatar
    galloping_gael

    I had a 99 SE wagon with the Duratec. Very functional design – could seat eight using the bucket/bench combo front seat (has to be seen to be believed). The build quality and Ford service, however, were terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      My wife had several people approach her in awe as they watched eight people climb out of our ’97 Taurus wagon.

      We have fond memories of this car, but I sold it not long after we got it because I was scared it was going to fall apart soon. We loved the design, the handling, and the confort, and prefer it to the next, less-ovoid generation.

      And the wagon did look far better than the droopy-looking sedan.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    My sister had a 1996 Taurus (not an SHO just a plain GL) in that ugly purple. 96 were easy to spot because for 97 the Taurus went to all red tail lights. She bought it 2 years old pretty cheap, it was a former fleet car with about 50k on it. The transmission started slipping a few thousand miles after she got it. The dealer said it needed rebuilt to the tune of almost $3k. She declined and kept driving it. The car had 120k by the time she got rid of it and was still slipping! I think she got $500 for it in 2002. My sister got a 2000 Taurus in traditional silver to replace it, also a fleet car with about 50k. She drove it with no issues until about 2008 when it got in an accident. The car was also quite rough because it had been vandalized. I think she got $600 for it when she finally traded it in for a new VW Rabbit. I am pretty sure both of those cars are in the junk yard by now. My sister was rough on cars so they did quite well even though the Taurus was a POS by then. I drove a 1996 Honda Accord at the same time. Back then I wouldnt touch an American car. Now Hondas are lame and I drive a Jeep. How times have changed!

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      The tail lamps didn’t actually switch until MY1998.

      The easiest way to tell the ’96 models is to look at the screw heads on the side reflectors. The ’96 used painted screws color-matched to the reflectors; those were changed to chrome pretty quickly for cost reasons.

      That said, I’m not sure whether that was a midyear change or a change for 1997. This car claims to be a ’96, but appears to have the chrome screws…

      • 0 avatar
        supremebrougham

        You can tell that this car is a 1996 because the numbers in the odometer are thin. The numbers for mechanical Ford odometers from 1997-up have a fatter look to them.

        All 1996 Taurus models had the Taurus script on the back of the car done in a black pearl look, and the 1997′s switched to chrome. In 1998 they lost the amber turn signal lenses and of course the front grille was redesigned. In 1999 the gauge cluster got silver highlights. The 1999 wagons also got black plastic trim around the rear license plate.

        As I mentioned in an earlier post, this color is called Rose Mist. During the mid-1990′s Ford had a thing for iridescent colors, and this was one of them. I’ve actually seen a few Explorers and Town Cars in this shade, and well…they actually looked kinda nice!

      • 0 avatar
        Rutlefan1

        That’s right about Rose Mist being only ’96, as was Charcoal Gray and Medium Willow Green. I loved Charcoal Gray and MWG. Another easy way to spot a ’96 is the lack of a V8 badge; ’97 and on had them.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      We called that color blurple. These cars in varying shades of yuck were bought up by the dozen here and stockpiled by the buy here pay here lots for tax season. They do your taxes and use it as a down payment and send you on your way with your fleet queen they seemed to last about 5 years after that, as here in the rust belt they are getting hard to find.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    What a color, gross. These cars were actually pretty interesting, inspite of not being particularly good performers. The V8 sounded pretty cool, and if you had the cam sprockets welded to the shafts, they would last a long time.

    A customer of mine from the body shop days (also a friend of my dad) inherited his brother’s super clean (but high mileage) ’98 in silver. He had the transmission rebuilt when it started slipping at 200k miles and we promptly welded the cam sprockets afterwards. It now has 250k miles on it and I see it from time to time for maintenance. It’s acutally a nice drive. Some flowmasters or similar obnoxious muffler would make it a ton of fun, if only for the bark without the bite.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    My eyes hurt.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I remember my parents each owning a Taurus (one a Sable), the Sable had its structure twisted by sliding into a ditch in the winter, and soon its transmission broke. It was a decent car though in the end.

    The Taurus didn’t last long at all though, it lightly hit a curb which ruined the transmission, drive axle, and it set off the air bag.

    I remember these being alright cars but a bit cramped in the back seat in terms of headroom and legroom, but they sure were delicate.
    The Sable looked alright but the Taurus was just strange.

    I can’t speak for the V8 model, but a V8 in an FF with no limited-slip sounds like a good way to roast tires.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Color is “Rose Mist Metallic.” 180K+ miles probably required a rebuild of the AX4N transaxle, and either the cams were pinned or welded so they didn’t slip their factory press-fits. AFAIK, the class-action lawsuit the V8 SHO owners had against Ford for the faulty design was since dropped.

    These cars with a good exhaust sound ridiculously good. I’m more partial to my departed 1995 V6 above 4K RPM, but a V8 SHO definitely sounds the part.

