The first Taurus SHO is still arguably the best of the bunch, with its high-performance, front-drive formula being hailed as a breakthrough when it launched for the 1989 model year. It was, quite simply, unlike anything else an American manufacturer had made before. Its 220 horsepower V6 engine gave it remarkable performance off the line, and despite being front-wheel drive, it handled well too. To put the SHO’s power into context, a Ferrari 328 GTS from the same era made 267 horsepower and could sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.4 seconds. The SHO took 6.7 seconds to get to 60 mph, making it only around 0.3 seconds slower than the Italian supercar.
Its performance was made all the more shocking given its price, which came in just under $20,000 in base-spec form. The only faster sedans on the road were more than double the price. It’s easy to assume, then, that given this exceptional bang for the buck, Taurus SHOs would be practically flying out of showrooms, especially given the success of the regular Taurus sedan. In fact, the opposite was true — Ford missed its 20,000 unit sales target in the first year, managing only to shift around 15,000 units. The following year, just 8,000 examples were sold, and sales continued to be sluggish through to the launch of the second generation.
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