Reincarnation: a religious concept that the soul or spirit, at biological death, moves on to a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spiritual depending on the moral quality of the previous life’s actions. If that quality has been good, upon reincarnation, you move to a higher form.
Except this time, where the SHO engine takes a major step down into a Mercury Topaz. What did it do in its first life to deserve this cruel fate?
As we’ve said many times in our engine swap posts, old SHO engines never die – they do go on to live a second life. In this case, a 1989 SHO engine is swapped into a 1936 Ford Tudor, in a labor of love. And the result shows an extremely high level of creativity and professionalism.Link to original article: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/mar/03/fourteen-years-in-a-garage-pays-off-for-man/.
As we’ve said many times in past postings, old SHO engines never die – they go on to a second life after a transplant into something else. That something else ranges from 240Z, MBG, Austin-Healey, TR-7, sand buggy, Camaro, and a Lotus Esprit. And of course other Ford products, including a rear-wheel drive Focus and even back into a Taurus SHO converted to rear-wheel drive. Sometimes the swap is a POS hack job destined to be blown up, but more often it’s been done professionally where the person doing the swap can be proud of their work. That’s what we like to see, and that’s what this great engine deserves.
Here’s an example where a SHO engine has been swapped into a Fox-body ’93 Mustang convertible, a very natural home for the SHO engine.
Unfortunately we haven’t found the build-up story of this swap, only the 11 pages of pictures here (with video of it running). We’d like to know more about this 3.2 liter SHO and Aerostar automatic transmission swap. We did learn from what little has been written that the forward engine mounts on the SHO engine interfere with the stock swap bar mounts in the Mustang. One more bit of news to save in case you or we ever do this swap ourselves.
Read more of our engine swap stories here.
As we’ve said in numerous engine swap posts, old SHO engines never die. They go from a dead Taurus into something that died a well-deserved death of its own, something that in almost every case needed a much better engine than the one it originally came with. That’s the strength of Ford’s Yamaha designed and built V-6 engine – it’s worth keeping.
Today’s example is a swap into a 1979 Triumph TR7.
The TR7 was Triumph’s last attempt to modernize the classic British sportscar. But despite the thoroughly modern and aerodynamic ”doorstop” styling, the fatal mistake was in continuing to use a British engine and transmission along with “classic” (aka inherently and hopelessly flawed) British electronics. And to have it bolted together by a radical left-wing British Labor union that all but killed car production in Britain. It was therefore doomed from the start of its production in late 1974 to the demise of the brand itself in 1981.
And what an ending, given the late addition of a V-8 engine to produce the TR8. The 3.5 liter Rover-sourced V-8 engine (formerly a mid-60s GM unit) was a step in the right direction, but many problems remained – especially cooling. Nonetheless, the V-8 version is the one to look for: only 2500 were built. Early versions were carbureted, and should be avoided like the plague. Later editions were fuel injected, and worked better despite the rest of the car. Look for a different hood on the fuel injected version, with a mildly raised section to clear the intake.
TR7s and TR8s immediately went into competition across North America, with successes in everything from autocrossing to SCCA Pro racing and even as an entry into Pro Rally. This author was lucky enough to see John Buffum in his pre-Audi days at a couple of Susquehanna Pro Rallies in Pennsylvania as he was on his way to winning the championship for 4 years straight in his TR8. We fondly remember his TR8 impatiently idling at the start of the stage we managed, every bit the V-8 burble, then showering us with rocks as he took off and disappeared into the night. Yes, fondly – every encounter with Buffum in those days was a great one to remember.
This brings us to our example below. You can read the full story here: http://www.team.net/TR8/Conversions/SHO.html. What to do with an old TR7 and an SHO engine sitting at a nearby engine recycler? The result is below. And how about that spare turbocharger? Throw it into the mix!
That’s how the mind of the swap enthusiast works and this TR7 is certainly a great example.
