By on July 21, 2014
(photo courtesy: http://www.reocities.com)

(photo courtesy: http://www.reocities.com)

Bob writes:

Sajeev,

Thanks for all the wasted ti…,er reading enjoyment you and TTAC provide. My Q has to do with “plan on keeping, or start looking for a replacement?”

Bought my ’93 SHO in 1996, a 5-sp w/28k miles. It just rolled over 140,000 (I’m an over-the-road truck driver). Has been a great, fun car. Only major problem was a radiator leak & attendant CPS failure.

Downers: Headliner and driver’s seat uph need replacing. Clearcoat peeling. Worried about parts avail, transmission (no problems so far, but “maintenance-free ATF?”). Still has original clutch. Car is 22 yrs old. Etc…

Upside: Just had front susp renewed, doesn’t burn oil, still drives great. Etc…

So: used Crown Vic, or used Miata, when the time comes?

Sorry this is so wordy/rambling, but hate to think of you & that cymbal.

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes! The Edelbrock cymbal is still on my drum rack, but I’ve had no time to “work” on it.  And that’s thanks to folks like you!

You have a two-part question, and the first answer is you need a newer car.  While an SHO has a tricky motor (timing belt and valve lash work every 60,000 miles IIRC), any old Taurus won’t be relaxing and reliable: it will always need work, even if it may never leave you stranded without days/weeks/months of advance notice.  You’ll shell out big bucks on the paint and clutch alone.

About your next ride: some will consider the Miata vs. Crown Vic suggestion as insane, but I get it. The SHO is almost halfway between in size, number of cylinders, etc.  And when you’ve already done the middle ground, it’s now time to go to the extreme!

Question is, which extreme?

I’d go for the Miata if you can keep the SHO around to carry people/cargo.  Depending on where you live, a FWD sedan with a solid roof helps in bad rain/snow. If you go Crown Vic, the SHO is pointless.  Which is a problem.

Think about it: the SHO is essentially worthless and the next owner is likely to kill it.  I reckon it will be Chinese scrap metal less than a year after the sale.  Not cool: cars with intrinsically fantastic yet obscure design like the Taurus SHO deserve to live. Having owned this car for almost 20 years now, are you dumb enough to see it my way? To restore this future classic?

If so, you will also be dumb enough to buy a Crown Vic to make a collection of cool yet understated American sedans!  And for those that find this notion silly, I suggest watching this video about 10 times.

YouTube Preview Image

What was that about not wanting a collection of Ford sedans? #pantherlove

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

102 Comments on “Piston Slap: SHO me My Next Car?...”


  • avatar

    Buy the USED CROWN VICTORIA.

    But please mod the exterior so when I’m on the highway I don’t think you’re a cop and I don’t have to slow down behind you until I get a better look at you…

    …then return to 90 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      At _least_ 53% of the fun of driving a cop auto auction special is having folks slow down and get out of your way on the highway. My folks had a jellybean Impala for a few years that was just wonderful at >80mph. Everyone just got the fuck out of the way!

  • avatar
    raph

    Niether, look into a used Boss or Shelby!

  • avatar
    319583076

    Crown Vics don’t offer a manual. If you enjoy driving, go for the Miata. As for restoring the SHO, it sounds like you got plenty of enjoyable service out of it. Who wants to live forever?

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Mercury Marauder

    The only real spiritual replacement for an SHO in a larger package.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      This is an absolutely excellent suggestion! #pantherlove

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      That depends on where he lives. I would never own a Marauder, any GM B-Body, or most 90s GM/Ford full size SUVs (especially the 2 door GM versions) in the Detroit area. It would get stolen while parked, if the owner is lucky.

      I won’t even drive my Lincoln into the city. No urban gentleman about town wants to be seen in a light blue C-Max.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        +1. You might get it back, but it will be painted money green.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The horror….

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought the C-Max belonged to your mom!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Nope. I drive a C-Max (thank you Ford for another $425) on a daily basis and my wife drives an MKT.

