Well known as a produced of boring sedans, and boring cars in general with a few very notable exceptions (the Mustang comes to mind), Ford decided in the late 80s to change its image. It took what was arguably one of the most boring cars ever built, and turned it into a scorching-hot, rubber-burning monster called the 1988 Ford Taurus SHO. The Taurus’ design was exceedingly aerodynamic and modern, and with the SHO badge (SHO stands for ‘Super High Output’) came all sorts of subtle cosmetic changes, such as spoilers and nice alloy wheels. Despite being overpowered and front-wheel-drive, the Taurus SHO was admired, and praised for its excellent road behavior and superior handling.
Powering the Taurus SHO was a very remarkable engine, a 3-liter, 24-valve V6 designed and manufactured by Yamaha, that produced an incredibly smooth 220 horsepower and 200 lb/ft of torque. The SHO was good for a top speed of 140 miles per hour, and a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, with the help of a rugged five-speed manual gearbox, courtesy of partner Mazda.
When it was introduced, the SHO had few rivals in the super-fast sedan category; only the BMW M5 and 750i were faster, and both were significantly more expensive. Despite its obvious attributes, the 1988 Taurus SHO and its successors didn’t sell very well, in great part due to Ford’s uncharacteristic shyness in promoting it.