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Taurus SVT Survey

Thanks to Nick Chrimes


Ford Motor Company
Special Vehicles Team


Taurus SVT Survey:
SHO Owners Responses


May 22, 1999


Editor: Nick Chrimes



Ford Special Vehicles Teams (SVT) is interested in polling the car buying public on what they would look for in a Taurus SVT. To this end, various mailing lists comprising some 700-800 Taurus SHO owners were invited to participate in this survey. 30 people responded. This document contains their responses, which were collected on May 21, 1999.

Some of the desired enhancements are considered by the editor to be more of a generic nature, appropriate to the basic Taurus. These have been listed in Appendix A and are not included in the main survey which concentrates more on performance enhancements. However, some of the generic enhancements (such as better rear seat headroom) would affect sales of all Taurus models, including the SVT. Appendix B contains the list of respondents.

The general consensus was that the respondents were looking for a fast 4 door automobile that could carry four tall adults in comfort that was not in the luxury class but still had as good an interior as money would permit (target price no more than $30,000-$35,000). The target performance criteria was a 0-60 mph time under 7 seconds and a 1/4 mile time under 15 seconds, with a top speed of around 160 mph. Power to be in the 260-315HP range to be competitive with other cars in its class. The Rage concept car was considered by many as an excellent base.

The car would be used as an every day driver as well as an occasional Open Track and Autocross car by a significant number of respondents. These pastimes have increased in popularity significantly over the last few years. So a manual transmission as an option would be an absolute must (28 of 30 respondents). Indeed, many SHO owners are simply driving enthusiasts to whom an automatic transmission is an anathema.

The SVT should obviously be matched with tires, suspension, lateral acceleration and brakes commensurate with the car's performance.

The most popular options were a Limited Slip Differential and a Turbo or Supercharger for even more performance. The group in general realizes that these probably couldn't be included in the target price, but would be prepared to pay extra. Half the respondents were also prepared to give up creature comforts such as sunroof and power seats to save weight and cost.

The top five enhancements, in order of importance, are :


  1. Survey Results


# Resps.


Optional Manual Transmission


5 speed two to one over 6 speed to keep cost down

Better Brakes


Use Cobra '99 Front Brakes. Plated calipers and rotors.

Power in the 260-315HP range


Need at least this amount to be distinctive these days. Bring back the V8 by using the Jaguar 4.0 engine? Bring back the Yamaha? Dual Intake runners?

Limited Slip Diff. or AWD


In order of preference: Torsen/Quaife, ASHA Gerodisc, Ferguson viscous. One or two responses for RWD.

Minimum 260 lb. front springs


Highest response: 350 lbs. Coil overs? Lowered?

Make creature comforts an option


In order to save weight and base price: sunroof, heated/power seats, auto lamps, etc.

Turbo or Supercharger


As an option for even more power

Wider Wheels


17" X 8" minimum (5 spokes?), with room to go to wider with aftermarket wheels. Use a use a 5x4.5" bolt circle so that the Cobra wheels would fit.

Good sway bar/suspension combination


Koni or Bilstein struts.

"Have them ask Preston Miller at Ford Motorsport how to set up a high performing street suspension"

"The chassis tuning should make the car a poor man's M3, not a poor man's Cadillac (al la Gen 3 SHO). It's handling should put a Contour SVT on the back burner"

Rage Body Styling


Add a wing?

Leather Seats an option


Cloth is better on the track. Quite a number of people miss the SHO's side bolsters. Squab side bolsters also a plus

Decent pedal positions


To aid heel and toe. Difficult to approve: easy to fix with aftermarket pedal covers

Different Gearing


Higher gearing/ close-ratio middle gears

Better Brake Bias


Too much emphasis on the front brakes

Better gauges


Oil pressure, temp gauges. Some prefer white faced gauges

Stiffer Chassis


Bank Vault style, Strut Tower Braces, Subframe Connectors

Better exhaust


Less restrictive, better sounding, true dual?

Stiffer Motor Mounts



Stiffer Subframe Bushings


But would still need to be "streetable"

Lightweight materials


e.g. chassis, aluminum body, brake calipers, plastic hood, etc.

Better Steering Feedback


The SHO had very little of this. Make the Power Steering speed sensitive.

Traction Control an option


To save weight

Better Cooling System



Hood Mounted Air to Air Intercooler



Optional 5 point drivers harness



Performance parts compatibility with other models



Proper Hand brake



Appendix A: Generic Enhancements


# Resps.


Better Rear Headroom


"I still believe Ford was taken over by a whole bunch of short managers in the late '80s, because the subsequent Contour, Taurus, Continental, etc. all hit the streets critically short of usable back-seat room for six-footers like myself."

"I'm too tall to fit into Japanese and too poor to fit into German"

"There is hardly a mid sized 4door [Gen 1/Gen 2 SHO] with better back seat entry and comfort and yet has all the go fast capability. (Believe me, this was a big sales point with me for family travel). The Gen 3 is a joke in the back seat for anyone over 5'10", front seat isn't much better, visibility is lousy, etc, etc. What are they thinking??"