            My mom drives an HHR with 175000 miles. I feel bad for her because I don’t even like sitting in the HHR. She wants an AWD Escape because she has to drive backroads in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            She should get an AWD Escape, just make sure she gets one high enough up on the trim scale to get rid of those amber lower fog light things.

            What means $425?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford the EPA fuel economy revisions. Between my former employer and FoMoCo, I’ve been paid $4500 in cash to drive a C-Max. Not rebates, checks sent to me.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Excellent! I have never received any checks for driving my M around. :(

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, Its new for me, but I’ll happily take the money. Owning VWs and Audis usually had the opposite effect on my wallet.

            On the Escape, I don’t think you have get an AWD version with those horrible amber colored fogs. The SE trim makes them normal.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            According to the build feature on the site, you’re right. That $3k additional for the SE seems well worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Marauders seem to be afflicted with the “I’ve got a B-body Fleetwood/Impala SS/Riviera Arrow and it’ll be worth $100,000 some day sopaymenowplease.”

        • 0 avatar
          Lichtronamo

          I found my Dad a Marauder in last year with 41,000 miles on it reasonably priced for a then 10 year old, used car and the various issues that go with that. Drove it this weekend between Minneapolis and Cincinnati. Great highway car that covers miles fast and has surprising gas range. Not really a lot under the hood and tall gearing means it’s not really “fast”. Losing ability to be mistaken for a cop with all of the newer Taurus and Explorer police interceptors out there now, but the black color helps. Was feeling a bit of panther love myself after the trip… ;)

        • 0 avatar

          I want a Riviera “Silver Arrow” *so* badly…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Trade it for an SVT Contour

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      good suggestion, but I’ll bet he’d have a real hard time finding one that was loved. I imagine most are now washing machines or lawn mowers at this point.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        When I go for a run, I run past a house which has TWO SVT Contours as DD vehicles! One in 90s green, and the other in silver. One seems to have some additional body kit work as well.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Contours are at the age now where this won’t really accomplish anything…He’ll have a slightly newer car that has similar issues to the SHO.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    You might look at something similar in idea… the new Impala SS with the 6MT. A little rare, special order probably but philosophically cousins to the SHO.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I would for sure keep the SHO, you just don’t see them anymore and this car for sure will always have some level of collectibility. Don’t be afraid of some paint work, if the car pictured is your rig, it looks great in the photo.

    If you are worried about the trans, keep an eye out for one to put in the garage as a spare.

    miata or CV? Ummmm, me thinks you need to go drive both if you have not already. I know the miata gets high praise here, I just can’t bring myself to buy a car that I have to wear. But a CV? If your a Ford guy, why not go spend some time behind the wheel of a used mustang? I know of a used Boss 302 for sale and I am itching to take it for a ride even though my garage is full at present.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I disagree about keeping the SHO.

      Why?

      Head gasket sets are now unobtanium and NOS ones sell for top dollar on Ebay.

      Sell it for 2-3x scrap value now, while it is still running.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No, no, no, Felpro still offers the head gaskets individually as well as a head set. Plus it is highly unlikely that it needs or will need head gaskets anytime soon. Those engines regularly went 200K or more and they did so with only regular maintenance, which admittedly is more than other US vehicles from the era what with the lack of hydraulic lifters.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good point, the 96-99 V8 SHO’s hgs are doing for $377, the V6 doesn’t even have a listing at the moment.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Used Audi S4 – 2011 6 speed.

    Will run rings around the SHO and 99% of the other cars on the road, can be had for decent $$$ now.

    Room for 4 adults, decent luggage space, can play either sports sedan or luxury performance sedan, as the current need dictates.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Why not something more in the middle like the storied V6 mustang… With the new one just around the corner, prices should be plummeting right?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think this might be the best suggestion. In reality, it’s not much less usable than the CV, but always more usable than the Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Depends on his budget. The V6 mustang will likely be a $400 payment assuming little downpayment. That $400 is money not being spent on SHO maintenance. If he could absorb both then perhaps this is a good suggestion.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      FWIW.. brand new 2014 Mustang V6 manuals are advertised for about $18k now, $19k and change with the premium package if you simply must have leather. It’s really a bargain.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What sort of black magic is this?

