At $3,900, Does This 1990 Ford Taurus Mean it’s SHO Time?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

With 220 horsepower on tap, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Taurus may not seem very super high output. Those ponies however, were really something back in the day. Let’s see if this SHO also comes with a super high price.

I attended a science lecture last Friday evening at CalTech’s Ramo Auditorium. The presentation was on clouds, and quite amazingly there were three speakers there to lead the discussion of the subject. The most memorable takeaway from the talk was that in their role as important elements of our dynamic ecosystem, clouds are trying to both kill us all and save the planet from certain doom. It was all very bewildering.


I think that the 2007 Audi RS4 we all looked at earlier that day might prove equally befuddling to many a passenger. That’s owed to the fact that the original interior had been removed, and in its place sat a set of seats and related bits out of a later S5. That’s a coupe interior in a saloon with the rear seat now just a two-place affair and the wrong model embossed on the backrests.

The energy required to explain that incongruity was seemingly too much for many, as was the car’s $20,500 price. In the end, it fell in a 75 percent Crack Pip loss.

Friday’s RS4 did represent a hotter edition of a standard sedan, in its case the A4. That tactic of taking a family car and imbuing it with higher performance bonafides has long been a tradition in the automotive industry. It’s given us such venerable names as the Pontiac GTO, Chrysler’s 300 A through L, and the subject of our attention today, the Ford Taurus SHO.


As most everyone is aware, the Taurus proved to be a huge hit for Ford when it was introduced in the ‘80s. Its aero styling and comprehensive set of standard features made the Taurus a winner with the buying public. It initially wasn’t particularly performance oriented though, even though it was available made with a stick. That lack of heat under the hood was addressed beginning in 1989 with the SHO.


The hot Taurus arrived with an engine that featured DOHC heads and a nest of snakes intake that were designed by the Japanese company, Yamaha. The engine was loosely based on the Taurus’ existing V6 and featured an iron block under its alloy heads and snakes.


The engine found its way under the Taurus’ hood by happenstance. It was originally intended as the motivational speaker of a planned mid-engine Fiero competitor. When the bean counters killed that, the ink was already dry on the Yamaha contract and so Ford needed to find the engine a new home. Thus was created the legendary Taurus SHO.

Sadly, not all legends survive over time and I can’t tell you the number of SHOs I seen abandoned to the junk yards.


That’s too bad because not only are they are really interesting as cars and as a bit of automotive history, but they’re also pretty fun to drive.

This 1990 edition not only looks to be that party on wheels, but it also appears to be in appreciably decent shape. It comes in Vibrant White over a black leather interior and the condition of both body and cabin are claimed by its seller to be an 8 out of 10. That’s a solid B, which if my old report cards are anything to go by is cause for celebration.


There’s a modest 128,000 miles on the car and the ad notes a recent replacement of the front struts. Other updates include new plugs and wires as well as the intake and cam cover gaskets. The pictures show the car with temporary Pennsylvania plates, however the seller does note that the title is clean.


Another plus noted by the seller is the car’s condition. He says you won’t find another as clean, and while I’ll be we could prove that wrong, that doesn’t undermine the fact that a tidy first-gen SHO is indeed a rare bird. If you’re looking for one of these, then this one that you should probably be looking at.


The question however, is whether or not anyone should spend $3,900 to turn that key. That’s the asking price, and it’s now incumbent upon you to do you duty and vote on that price. What do you think, is this hot Taurus worth that $3,900 asking? Or, is that just too much to SHO?

You decide!


Norfolk, VA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Kenneth Denny for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.