Junkyard Find: 1996 Ford Taurus SHO

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1996 ford taurus sho

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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  • Rutlefan1 Rutlefan1 on Jan 24, 2014

    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.

  • Rutlefan1 Rutlefan1 on Jan 24, 2014

    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.

  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.