        Base is $22050+dest, V6 Premium is 26+dest on Ford’s ws. Leather is not even offered in base (as usual) which means you’d have to step up to the 26K model to get any good options. Ford is offering 0% for 60 plus 1500 up to 3500 per their ws, so a stripper V6 manual could in theory be had for 18550+dest+tax, but nothing with options is going to touch this price.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          aftermarket leather?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Possibly. I suppose it depends on your budget, but personally I’d rather have the factory leather and the other creature comforts for the 4K more. I figure a good leather kit will be $6-800 plus installation costs. Sure you’ll save $2-2.5K, but you’ll be missing the heated seats (although I suppose they could be MacGyvered in).

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          My bad, I got too excited by the bargain base prices and mixed up the blue ones I saw, one was base and a nearly identical ad photo from the same dealer was the premium model. So apparently the complete stripper is advertised for $18,335 and the Premium is $21,995, a bit more than I thought.

          As for options, if the OP is looking at old Miatas and Panthers to replace an old SHO, then a brand new base model Mustang is already going to include more options than any of those cars will have. The base model is a bargain at under $19k, once you add $4k in useless toys it isn’t so much of a bargain anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Stripper Mustang V6 (right around 300hp) for 19 and change prior to taxation is pretty impressive I must admit (I think they want 16 for a fricking Fiesta).

            Let’s go to the tape:

            MY13 Ford Mustang V6 “Coupe” (base, mostly autos)

            07/10/14 EL PASO Regular $19,500 6,919 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/25/14 SF BAY Lease $18,700 10,435 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
            07/09/14 NJ Regular $13,800 10,767 Below BLUE 6G A No
            06/25/14 HOUSTON Regular $20,200 13,282 Above GREY 6G A Yes
            07/16/14 DENVER Lease $14,200 16,697 Below WHITE 6G P No
            07/01/14 CHICAGO Lease $17,300 17,559 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            07/16/14 SEATTLE Regular $17,900 17,942 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
            07/17/14 TAMPA Regular $17,000 19,481 Avg WHITE 6G 6 Yes
            07/10/14 SO CAL Lease $18,000 19,846 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/25/14 TAMPA Factory $16,000 20,724 Avg SILVR-UX 6G A Yes
            06/25/14 DALLAS Regular $18,900 22,450 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
            07/17/14 SO CAL Lease $13,600 23,266 Below GRAY 6G 6 No
            07/09/14 SAN ANTO Lease $16,000 26,376 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes

            Even high miles/poor condition still pulls mid 14s:

            07/16/14 NJ Regular $14,800 40,179 Below BLACK 6G 6 Yes
            07/17/14 CHICAGO Regular $14,600 43,356 Below GREEN 6G M Yes
            06/26/14 TX HOBBY Regular $14,900 46,246 Below WHITE 6G Yes
            06/25/14 NY Lease $13,400 75,426 Below BLUE 6G 6 Yes

            MY13 Ford Mustang V6 “Coupe Premium” (Premium package I suppose, mostly autos)

            07/16/14 NASHVILL Lease $19,000 14,311 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
            07/10/14 DETROIT Regular $16,900 15,850 Avg BLACK 6G A No
            07/02/14 TX HOBBY Lease $19,800 16,550 Above DKBLACK 6G 6 Yes
            07/03/14 SO CAL Lease $18,300 17,488 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
            07/17/14 TAMPA Regular $18,200 17,870 Avg RED 6G A Yes
            07/09/14 TAMPA Lease $18,200 22,693 Avg GREY-UJ 6G A Yes
            07/16/14 UTAH Lease $17,500 24,529 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            07/03/14 SO CAL Lease $17,700 28,830 Avg RED 6G A Yes
            07/16/14 NASHVILL Lease $18,400 29,940 Avg HGPERFWH 6G A No
            07/10/14 SO CAL Lease $17,800 30,113 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            06/24/14 RIVRSIDE Lease $17,000 30,399 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes

            Again, high miles/poor condition they are pulling 15s on average.

