Fast factory versions of frumpy family sedans are nothing new - they’ve been around almost as long as the industry has - but few really capture the mind of the auto enthusiast like the Ford Taurus SHO (Super High Output) did during the 1990s. Perhaps because it was one of the few American takes on the concept at the time, or perhaps because it was simply a quick and fun sedan, the SHO’s fans are still clamoring for a revival.
The fans may finally get their wish as Ford is expected to launch a new SHO model based on the 2010 Taurus sedan, which is set to be revealed at next month’s Detroit Auto Show. Adding to the speculation, the guys at Jalopnik have managed to get their hands on several images of an incomplete SHO-badged dashboard taken at an unknown Ford design studio.
While Ford is yet to confirm the car’s existence, if built it would almost certainly benefit from the company’s first EcoBoost engine – a 3.5L direct-injected and turbocharged V6 with an estimated 350hp (261kW) and 350lb-ft (474Nm) of torque.
Ford’s first-generation Taurus SHO was initially centered around a stock of Yamaha-designed 3.0L V6 engines intended for a sporty two-seater that was killed off before it reached production. Since Ford still had the engines, it decided to use them for the SHO, its hottest version of what was, at the time, the world’s best-selling car. Starting in 1989, production ran for three generations over a decade, ending in 1999. By the end the car was almost unrecognizable, however.
The first two generations excelled with manual transmissions and high-output (for the time) V6s. For the third model, built from 1996-1999, a V8 making about the same power as the V6 it replaced was specified, but the manual transmission was removed as an option. Declining popularity and sales that never passed 9,000 units per year meant this was the last generation of the SHO.