For $990, Taurus! Taurus! Taurus!

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

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and to show our respect, our Nice Price or Crack Pipe contender is an all-American icon that has benefitted from its Japanese invasion.

Along with Japan, Italy made some questionable choices of teams in WWII. Since then, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati and certain Alfa Romeos have gone a long way to making up for the nation's past transgressions. Sadly, yesterday's rare but mundane 1990 Alfa 33 Imola didn't offer appropriate reparations, as demonstrated by its 72% Crack Pipe loss. That number would have been even greater except that apparently Monica Bellucci does offer appropriate reparations.


When the Taurus and its Mercury sibling, the Sable, arrived on dealers' lots, it was like a time traveler from the far flung future had swooped down and squatted them out, so advanced and slippery they did seem. Ford invested heavily in the dynamic duo, although as far as their engine choices where concerned, that investment didn't extend to camshafts, as neither the 4 nor the 6 sported more than a lone rod pusher.

That all changed in 1989 when Ford had to figure out what to do with the tribble-like massing of Yamaha 4-cam 3-litre sixes, intended for the stillborn GN34, and which were now being used as doorstops and had people tripping over them in the restrooms. The engine was about the same size as the Vulcan V6 that was the top option in the Taurus, but the Japanese-built motor, with its origami intakes and rev-happy character would be like a Marshall Plan for Ford's mid-sizer. Hence debuted the SHO, with the 220-horse 4-cam and a Mazda-built 5-speed stick. Special bodywork and interior upgrades helped the car feel a little more special than the ones you'd rent at the airport, but were subtle enough for the car to still be considered a sleeper.


Now, the Taurus was available in both slippery sedan and modern art-esque wagon, but only the trunked version was ever told it was SHO time. That hasn't stopped enterprising individuals from creating their own SHOgons, and that appears to be case with this Canuck Winter Beater. Based on the pictures, this 1995 Taurus SHO wagon has all the show, but the question remains, does it have any of the go? Up front there's the SHO facia, and down the flanks the car has been clothed in SHO cladding, as well as the 24-Valve badges of the later hot Tauri. Out back things are a little less SHO and more regular wagon, as the car sports the standard rear bumper and no aero-aids to speak of. There are twin tail pipes, jutting out from under that bumper at right angles, so at least that's one positive sign that there's some Yamahappenings going on under the hood.


If this wagon does sport an SHO drivetrain (and I did ask them in an email, but they didn't bother to respond) then it likely is the 3.2-litre six backed up by the AX4S four-speed automatic. The 5-speed was offered in the second generation SHO, but the slusher proved much more popular and Ford at least gave the engine those 200 additional ccs and 15 ft-lbs more torque to make up for the autobox's inherently languid behavior. All said and done, this car should be good for zero to sixty sprints in the six and a half second range.


Or maybe not, because, as befitting its sub-four figure price, this Taurus looks a little worse for wear. The dings, scrapes and sand-blaster dulled nose may indicate both an interior and mechanicals that have seen better days as well. Also, would it have killed them to put the back slicers on the correct sides? That's not to say this car is a double bagger, after all the forest green paint is shiny in most places, and it looks to only be missing one piece of exterior trim - just ahead of the passenger door. At first glance, I thought this may have been the Taurus SHO wagon that Pete Gaines almost bought a couple of years back, but a quick check proved this to be yet ANOTHER metallic green SHO family truckster.


So, let's say this rode hard and put away wet Taurus wagon actually walks the walk and sports some sort of SHO-ness under the hood. Do you think $990 Canadian for it is SHO-nuff too much? Or, does that price make you say the SHO must go on?

You decide!


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