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Story by Matt Train
Please join me in welcoming Matt Train to the Speed:Sport:Life family. Matt is a long-time Taurus SHO fanatic, trailer-towing iconoclast, and all-’round nice guy. His new column is called “Just Like This Train”, and if you don’t like the title, blame me; I’m the Joni Mitchell fan, not Matt. Enjoy! — Jack Baruth
The press conference made me cringe. Look, the man’s got it all wrong. It was NEVER pronounced “Taurus SHOW”. The cognoscenti always spelled the letters out: Ess – Aitch – Ohh. Super High Output. And if you knew what the letters SHO did to the pedestrian Ford Taurus, you damn well used respect when you called that car by name. Back in the day, the Taurus SHO was heavy artillery in the street wars.
Its been a long time since a Ford Taurus has been worthy of those letters. The 1989 Taurus SHO debuted to 5 people giving standing ovations, and the rest of the population wondering what the hell they were looking at. There was nothing like the SHO when it came out. In 1989 context, an exotic, quad-cam 24-valve V6 with 220 horsies slotted under the hood of a 3,100-lb 4 door sedan meant instant bragging rights, and the super-Taurus could run with the best and the fastest sports sedans in the world, period. Backed by a 5 speed manual transmission and some talented chassis tuning, it was capable of showing its taillights to almost everything in its class. When it was new, it mopped the floor with the 130 hp Pontiac 6000 STE, and embarrassed the 160 hp Nissan Maxima SE, two of the better sporting sedans in the SHO’s price class. But hey, let’s dream bigger: the Fox Body 5 liter was just a downshift away from the history books, and most BMWs were fair play as long as they lacked an M badge. Heck, even some of those didn’t stand a chance against that screaming Yamaha V6.