            06/27/14 NEVADA Lease $16,500 39,959 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            07/17/14 FRDKBURG Lease $15,800 47,453 Below BLACK 6G A Yes
            07/03/14 EL PASO Lease $15,000 47,840 Below SILVER 6G A Yes
            07/17/14 SO CAL Lease $14,500 50,609 Below GREY 6G A Yes

            I declare the 2014 Ford Mustang V6 to be Smooth Jimmy’s [resale] Lock of the Week.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    The answer to “used Crown Vic vs. used Miata” is “buy both.” Both of them are reliable, easy to work on, cheap to buy, and cheap to own. If you install a trailer hitch and winter tires on the Crown Vic, you’ll have a pair of vehicles than can do just about anything.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Sajeev is correct in his thinking although I suppose it depends on how much work the SHO really needs. So unless you’re talking about something new(er), any Miata you buy is going to have its own needs. A needy SHO plus a new car with its own needs (basic as they may be) is a quick way to drain your checking account. Get the SHO in good mechanical order first and incrementally work at your own pace on the cosmetic stuff after you buy the Miata (rad, hoses, trans fluid, coolant, water pump, serp belt, timing belt if app, spark plugs, wires, head gaskets if app, proactively replace sensors, brakes, brake fluid/lines, exhaust/muffler etc). Last thing you want to happen is the SHO start acting up while the Miata is out for work/tires/inspection/conv roof etc. You can only afford so many crappy cars at one time, the trick is to buy the ones in the right condition and rotate their maintenance needs.

    So for me its been:

    08 GP: Coolant changed, plugs/wires, trans fluid at 68, shocks & struts at 76, brakes recently, recent body work. Next up: new oil, brake fluid, interior hose check, two new tires.

    02 SL2: Coolant changed at 31. Next up: brakes/brake fluid, hose check, two new tires, proactive sensor replacement, trans fluid at 40.

    93 240: Several sensors replaced, coolant, water pump, front belts, plugs/wires. Next up: rear shocks/struts, odo needs work again, need to figure out why mileage sucks so much.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Here’s when the SHO came onto my radar and looked cool:

    Tim Allen drove one in The Santa Clause movie. It had a car phone, he drove it alone on the highway and quickly through town, and it looked aggressive in silver/black. I was 8 years old.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I admit, I really don’t get this “panther love” stuff. Maybe because DC’s low-rent cab companies have been driving them for decades after the local police departments have worn them out.

    As a 10 year former SHO owner, I would observe a couple of things: (1) the clutch on the car is weak and the OP is lucky to have kept it for 22 years. That’s an easy $1500 to replace. (2) what kind of frosted it for my car was that the plastic lining inside the fuel tank began flaking off, destroying the fuel pump. Replacing the fuel tank is expensive. (3) apart from the wonderful engine, the SHO is just an early 90’s Ford Taurus, with all of the weaknesses that implies.

    I’m not sure what the OP’s automotive goals are: his suggested replacements for the SHO are worlds apart. If he wants a toy that’s fun to drive, then the Miata is as good as any and probably cheaper to own. If he wants transportation for his family that makes a comfortable slab cruiser, I would suggest an Avalon, which is probably leagues more reliable than a panther, uses less fuel and has more room inside and, frankly, is more comfortable. It lacks, however, that V-8 sound, even if the sound doesn’t signify much power or performance.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      In reply to:
      “(1) the clutch on the car is weak and the OP is lucky to have kept it for 22 years.”

      From the article:

      ” (I’m an over-the-road truck driver)”

      I have a hunch that his clutch skills would put us all to shame.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I like the Marauders and Police Interceptor Vics as much as the next guy.

    Aside from a certain nostalgic greatness that one gets from the Panther Platformed cars, hoonage in a LTD Crown Vic is actually pretty uneventful.