Top of the Line Sound System



Better Lights


Include fog lights. More powerful headlights

Trunk access through fold-down rear seat



More color choices


Deep Burgundy

Better speaker positioning



Bigger trunk opening



Headlights with heater wire/wipers



Heated seats



Multi piece bumpers


To reduce replacement cost

Non-carpeted left foot placement area



Place for CB and GPS



Secure CD storage



Side Air Bags



Sporty Interior


Eye Candy

Appendix B: Survey Participants

Andreas Barbiero andreas.barbiero@microbank.com

Anthony Faye Faye.Anthony.J@emh.nasni.navy.mil

Benjamin J. Bentley cowboy@softfarm.com

Bruce Drowne BruceD@em.cortland.edu

Carl Prochilo Carl_Prochilo@prodigy.net

Channing L. Monti channing.monti@nist.gov

Dave Kegel DKegel@callisto.com

Dave Merchant DMERCH@aol.com

Gary Bartman Gary_Bartman@turnerdesigns.com

Haru Singh harbir@vt.edu

James M Philpott MIKE.PHILPOTT@prodigy.net

Joe Facer JFmcrr@ix.netcom.com

Joe Ferrante joe.a.ferrante@lmco.com

John Edward Miller jem@milleredp.com

John Heer JHeer@Calfee.com

John Parsons john.w.parsons@lmco.com

John Ritter jritter2@hotmail.com

Karl Peter Hetlinger kphet@rand.lcl.lib.ne.us

Lyle Adams ladams@palmchip.com

Mark Blosil mblosil@earthlink.net

Matt Hurlburt angel@xmission.com

Mike Toolen mtoolen@zambrana.com

Nat Evans nat@aaanetworks.net

Nick Chrimes nchrimes@earthlink.net

Phil Hyde philh@hal-pc.org


Ron Childs rbchilds@pacbell.net

Scott Chan scottch@juniper.net

Sergio Perfetti MAGOORACING@webtv.net

Timothy Wright timwright@email.msn.com


What would you like to see in a new SHO (if Ford ever wakes up?)  Send your ideas to Buford and I will post them here.

Hello....Here are some of the things I'd LOVE to see in a new SHO (or similar Taurus):...
- SARC..(this time make the shocks more responsive to "full stiff")
- 5 or 6-speed manual
- AT LEAST 260hp to keep up w/it competition (ie. Acura Type-S)
- 3.4L V8 Yamaha (Bigger bore intake feeders)
-At least have Dual exhaust from the 3rd Cat back (True dual if tunable)

These are a few things that are just sitting on top of my head..
'97SHO (ES)

In my opinion, Ford has the next Taurus already on the roads and gaining immense popularity in Europe with the New Mondeo. It's got nice lines, a very nice interior, a five speed transmission and up to six airbags. All you need is the bad boy Yamaha or similar mill and a nice suspension/brake setup and I'd be throwing all my dollars at Ford to get one.

I really am happy that Ford is at least considering this.
Please, oh please, Ford.... Make another SHO!!!

Damien F. - Mesa AZ (Currently in Copenhagen, Denmark)

Just wanted to remind anyone that doesn't know that the new Mondeo is simply just the European version North American Ford Contour. And a similar car was made for N. A. in the form of the contour SVT`

Michael Soo

I never got a letter to ask me what I'd like to do to the car... so here's my thoughts.

1.) Rear wheel drive, and a 5-speed stick Trans. If not for durability problems, the Gen1/2 sticks were just fine. Limited slip differential would be a good thing, but the gearing should be a little different. I spend more of my time from 0-75 than from 75-150. By the way... changing to rear wheel drive and stick transmission would fix a lot of the listed problems (less power, torn up CV's, brake bias, etc) without requiring a re-bored or changed engine.

2.) Better gauges: Granted, being an Air Force flyer skews my perspective, but I want gauges, preferably white face, and I want to see everything. Temperature in degrees, fuel in gallons, better markings on the tachometer (ever try and figure out exactly what rpm they correspond to?) I want to add volts, oil press. and temp, at a minimum. I drive a '99 and I miss the trans position indicator under the speedo very much. Once upon a time I owned a Pontiac 6000 STE, with the all-digital face that read everything (including the button to switch to metric units). It was great.

3.) The engine needs some adjustment, but if the drive wheels and trans would be shifted, I could be satisfied with what I have for the price. I would pay more $$ for more horsepower, in the 250-300 range. perhaps a turbo (I think my SHO would look fine with a small hump in the hood, like some Eclipse’s have) Open up the engine!! A better intake (smooth-flowing 400cfm) and a better exhaust (true dual at least) would be perfect. I would also pay extra (and Ford pay attention!) for a chip reprogramming to give me more power. It costs very little for the mechanic to do it, and you could charge me commensurate with the performance gains I get, not the minimal time/work of the mechanic. Ford has the correct sources codes, no need for other people to try and decompile /crack them, and give me an engine that misses/stalls until the fourth visit/tweaking/road test.

4.) Important Details: Stereo needs two minor tweaks - the amps have a gap in them, which means that high treble (harmonicas, electric guitar sometimes) comes out much too loud, way out of proportion. Secondly - I want a CD changer in the console, like in the Explorer, or AT LEAST a slot up front so I can change discs without having to pull over. The wing on the back is quite stiff enough... but I don't know that it really adds that much down force. Perhaps a wing redesign is in order. The suspension, overall, needs to be tuned... it's nice and stiff, but the car doesn't take advantage of it. Strut tower braces, better struts, fatter sway bars, not poly bushings, but bushings stiffer than stock. Perhaps the car could damp road shock/vibration at the seat rails, instead of doing it all in the suspension. The rail mounts on the floor might incorporate a neoprene layer, and thus I could get good stiff suspension and still have a ride quality in the seat that won't break my tailbone. Wider rims with a more common bolt pattern would be much desired. Fog lamps... I want my fog lamps back. The leather seats, super stereo, and sunroof can be optional. That's about it for what I would do to tweak the car.


Stuff I'd like on my new SHO/Taurus SVT please:
My emphasis is on simplicity. This car does NOT have to be a Q-ship. All that extra tech stuff just adds to production costs. Keep It Simple..

I'll keep thinking. tmtiglio@zdnetmail.com


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