  • avatar
    Kaosaur

    A friend of mine bought a single-owner black ’98 SHO off a guy in Indiana last year for $1000. It still had under 100k miles and ran great. He reinforced the cams (the weld job another poster mentioned above) and did another $1000 worth of necessary repairs and now has an _AWESOME_ car.

    It’s really fun…it’s just a cop-magnet because it’s loud (he’s really unlucky with that kind of heat). Once that small bit of work is done, it’s actually a fairly reliable car.

    I see these all the time for cheap online now and I feel like if the engine is still good, you can’t really go wrong buying one.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    One day my brother found a Ford green on Grey leather sho for sale in the paper for a crazy low price
    So we went and checked it out ate some donuts and drank their coffee. They said it was the dealers wives car or some shit, after going back and forth all afternoon we got it for a steal. We hooned that bitch up and down the freeway for a couple months. It developed a strange electrical issue and we took it to our domestic mechanic who after he got finished making fun of us for driving a Fwd v8 Taurus sedan, showed us on the lift that the car was made up of several different taurii. It came from Missouri or some other state where title washing was easy. So we hooned it for a couple more months and sold it to another dealer for more then was paid, and went out and bought a 68 fc econoline flower delivery vehicle from Vail ail Colorado and a k5 blazer 4×4. With a lift and 35 inch mudders.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I actually wanted one of these, I liked the lines, the subtle things they did for the SHO model REALLY made an awkward design look good. The rear boomerang spoiler though was awful.

    There’s still a lot of angry Ford customers that bought this car. Apparently the cam had to be welded to a gear sprocket in order to avoid engine failure? Instead of fixing the problem, Ford basically just took their chances in court one on one since it was a low volume car, and the design defect wasn’t injuring people and usually lasted past the factory warranty.

    What killed this car though in my opinion was that despite the V8 motor, it was only something like 30 hp difference between it and the V6 version for around an $8k premium.

  • avatar
    Neb

    That’s one hideous color. Back in the day, I always had contempt for the V8 SHO, basically because I knew the older ones had a stick. That the engine was unreliable, too, doesn’t surprise me.

  • avatar
    rpm773

    If a car can look futuristically dystopic and dated at the same time, the 1996 Ford Taurus is it.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    The first SHO’s were impressive. By the time this toad rolled out of the factory times had changed. The performance was barely better than 3800 GM’s, Intrepids, or the panthers. That’s kind of what you would have cross shopped these with.

    The cams were “smushed” onto the sprockets because..? I can’t imagine that would be cheaper than using bolts. Dumb idea.

    I feel the styling might have sorta worked if not for the rear of the car. Reminds me of the bustle-back Seville.

    At least we got a nice book out of it.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    We had a ’97 SHO (plus one ’89 and two ’90s), which we loved, and to this day, both my wife and daughter are upset with me for trading it on an SVT Contour.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    “…Ford didn’t have a… transaxle that could survive behind the Cosworth/Yamaha V8.”

    There, that’s more like it. ;-) Though, to be fair, the AX4N wasn’t nearly as bad as its predecessors.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I had always thought it was such piss-poor excuse that Ford made for the Yamaha V8. It wasn’t the transaxle that was the issue, it was the fact that the engineers were forced to use the 4 spd autobox by the Board to save on costs. It was widely presumed at Ford at the time that the Taurus should be marketed towards women (note for example the deep door-pulls inside the car, specifically designed for hands with long fingernails) and none of the design would have a manual gearbox.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    Had one of these (’96 or ’97?),not in this color, for a company car for a while. (Worked for Ford). I can still remember driveng 140 mph across the desert. No exageration on that speed! Crazy thing is it was still accelerating when I let off. This car really was a great handling muscle car with understated styling (some might say, no styling)for it’s time.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Always hated these SHOs, especially compared to the Gen I, II, and IV models. I have a 94 SHO MTX and it’s an absolute blast to drive. I also have a 2010 SHO, and while it’s a great highway cruiser and rather fast for a 4200lb car, it’s not nearly as fun as the 94.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      There was no Gen IV SHOs; the Gen III were the last ones.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        I just got back from driving my Gen IV SHO to the store :-)

        Gen I: 89-91 Yamaha V6
        Gen II: 92-95 Yamaha V6
        Gen III: 96-99 Yamaha V8
        Gen IV: 2010-Current Ecoboost V6

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Most true SHO fans would agree that the porky, fat, jelly bean 2010 SHOW with the egoboost engine is not a true SHO.

        Hell, even Ford calls it the wrong name.

        The 2010 SHOW is actually an insult to the SHO name.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Wow 86, you just won’t let it go will you. The Eco-Boost engine is simply a design name, I haven’t met anyone yet who claims its made their Ego’s grow any. You should have a serious look at your Id as it seems to run your entire line of thought.