    In fact, my mom had an 85 LTD Vic in fantastic condition. Triple Navy in color w/ fantastic velour (I believe?) interior. The interior bits were metal and would get extremely hot to the touch (i.e., the large turn knob thingy for the driver’s side mirror, belt buckles).

    I remember you really had to hold the accelerator pretty far down to maintain speeds of 75-80 mph. At those speeds, it may have been comfortable to be a passenger, but it was really quite a bit of work navigating that big bastard, similiar to my 89 Town Car. The handling was (as expected) nothing to write home about either.

    I can still hear the alternator feedback through the crappy interior speakers like it was yesterday…

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Trying out a boxy Marquis, the 5.0s okay around town but its clear that they were setup to get to 60 and just cruise there, they were engineered with 55 was the normal speed limit.

      The handling was a joke though, my old air-cooled VWs felt more planted driving around the suburbs.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Hence the 55 mark squared off in its own little box on the speedo?

        “Stay here at fifty-five, please”. -LTD Crown Victoria

        It’s probably a good thing they didn’t come with a tachometer. Those old dogs would likely be revving pretty high at 75+ mph.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Yup, a lot of cars had that at the time, but only the Panthers feel like they were specifically ratio’d with that in mind.

          Well that and for the transmission to at least last 120k.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            Oh, the magical transmissions in the Panthers. I forgot about those mechanical wonders.

            My folks bought a 20 foot ski boat to run around on a river here in St. Louis and consume large quantities of beer. To save a buck, instead of buying a truck or something else which could adequately pull a load- well… they used their ’85 relatively cherry LTD Vic.

            After pulling the trailer/boat combo for about two seasons, the car suffered from overheating issues and, of course, the transmission gave.

            Looking back, although the car was exceptionally clean and had low miles to boot, a Panther pulling a well-worn $3K ski boat was probably the epitome of South St. Louis “Hoosier”.

            This concludes this week’s episode of “How To Quickly Kill Your LTD Crown Victoria”.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            What gets me about all that is that I’m actually in South St. Louis atm.

            The overheating issue was typical, either you’d pull something, or a $3 nylon throttle valve think would break in the transmission, requiring a re-build to fix. This is probably why they fill Taylors ju kyard in abundance.

            Wouldn’t mind a late 90’s Vic if the price was right, too many sleezy dealers n “flippers” knocking their prices up.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Every car had that 55 highlight, it was federal law. Contemporaneous to the 85mph speedo laws.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Were I to get a brick vic it would be a police interceptor. Something cool about that howizontal speedometer that goes up to 140.

  • avatar
    ChiefPontiaxe

    Please do not sell that SHO. I drove a 91+ from 1992-2002. I foolishly sold it in favor of a fancier sedan (which I later sold because I hate driving an automatic transmission car). I now drive a Pontiac G8 GXP 6M, which IMHO is the closest type to the SHO (even though the G8 is RWD), but oh how I miss that SHO- so much fun to hoon. I had the same issues with the CPS and radiator, but that engine (while tough to service) is bulletproof. As you know the online community is strong, and everybody seems to have a parts car for the picking. Aside from the engine nearly all trim pieces from a standard Taurus will fit.

    A panther platform car serves it purposes, but it is too big and sloppy to replace that SHO.

    Choose wisely.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Here I thought that “Maintenance Free” was a newer thing, is the transmission sealed or whats up with that?

    I’d say ditch the SHO, hunt down a decent Accord V6 sedan or if you still want something different get a Volvo 850 wagon.

    Don’t get a Miata, you’ll end up rgretting the sacrificed practicality of the SHO.

    Don’t get a Panther, it’ll nickel and dime you all the same as the SHO but with less rewards for keeping it in shape.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I’d check out a previous gen Fusion Sport. High powered V6, 6-speed auto (if that’s okay), and a well tuned Ford suspension. I think they’ll be rare over time. I liked them but the wife didn’t. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If you’re gonna go CD3, MY10-12 MKZephyr 3.5 is far superior. The CD3 Fusion used a lo-po circa 1996 Duratec 30 for its V6 option.

