picture postOld News: 1996 Ford Taurus SHO mule

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1996 Ford Taurus SHO mule

Sent from Italy, by fellow car lover extraordinaire, Paolo, is this spy shot of a 1996 Ford Taurus SHO mule. Despite having seen the image in print over 20 years ago I’m still baffled by the headlights, which had led me to hope in futility that something unique was in the works. The mule’s trunk area appears to be wearing squared-up, faux paneling and the handsome (but cap-less) wheels come from prior generation SHO.

1989 Ford Taurus SHO

Ford had contracted with Yamaha in the 1980s to developed a 60Β° DOHC V6 for transverse applications; it was called the SHO (Super High Output). It debuted in 1989, on the first-generation Ford Taurus and was initially intended (and even marketed) as a one-year, limited option. However, having been concocted by the same team that produced the Mustang SVT Cobra, combined with its 220 hp and (mandatory) 5-speed, it proved quite popular as a legitimate American sport sedan package.

1992 Ford Taurus SHO

The second generation SHO was available from 1992 through 1995. Though much of the styling theatrics had been removed (of which I was a big fan), this successor cleaned up nicely and looked a little more sophisticated. It still used the same 3.0-liter SHO V6 and 5-speed but, for 1993, an automatic became available. Curiously, the automatics came with a 3.2-liter V6, producing the same hp but slightly less torque.

1996 Ford Taurus SHO

That leads us to our subject car, the 1996 Ford Taurus SHO. Not much of a looker, in my book, and it tried a different formula. This generation of SHO was only available with an automatic and it became the only Taurus to be equipped with a V8. It was 3.4 liters and produced 235 hp. The Taurus SHO was discontinued after the 1999 model year.

2016 Ford Taurus SHO

In the event you were unaware, there is a fourth-generation SHO, having been introduced in 2010. Interestingly, this time around, Ford is officially pronouncing it “show” (previous generations were pronounced S-H-O). No longer powered by a V8, this 2016 model has a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, producing 365 hp. That’s an increase of 130 hp, however, that extra power is tasked with propelling an extra half-ton of Taurus, compared to previous generations.