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        @ 86SN2001

        I don’t think you speak for “most true SHO fans”. And speaking from experience, since I have real world experience with both, your assessment couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I’m glad that color is gone. It doesn’t help that I associate it with the mid-90s Mitsubishi Galant that always seems to be missing half its hubcaps, with dents everywhere in its thin sheetmetal, shedding clearcoat, and of course, blue smoke billowing from the exhaust.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    20 years ago, 1992, the ’86 Taurus was only 6 years old. They were not ‘overpopulating self serve yards’ at that time. More likely still saw late 70′s Fords still being salvaged.

    • 0 avatar

      No, early Tauruses were already showing up in junkyards in large numbers by the early 1990s.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The original AXOD transmission was very frail (OK, more like junk); and sent many of the Gen 1s to an early death. By about 1995, Ford had sorted most of the AXOD issues out; another reason you very few Gen 1s (I have seen maybe 3 or 4 in the past year) and fewer Gen 2s on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I saw some AXODs from the first gen that lasted to 180K or so. They still had the poor 1-2 shift though.

        There were actually two different transmissions added to Tauruses and other Ford cars, one in 1993 and one in 1994. The latter was used in this Gen 3 SHO. Both were thought to be more reliable than the previous two versions of AXOD.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    I ran a ’92 L up to 250,000 miles on the original transmission. When I sold it, the tranny was screaming in pain and the oil pump was giving up the ghost.

    My main issue with this car was steering components. I think the steering rack had to be replaced 3x.

    Otherwise it was exactly the unremarkable car I needed, right down to the color…arctic white with a gray bumper. Snore.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Apparently Ford had plans to use the Taurus and the SHO version as a basis for a replacement for the 89-97 MN-12 T-Bird Cougar.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Does anybody else remember the color changing paint that was on the windstar the Mustang this year? Dark green or metal flake purple depending on how you looked at it?

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      The Mustang color you are thinking of was called Mystic. Only saw a few of these.

      The Windstar color, and also offered on the Thunderbird/Cougar was a color shifting color called Chameleon. It tended to have a more purpleish look to it.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        There were two different types of color shifting paint!? How was the Mystic different?

      • 0 avatar
        supremebrougham

        Well, as I seem to remember, Mystic looked more like a metallic black until under bright light. I think Ford had said that it was a very costly and difficult to reproduce color, so it was offered (I think) for one year only. Chameleon was around from 1994-1996. It tended to be like I said, a bit more purpleish looking, but depending on how the light hit it, it could look redish, greenish, and sometimes blueish. This color Rose Mist, was more of a slight iridescent color. The light played with it, but it never lost it’s main color. There was a green that did the same thing as Rose Mist, but it’s late and I can’t think of the proper name of it at the moment…

      • 0 avatar
        autojim

        Mystic was a black basecoat with a BASF clear that had a lot of mica particles in it, which gave it what the paint guys call “flop”. I inquired as to the difficulty of spotting it in a crash repair and was told it was remarkably easy — but the stuff went for something like $800/gallon back in the day, so if you were having a repair done, a BASF rep would come to the body shop and determine how much you needed.

        IIRC, there were about 1500 Mystic Cobras made in 1996, one year only. One of my cousins had one for a spell.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Thanks, I saw plenty of thunderbirds and windstars and plenty cougars, but never a Mystic Mustang.

  • avatar
    ubuhoodoo

    I love that photo with a close-up of the spoiler. It looks like someone laid a cow’s tongue across the trunk.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    My first car was almost a ’93 SHO. My mom didn’t know how to drive stick however, and we ended up with a GL.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I remember test driving this exact same car but in green I think if memory serves with saddle tan interior. We walked away unimpressed at the performance and transmission shift quality. We then test drove a same year Duratec sedan and it felt almost just as quick despite having 35 less HP and probably 300 LBS less weight. They should have stuck with the Yamaha V6 and stick in these cars as they were much more fun to drive so equipped. The V8 did little other than run warranty repairs through the roof.

  • avatar
    Rutlefan1

    Changing the rear plugs or coils wasn’t bad once you’d been back there once. Wouldn’t trust a dealer to do it though; I heard more than one story of someone being charged for both banks only to find only the front had been done.

  • avatar
    Rutlefan1

    I’ve owned many a nice sports car, and a few sport sedans incl a Gen I SHO and a ’98 SVT Contour, and yet the car I miss most is a ’96 Charcoal Gray Metallic SHO I had until a family van purchase pushed it out of the picture. Wasn’t a “fun” car (use another car for that), but it was a beautiful car for freeway cruising and the daily commute. Small V8 without much power by today’s standards but it was smooth and sounded fantastic. Spend $1K to weld the cam sprockets and add an extra trans oil cooler, and you’ve got a reliable and long-lasting drive train. The cars were also really well-made fit and finish-wise, with impressive details, esp the ’96s before they were de-contented (’99s were hit the hardest). I also love the early ’60s War of the Worlds styling (particularly the back lights on the SHO). Only thing I didn’t like, besides the lack of a MTX, was that skate board on the trunk. A nice lip spoiler or none at all would have worked better. Anyway, because of the eccentric styling and the cam failures, an under-appreciated car.


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