      EDIT: You’re right, at some point Fusion was offered with the 3.5 although this is not mentioned on the main Fusion wiki page: “The 3.0L delivered ample power in the midsize sedan segment, however the Fusion later received the Duratec 35 V6 as a top-tier “Sport” option to remain competitive with larger V6 offerings in the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Fusion_%28Americas%29

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Duratec_engine#Duratec_30

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Fusion Sport was a notable exception of the Fusion using the Duratec30. It had the same engine as the MKZ. The same for the Edge Sport, which has the Duratec 37 that can be found in the MKX. The Explorer Sport also has the 3.5EB that was only available in the MKT/Flex, as far as CUVs go.

        At the end of the day, I’d take the MKZ for similar money.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Generally speaking you’ll pay less for MKZ because its ironically worth less. Which model years was the 3.5 offered in Fusion?

          MY11 Fusion Sedan Sport

          6/25/14 NY Lease $11,400 22,902 Below GREY 6G A No
          06/24/14 KC Lease $15,800 24,172 Above RED 6G A Yes
          07/02/14 PITTSBGH Lease $13,600 24,641 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
          07/09/14 NY Regular $15,300 24,988 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
          07/16/14 NJ Lease $12,900 26,067 Avg DKBLACK 6G P Yes
          07/17/14 CHICAGO Lease $11,200 30,159 Below MDGREY 8GT A Yes
          07/02/14 PITTSBGH Lease $14,100 30,406 Avg DKBLACK 6G A Yes
          07/16/14 NY Lease $13,200 31,410 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
          06/24/14 ORLANDO Lease $14,000 31,410 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            10-12. The facelifted/refreshed first gen Fusion.

            The 2010 refresh was actually very good. There were a ton of updates (the seats thank God), but Ford didn’t lose the plot. Dynamically I like the 2013+ Fusion better, but it traded some function (trunk opening/rear headroom) for style and I want a V6. The minor loss of function wouldn’t keep me from buying a Fusion, but I need an engine about the 2.0T.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      The last gen Fusion also offered ample glass and flat parallel to ground beltline goodness. Yum.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The 2010-12 Fusion with the I4 will remain my goto used car recommendation for awhile.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          We tested the 2012 I4 Fusion and loved everything about it except the F150 steering wheel and the auto transmission. I’ve never experienced a transmission so hesitant to downshift and the engine had zero power if it didn’t. Made driving a real chore, and it bummed me out because it killed the car for us.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They’ve had the transmissions reprogrammed since. The 6F35 has gotten better over time. I actually though it was an okay automatic transmission in the 2.0T Fusion. The beefed up 6F55 has been excellent in my MKT.

  • avatar
    matador

    Hold on just a minute!

    He needs a new car, because his was made in *gasp* 1993!?

    It has low mileage, and there really isn’t anything wrong with it.

    I have my 1995 LeSabre parked outside. I drive it to work 80 miles per day, and have done just fine. When my transmission went out (Car has 215k or so), I knew it was doing that for three months! When it did go, I still had second and drove it to the shop.

    Point being- I’m the eighth owner of that car, it hasn’t had a nice, garage-queen life, and it does just fine.

    Why would a well cared for car with fewer owners have any problems?

    I’d spend some money on the car, and have it checked over by a couple of GOOD mechanics.

    Then, I’d enjoy the car. And, maybe buy a Crown Vic and do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxkwK4L0zJY

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Church of 3800 approves of this message.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      I agree!
      People on here think that old cars are somehow less reliable just because of age. Sure, there could be a few electrical things that might need to be replaced, but there is no reason a low mileage older car is less reliable than a similar mileage newer model.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I agree too!

        My dad comes over in his 2012 Avalon with 22k miles and is like “Oh this is very reliable.”

        And I pull my Triumph Stag out of the garage, and it has 22k miles on it, and I’m like “Oh well this is very reliable too!”

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        ” there is no reason a low mileage older car is less reliable than a similar mileage newer model.”

