Rare Rides: A 1990 Ford Taurus SHO in Stunning Silver

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Tell me — do you enjoy luxury, power, and a high level of standard equipment, all wrapped in a family-friendly sedan package? If so, it sounds like today’s Rare Ride might be for you.

It’s a well-preserved Ford Taurus SHO from 1990.

Ford modernized the American sedan market with the introduction of its slick, aero-friendly 1986 Taurus sedan and wagon, along with its upmarket Mercury Sable sister. With the new product flying off dealer lots, the good people at Ford readied a new experiment.

The foundations of said experiment were set years before, when in 1984 Ford signed an agreement with Yamaha. The agreement specified that Yamaha design and build a V6 engine based on the existing Ford Vulcan powerplant for use in a performance Ford model.

While the engine would come from an external source, Ford turned in-house for the rest of the project. It tasked the team which would later design the Mustang SVT Cobra with creating a performance version of the Taurus. The resulting car would be a short, limited edition run of vehicles using the Yamaha-supplied engine.

Visually, the team distanced its creation from the regular Taurus with revised front and rear bumpers, fog lamps, lower cladding, and the hood from a Sable. Changes to the interior came in the form of specially-designed sport seats, which had more bolstering than the standard car and were covered with perforated leather.

When Yamaha finished with the Vulcan V6, the revised engine revved to 7,000 rpm and produced 220 horsepower, up from a stock 140. All SHOs utilized a Mazda-sourced five-speed manual transmission, which made for an impressive 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 143 miles per hour. The first SHOs went on sale for the 1989 model year.

While Ford intended the project as a single-year exercise, the SHO proved very popular with customers. It racked up over 15,000 sales in its first year, which caused Ford some second thoughts. The company put the SHO into regular production the following year, immediately ordering more special engines from Yamaha.

The first-generation SHO set the stage for future generations, but proved short-lived. It arrived in the second half of the original Taurus’ lifespan and was replaced by the second-gen-based SHO for 1992.

Today’s Rare Ride is a pristine silver example (the most common color) from 1990. This SHO traveled just 65,000 miles in 29 years. Loaded up with keyless entry, moonroof, and excellent lace alloys, this one asks $5,500.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jan 12, 2019

    I wonder if anyone put the Yamaha SHO motor in the Taurus based 88-95 Lincoln Continental that had the 3.8 Vulcan? That would be quite a sleeper.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 13, 2019

      3.8 was of the Essex family, not Vulcan. I believe it was a much older design.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 12, 2019

    How this is better than proper RWD Ford Scorpio with 3.0L DOHC engine? Scorpio looked similar but cabin was of German level of quality and it was very fast as far as I remember.

  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly like...de-badged Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.
  • SCE to AUX I've always said that consumer/business pressures will reign in government decrees, as they have in the past in places like California. That state has moved the goalposts many times for "ZEV" mandates.But the problem is the depth of politicization of the EPA. Mfrs need continuity and long-term commitment to requirements, not living on a 4-year political cycle of who's in the White House and Congress. Your President - whomever that is - isn't going to be around forever.Ironically, backing off the gas means handing a greater lead to Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, (and possibly H/K/G). The whiners have begun heavy investments whose ROI will be extended by years, and their EV sales will reduce even further.It's like the coach granting his players less practice time because they're tired, while the other team stays fit - that's how you lose the game.
  • Dukeisduke The administration is slowly dribbling out details of the change - it's like they don't want to piss off environmentalists, the auto manufacturers, or the UAW. John McElroy covered this very well in today's installment of Autoline Daily: AD #3751 - 2024 U.S. EV Sales Could Grow 43%; China Price War Spreads To ICE; U.S Vehicles Biggest Ever, Also Lowest CO2 - AutolineAlso, even though vehicles in the US have gotten larger, heavier, and more powerful (thanks to the shift away from sedans to trucks and SUVs), according to a year-end report by the EPA, in 2023, average fuel economy was at its highest ever, and CO2 emissions of new vehicles were at their lowest ever ( The 2023 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Technology since 1975, Executive Summary (EPA-420-S-23-002, December 2023 ).
  • Golden2husky How about real names instead of alphabet/numeric soup?