The Taurus SHO is long gone - although don't tell that to the SHO Club, whose members are still faithfully driving and modifying these long-out-of-sale cars.
At the time these pictures were published ( ~summer 1994, note copyrights), it was already reported that a new Taurus was on the way, and that the next Taurus SHO would have a V-8 engine. These pictures showed the final car for the first time. Also, at roughly this same time, I had sold my first gen SHO (with 89k miles, I got $10K) and had no plans for any future SHO. However, while I certainly didn't know it in 1994, 3 years later I would be a resident of Redmond WA and needing a fast 4-dr with good wet and snow traction. So one day I'd be driving a SHO again!
You can read a review and comparison of my two SHOs here.
This is the first spy photo that I know of that shows the future SHO. This is a cooling mule, with the final front cap (openings are more important than headlights), to test the cooling of the V-8 SHO engine.
The mule is built on the old gen-2 chassis with a cobbled together body. It uses the early SHO wheels for purposes of testing the revised suspension geometry.
Some car magazines back then blew it - they reported that this was indeed the final body shell and that new crash regulations would require these massive door handles sticking out. That of course wasn't the case, and they should have known better.
These mules uses purpose-built bodies with simple (cheap to build) curves instead of the (very expensive to build) final production shells. They were nothing more than cobbled-together "mules" which would bear little resemblance (other than dimensionally and the complete underlying structure) to the final car. The door handles - and more importantly the crash infrastructure - were correct, the thickness of the door was not and didn't matter at this time.
This was Ford's method back then for new cars - in just a few years from this point early mules of the DEW98 platform would take a similar course.
As development continued, the car got it's final wheels and the full front cap.
I saved the best for last - which is why I named this page "The Lost V-8 SHO".
This is the first V-8 engine which was originally developed for the SHO. Not shown in this photo is a *very* large MAF, on the order of 80mm or larger. The engine made a rumored 88 HP/liter (very healthy - and up from 73 for the 1st gen engine). For the mid-nineties, this was indeed very "high output" (today, a good 3.5 liter V-6 makes 300).
Nobody knows whatever happened to this engine... the one we received in production was considerably detuned, all the way down to a "not so super high output" of 235 horses. As many readers know, the production engine also used the production 3 liter engine cold air intake - severely restrictive - and had several other restrictions.
At first thought, the problem may have been the auto trans - it was never designed for anything like this - although the same box later ended up behind a 4.6 4V engine in the Lincoln version of the Taurus chassis. Perhaps the strengthened transmission wasn't ready in time?
Or, it may have been torque steer - which even in final form wasn't handled as well as the 1st gen cars (to be fair, it had to deal with a lot more torque).
Or, it may just have been cost. In any case, until somebody writes a definitive and well-researched insider story of the SHO, we'll never know.
*Ed Note- this just sho'd up on the email list. I'd love to give credit, but it appears that the copyright expired. Oh well, ,Thanks to whoever sent it in, it's indeed part of the GIII history*
Reprinted with the consent of
www.DrivingEnthsuiast.net. Jeff Fisher, Austin Texas
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