        Things like belts, hoses, tires and brakes degrade whether the car is driven or not. Up to date maintenance is key with older vehicles no matter the mileage.

        The fact that maintenance will be more frequent on older cars than newer ones is basically a given.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          Danio…do I strike you as that much of a moron? :)

          Lets be realistic here, maintenance items aren’t part of the conversation here.

          ANY car (and the majority if not all of the cars suggested on here) are in the same boat with regard to tire-brakes-hoses etc..

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            It wasn’t meant to be condescending.

            Reliability depends on maintenance, so it is very much relevant to the conversation.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Um… buy brake pads? And some whitewalls if you’re going to cruise the miracle mile?

          I did the front pads on my Buick this last weekend. The car wasn’t a wreck- they just wore out. Plus, a new set was only about $40. Try buying a car for that amount of money.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I agree with you agreeing with me.

        My Buick has its personality traits- for example, the Security light has been on since I bought the car. The front cupholders are missing. A little paint flaked off the rear door.

        These are fit and finish issues. They don’t affect how the car drives. That’s what matters.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Age will exact a toll on cars regardless of mileage, particularly rubber and plastic parts. Some people are okay with the idea of regularly budgeting weekends to hose and seal replacements, or scouting junkyards for trim pieces that aren’t broken yet. Other folks, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        To a point, but if the car is cared for and driven once in a while it should be a non-issue. This guy obviously does both of these.

        I have some prime examples of what I’m talking about. Right down to a dead reliable 74 Firebird that continues to start run and drive each and every year with nothing more than an oil change.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Pretty big difference in the maint. requirements on an old 3800 and the old SHO motor. While the engine in the SHO is perhaps the best looking motor ever dropped into a car, it is not friendly for the DIY mechanic and if you are not douing the work yourself on it you are going to need a pretty steep line of credit.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        This is just more proof that the 3800 is the best 6 cylinder engine man has ever built!

        Quick, somebody get me a supercharged Riviera! I’m starting to drool again…

        This message has been approved by the Church of 3800. I’m a proud member of the H-Body Sect.

        ——————————–

        I own many cars: 2001 Audi A6 (2.8), 1995 LeSabre (3800), 2000 Impala (3400), 1997 Ford E-350 (5.4), 1995 Ford F-150 (300), 1987 Chevrolet R-10 (305), 1989 New Yorker (Mitsubishi 3.0L).

        Engine problems have been few and far between for me. I’ve heard the weak link on Tauruses is the transmission. But, I don’t know about the SHO engine.

        Just buy a LeSabre???

  • avatar
    Dave in Toronto

    Nobody +1’d the Miata except Sajeev.

    I will +1 the Miata. If you can live with the small size.

    It will be so much more fun and satisfying to drive than a panther.

    Don’t get me wrong i like panther’s too.

    If you get a 2001+ non-sport car you can even just put the top up / air or heat on and it will give you no more headache than the average Corolla or Protege.

    It’s durable enough parts are cheap gas is good the internet tells you everything and I mean everything.

    It’s just that it’s a teeny tiny super low can’t check your blindspot with top up (well could get a hardtop) Protege.

    If you can really live with the size – get the Miata.

    I have had three :-) I have done it as my only car but I was “upgrading” from a motorcycle so my expectations were in line with the 1993 I started with.

    But – currently driving a 2002 Leather package (ie Sport but with normal springs and shocks) 90 minutes a day, both traffic and highway – nothing negative to say as a commuter. Put top up = quiet, air con or heat on, cruise on, done.

    The first nice weather drive you won’t regret passing on the panther.

    (I’d keep the SHO too, IMO a 2001 Miata and a SHO hobby car is perfect)

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I’m to Miatas what Sajeev is to Panthers, and I endorse his answer.

