TTAC commentator crabspirits writes:
I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article. My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles against that LQ1 Fiero, some captured on my helmet cam. (Read More…)
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. (Read More…)
Since there are multiple TTAC Hacks on assignment here at the 24 Hours of LeMons, you’re getting into the mix from multiple angles. And, here in the Piston Slap corner of the world, the Cars are the Stars! But some whips simply have too much going on: feats of engineering superiority, a collection of creative/rare parts and a dump truck full of historical irony. That’s right, historical irony…with a touch of revenge!
There are some fast LeMons cars that suffer from a single glaring weakness that knocks them out of the running after maintaining a lead for hour after hour. For example, the Acura Integra and Honda Prelude and their fragile head gaskets, or the Toyota MR2′s chronic engine-cooling/oiling woes. The Ford Taurus SHO, however, is constructed entirely from weaknesses; the transmissions explode, the engines throw rods (when they aren’t too busy spinning bearings and/or burning valves), the brakes overheat, and the suspensions crumble like pretzel sticks in a trash compacter. Wheel bearings, electrical components, you name it. But when a well-driven SHO doesn’t fall apart, very few LeMons-priced cars can catch it on a race course. (Read More…)
After a grueling all-day battle of thrown rods, car fires, and busted suspensions at MSR Houston, we never expected to see a Ford Taurus SHO with a Rat Patrol roof gunner on the same lap as a bar-sponsored ’84 Volkswagen Rabbit. That’s how things sorted out after the first race session of the fourth annual Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons. (Read More…)
Ford fans, rejoice! The Blue Oval Brand has been promising to do more to differentiate its “all go, no SHO” 365 HP Taurus SHO since the fall of 2009 (shortly after it debuted). After all, why drop nearly $40 large on a Ford if nobody realizes that it’s the high-po Ecoboosted version? Sure enough, Ford has updated the regular Taurus for the 2013 model-year, and its gone and visually differentiated the SHO while it was at it. But though the SHO now looks different from the standard car, can you actually tell which is which? (Hint: it’s the Kia-looking one) It’s one thing to simply differentiate the SHO… but does a mesh grille and some black trim justify the SHO’s high price or represent its potent power? Q-ships are cool, but they don’t have a great sales record.
A top speed of over 140mph. Zero to sixty in less than 7 seconds. A composed suspension and jellybean-sleek sheet metal that still looks handsome after all these decades. That’s the 1989 Ford Taurus SHO, but Sergio Perfetti’s example is more than the sum of its historically relevant parts. And not just because it’s won two consecutive endurance races in the 24 Hours of LeMons on a $500 budget.
Reviving a legendary nameplate inevitably invites comparisons. As is often the case, those for the new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO have not been favorable. Judging from reviews, forum postings, and (I’ll predict) the comments below, the 2010 lacks whatever made the original legendary. Well, I drove the original SHO back in 1989. And now I’ve driven the 2010 for a week. For better or worse, the similarities outweigh the differences. So, what’s missing in the SHO’s revival?
Ford’s pointy-headed crew of sales forecasters have been compared to the original “Whiz Kids” and credited with a major role in Ford’s (relative) success in the last year. But you can’t calculate everything through statistical analysis, and it seems the models coming out of Ford’s Global Lifecycle Analytics Department failed to take irrational enthusiasm into account. Which is frankly, fairly understandable. The $37,000+ Taurus SHO starts at a full $12k more than a base model, making it a 365 hp halo more than a legitimate sales threat, and yet Ford’s forecasters seem to have underestimated demand for the turbocharged model, with at least one dealer reporting an 80 day wait on a sold order. “It’s a problem for our dealers,” Ford’s Jim Farley admits to Automotive News [sub], “we’re definitely catching up on the demand.” Mid-range SEL trim levels have also been underproduced, says Farley, along with F-150 double cabs. “If you don’t call it, you miss that opportunity and customers don’t see what they want to buy.”
Don’t believe the hype. The 1986 Taurus was not “the car that saved Ford.” Trucks saved Ford in the late Eighties and early Nineties, as consumer tastes moved away from the one-sedan-fits-nearly-all market in favor of the newly popular SUV. Nor can the 2010 Taurus save a Ford beset by problems on all sides. There are no longer enough potential mid-sized car buyers to make a huge impact on the company’s bottom line, and most of those buyers are really better candidates for the smaller, more affordable Fusion.