You never know what you’re going to see at Cars and Coffee events. While the event started in Los Angeles, even here in Austin we have an incredibly wide variety of entrants. We’ve seen all sorts of classics from the 1910s and up, exotics like Lotus Esprits are common, and at least1 Lamborghini Gallardo with twin turbos is commonplace. But there are also a wide variety of American cars, ranging from classic Olds Cutlasses to Mustangs.
See the full gallery of the show here: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?page_id=10701
Speaking of Fords, what has been missing to date are examples of the eighties and early nineties performance cars: the Taurus SHO, Thunderbird SC, and Mustang SVO. To date (and we haven’t missed a show yet), we’ve had exactly 1 Thunderbird SC and 1 Mustang SVO (both in beautiful condition, we wanted to buy them both). And not a single SHO!
That changed today. This is a white 1990 model, with a transplanted 1989 engine. The original engine is undergoing mods to bring it up to, as the owner says, “the same HP level of the new (Gen-IV) SHOs”. It was great to see this car, it brought back lots of memories of our own 1989 SHO, and we’ll look forward to seeing it with it’s new engine someday. She also lamented the fact that the new Gen-IV SHO is an overweight pig, a sad fact we wholeheartedly agree with.
Meanwhile, Central Texans, get your Gen 1 and 2 SHOs to the show, along with your Mustang SVOs and Thunderbird SCs.
- Front and back fenders, bumpers, and rocker panel moldings – custom made of carbon fiber
- Steel hood
- SVT heated remote control outside rear view mirrors
- Upper mounted WRC Focus air spoiler
- Rear APC tail lamps
- 5” Hella front driving lights
- Focus RS headlamps
- Front upper and lower grill assemblies are Imported from England
- Sean Hyland Billit radio antenna
- Factory installed moon roof
- Front mounted ATL Super Cell 100 – 22 gallon NASCAR fuel cell
- Optima yellow top 12 volt battery
- Fluidyne high flow radiator
- Polished stainless steel dual mufflers
- High flow Magna Flow high performance dual exhaust
- Rear engine cover is made of ¾ inch plexiglass
- Multimatic custom adjustable coil over front and rear suspension and sway bars
- Mustang SVT Cobra 40th anniversary front red brake calipers and 13” rotors
- Lincoln LS rotors and T-Bird Coupe calipers on the rear
- Cobra Daytona colour matched light weight sport front seats
- Momo steering wheel
- Autometer carbon fiber Ulta-lite gauges
- Custom Bullit dash insert
- SVT clutch, brake and gas pedals
- Power Windows and door locks
- Kenwood Excelon DVD, GPS in dash 1000 watt 8 speaker sound system
- Air Conditioning
- Aluminum framed interior and custom made Mulitmatic roll bar assembly
- Custom made ROH 3-piece polished alloy wheels
- 18” x 8” Yokohama sport front tires
- 18″ x 10″ Yokohama sport rear tires
This is a smart dealer – they’ve built a nice “stable” of performance and classic cars that they show, race, and use to draw customers into their showroom.
Polito Ford Lincoln of Lindsay, Ontario Canada (~75km form Toronto) is our kind of automobile dealer. First, a Ford dealer. Second, a dealer with it’s own collection of high-performance cars. The 1995 Taurus SHO racecar below is one example from their stable. A balanced and blueprinted SHO V-6 powers this machine, featuring an OMP race seat and a Multimatic adjustable coilover suspension. This is also a reminder of the days when Multimatic raced SHOs, before their switchedto Mustangs in the late nineties. Multimatic was very successful with their SHO racecars and very few examples of this important chapter of SHO history remain today.
Kudos to Polito Ford – and remember to support the kind of dealer driving enthusiasts want to see with your new car purchases.
As we’ve said in many posts before, old Taurus SHO engines never die – they get transplanted into something else and start their second life. Our engine swap catagory is full of such examples.
But eventually they do finally die… and what then? Here is one such example. The owner put the most unique part of the engine – the intake manifold, on eBay, and from there it wound it’s way to our workshop for only 50 bucks. It was too good to pass up - and since we were an original owner of a Generation 1 Taurus SHO many years ago, we could hardly miss out on getting a surviving example of what is probably the wildest production manifold in existance into our hands again.