    I think every car enthusiast should consider owning a Miata at least for awhile at some point in their life. The NAs and NBs are nearing their price floor, so you can buy and sell without worry, they can be found coddled in middle-aged guys’ garages everywhere, maintenance is as cheap and simple as any modern(ish) car you’re likely to find, and the driving experience is just so pure. It’s a car you can cane even just going to the store for some milk, and people will barely notice, except for the fact that you grin like an idiot. Fiddle with the suspension a little, and it’ll grip like a little bastard in the curves in addition to handling amazingly.

    I don’t find visibility with the top up to be a problem; the side mirrors are large and do a good job covering the “B pillar” area. Although you definitely won’t see past SUVs, I find the low height to be part of the experience, and personally get a kick out of being eye-level with the door handles of small sedans. Mine is lowered by just under 1″. On bad roads mine rattles and creaks like a wooden ship, but I’m also on springs that are double the stock rate. I find the ride livable. If your roads are better than mine (trust me, they are), you’ll find it fine on stock springs.

    Quote from a recent passenger in mine after a short ride downtown: “Every time I get in your car, it’s like taking a ride in a roller coaster.”

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      My 90 rode like a go cart. The early 1.6 cars were “pure” for lack of a better word. I had an 04 Mazdaspeed version that rode better and was more comfortable (though I had to put NA seats in it so my head didn’t touch the top support). With the intake opened up it would haul. I always felt my 90 was more fun to drive though and kept it longer.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Keep the SHO and keep driving it (assuming you still love it)

    Even though it needs work, almost any used car is going to also need work while you own it. I’ll bet you can make it like new for not much more than sales tax and maybe 1-2 months of car payments on something newer.

    I personally couldn’t bear seeing something like that go for “salvage car” value. Unless you loathe it, I would at least keep it around as a spare weekend car.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    That engine of yours in the SHO is made by Yamaha and it’s a great motor. It’s too bad Yamaha isn’t more involved in automobile manufacturing. A Yamaha built car sounds fantastic!

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Drive the SHO until it dies and then display its intake manifold as modern art.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    You could keep the SHO running. It only has 140k and the maintenance costs are far less than a new car lease/payment. A new headliner can be installed for $100-150. Interesting factoid: The front seats used in the SHO are the same lumbar buckets as the MN-12 T-Bird SC. But if traded in a previous generation Fusion 2.5 6speed is a nice replacement or find one of the remaining Fusion 1.6 EcoBoost 6 speeds on the lot.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Either keep the SHO and fix the headliner / seat and ignore the paint, or dump it and replace it with another car and don’t look back.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Bingo. Make a decision and commit to it. I put a transmission in my 1995 LeSabre, because I love the car. The transmission was about the value of the car. If the engine were to blow tomorrow (Fortunately, 3800s are bulletproof!), I’ve committed to fixing it.

      Do you want to keep this car for a few years or more? If so, fix it. If you want to let go, buy something that you’ll like.

      Either way, make a choice, and stick with it.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Well i’ll add to the crazy talk by saying find a mint Tempo V6 and drop the SHO engine in.

    Now, back to the real world. I love driving the SHO, but I despise any time I’ve spent under the hood of one. It’s hard to pin down a modern spiritual successor to this car (certainly nothing that has worn the SHO badge since). I can attest that the Miata is downright simple to work on. It also hits the sweet spot of being usable as a day to day car, provided you don’t need a back seat of course. The trunk is usable, even the early cars.

    But there are compromises. Were I going to daily drive an NA or NB again I’d shell out the grand for a hardtop.

    The Crown Vic is another animal. My buddy has the Panther Love. I don’t get it. If I were looking at something like that I think I’d go with a Fox Body T-Bird. Old, yes, but simple to work on. My flavor would be the 87-88 Turbo with a 5 Speed. The 2.3 Turbo has some power potential. They are comfy as well. An E30 BMW would work too but good luck finding a decent one.

    If you were to go newish, perhaps a Mazdaspeed 3 or a Focus or Fiesta ST?

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    Nathan Wind would have never driven a Miata, just not enough room for his sideburns and ‘stache. Before he passed away, I’m sure he was driving a Crown Vic or a Marauder. #pantherlove


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States