Ford introduced the high-performance version of the Taurus sedan— the SHO— in the 1989 model year, and enthusiasts rejoiced over the cheap new factory hot rod that blew away far more expensive European sedans. I’ve documented quite a few discarded SHOs during my junkyard travels, but this is the first ’92 I’ve photographed. Why is 1992 special for the SHO? Simple: It’s the final year for the mandatory five-speed manual transmission. Here’s one of those rare cars in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.
When I visit a car graveyard, I’m always on the lookout for three things: puzzling examples of badge engineering, crazy high odometer readings, and manual transmissions in unexpected cars. One of the rarest of all is a non-SHO Ford Taurus with three pedals, sold under the MT-5 designation for the 1986 through 1988 model years. After a decade of searching, I found my first discarded Taurus MT-5 in Phoenix, three years back. Now a junkyard near Pikes Peak has provided the second example of this extraordinarily rare Junkyard Find.
TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:
I’m trying to help my aunt out with her Mercury Sable, which has a 3.0-liter Duratec engine. It has an oil leak from the front passenger side which I believe is coming from the timing chain cover. How hard is this repair and what else should I look for if, say, the leak is not the cover or oil pan? I have checked the valve covers, oil press sender, and cam sensors — all dry.
In our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.
I have a problem with my old ’92 Sable. About a year ago the ABS started to lightly engage while the wheel was turned hard left or right as you pulled into a parking spot. The parking was not at “turtle” speeds but was well below the need to engage ABS. This issue began to get worse after a few months; the unwanted ABS engagement would occur with less of a steering wheel angle. No longer did you need the wheel fully turned to cause the problem.
For the last two months the car sat unused, but now with the potential for snow and the need to haul building materials on the roof rack I’ve begun using the car again. Now, with the wheel pointed straight, the car will occasionally engage the ABS when stopping at a red light. Usually the engagement is light, but a few times it was pretty severe. I’m concerned about rear-ending somebody. I do not consider disengaging the ABS to be an answer. The ABS idiot light comes on at startup and extinguishes after a few seconds.
You have a lot of experience with old Fords so perhaps this has happened to you. The car is nearing 200K and has spent its entire life outside. Salt use in these parts is pretty moderate. Tires and struts are fairly recent and are in excellent condition.
I have a problem with the air conditioning not functioning properly on my ’89 Ford Taurus LX equipped with Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC).
When I start the car on a warm day the AC can blow icy cold air immediately, but the temperature gradually rises to ambient temperature by the time I reach the freeway, and is bad enough that I turn the EATC off. When I turn on the EATC by pressing AUTO, it often feels like it’s blowing maximum heat. I have noticed that when this happens the AC compressor clutch is not cycling on and off. During the winter, the AC compressor clutch clicks on and off. The problem seems to be intermittent and only occurs during warmer months. Also, during startup, you can hear an audible “whirring” noise in the dash, and that started to sound abnormal about the same time the AC stopped working. By “abnormal” I mean it lasts much longer than it used to. I believe the noise I’m hearing is the temperature blend door being moved so the EATC knows the position of the blend door.
Today’s post serves as a couple of milestones at TTAC (for me, anyway); 200 articles written, and a year of Rare Rides. Since I did not plan this in any way or think about it in advance, I thought we might make this post a bit special. Bringing us back to the very first Rare Rides entry of one year ago, we have another concept car Ghia designed for Ford which never saw the production green light.
Presenting the 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver.
TTAC Commentator Matador writes:
I own two cars (and two older pickup trucks): a 1995 LeSabre with 223,000 miles and a 2001 Audi A6 Avant with 165,000 miles on the clock. I drive 80-100 miles per day for work. Between work and personal miles, I drive about 45,000 miles per year. The trucks aren’t daily driven too often and are only used when I need to move something that won’t fit in the wagon. Gas isn’t that cheap!
The Buick isn’t going anywhere. It was my first car and I am a firm believer that you don’t sell your first. I would like to drive it a little less, though, keeping it for special occasions. Since the Audi is my main car, the Buick only receives about 35 percent of my overall miles. I love the way that the Buick handles and I am a huge fan of the 3800’s reliability.
I would really like a Buick wagon, but the Century wagon doesn’t appeal to me at all and the Roadmaster is out of my price range (I could have two Rivieras for the price of a decent Roadmaster wagon). I’m not partial to any brand, or against any brand, though I do find Hondas kind of boring.
I read your recent PS on engine warm-up procedures, and it got me thinking about my own situation.
I recently started working from home. Now, the missus is able to let sit her 2003 Mercury Sable and drive my 2013 Chevy Equinox during the harsh Wisconsin winter. The Sable is left in a parking spot, outside, for days and weeks on end without being driven. Aside from starting her up every 2-3 weeks and driving around, what would you recommend to make sure the Sable is in tip-top shape in the event the old gal needs to be driven?
Thanks in advance!
The Junkyard Find series is all about the interesting and uncommon stuff I find during my travels to wrecking yards in Colorado and California, but what kind of cars form the backdrop to the Peugeots, Merkurs, and ancient Detroit iron? The demographics of this population tend to shift over the decades; 20 years ago, the GM B body reigned supreme in the high-turnover self-service yards I tend to frequent, but there’s no doubt about the 21st Century’s current Junkyard King.
I always have an eye out for two-fers, especially when they share such a close range of age and manufacturer. We’ll do both of these significant cars justice in future Curbside Classics, so consider this a preview of coming attractions. Oh, but its not just the late eighties on this side of the street!
[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article can be found here]
That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood intuitively, if not scientifically since the dawn of the automobile. Putting it into practice was quite another story. Engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. But getting there was not without turbulence.
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- ToolGuy "Having the dual sliders has been amazing as it let's me and my wife have our own "sides" of the van to prep for rides/races."Who goes on the traffic side??
- ToolGuy "I caught a little bit Saturday, but Sunday it seemed impossible to find on my cable. I think it was streaming on Peacock, which I have, all weekend, so I could've watched it that way. I'm not complaining, to be clear, since I could've popped Peacock on and yet I chose to watch something else."Being you sounds like a real chore. 😉
- ToolGuy If it is the longer-wheelbase version, good. (If not, it isn't.)
- ToolGuy "circumvent(ing) dealerships" should be illegal.Does "circumventing" mean spending my money there?
- ToolGuy If my head gets flatter I might consider this.