We envision making some sort of hanging wall display out of it… as only a true Ford nutcase would. And before you ask, when it’s complete it won’t be going into our living room or our den… it will go into the garage. We do have to maintain some level of standards around here…
The seller provided all the parts, so it’s a matter of cleanup, assembly, and mounting. His attempt at polishing the manifold didn’t work out… but we had planned on cleaning it all up and repainting it anyway. So our first step will be to find the best way to clean aluminum, then we need to find the correct and original color paint.
And if any readers have any suggestions to help, we’d appreciate it.
We’ve enjoyed collecting stories about transplanted SHO V-6 engines. Old SHO engines apparently never die, because they’ve wound up swapped into everything from Miatas to MGs to Ford Rangers. And now this, a custom-built “sand limo” 4-seater. We found it on Craigslist for sale in southern California.
Unfortunately close-up pics were not provided - too bad!
The “Sandlimo” is 4 seat dune buggy/sand car with 18 inches of travel. It features a V-6 Ford SHO engine with a bus tranny and King shocks.
Look in the “Engine Swap” tag for more stories about engine swaps. Meanwhile, we’ll keep looking for more transplanted SHO engines. And why are all transplanted SHO engines V-6s? It’s time for some V-8 SHO engine swaps!
Yes, 1989 SHO. One of the truly better ideas built by Ford built during the renaissance lead by people like Donald Peterson. To we middle-aged enthusiasts, those were our ”good old days” – since we weren’t old enough to drive in the 60′s muscle car era and since the cars of the late eighties and nineties were much faster and better anyway. Ford offered performance models of the Thunderbird, Mustang and Taurus straight from the factory. Each offered special technologies: a supercharged V-6 in the Thunderbird coupled with an advanced suspension (double A-arm front, independent rear), a high winding engine built by Yamaha in the Taurus SC, and a fuel injected V-8 in the Mustang (coupled with a stone age suspension not unlike that of the 2011 Mustang). We’ve owned about a dozen Mustangs from that era, although unfortunately we never had a chance to own a Thunderbird SC (although thanks to Hertz premium rentals at DFW we’ve put several hundred miles on rental SCs – usually – thanks a lot Hertz – without the benefit of the required high-octane gas). Our greatest disappointment? That Ford of North America still can’t get its act together to offer the best of these technologies in a single rear wheel drive car.
The Taurus SHO was the most exotic of the three, although given it’s stealthy styling the casual spectator certainly couldn’t tell. But inside and it was a very special product that Ford planners and engineers put a lot of unique engineering and suspension tuning effort into. So much so that here we are 21 years later still thinking of our time with our own 1989 SHO. We clearly remember our pre-purchase road test (spinning the wheels accidentally coming out of the Ford dealership), our 1700 mile cross-country drive a few days later, the 3-day mud-covered drive thru fabulous forest roads in Pennsylvania spectating at an SCCA Pro Rally a year later, and 80 thousand miles later trading it in for – surprisingly – almost no depreciation. And then there was our ride in the Bondurant SHO. WOW!
And we remember issues aplenty, including the back-breaking Lear-Seigler sport seats, the abominable windshield wipers that were so weak that they got progressively worse at speed until they stood straight up at 85 MPH (which is not what you want to discover on the QEW passing over Lake Ontario in wet snow while on the way to the Anchor Bar 90 miles away), and the cracked transmission case (thankfully covered by the 100k warranty, along with all the other ills). But issues aside, the SHO had very special attributes which taken together made it a consistently fun drive and one of the best 4-door sports sedans we’ve ever owned. It won’t hold a candle to modern sedans such as a G37S, but it was the best 4-door sport sedan you could buy at the time and it was very likely the fastest for several years in a row.
Our own 1989 SHO was an an exact duplicate of SHO tested by MotorWeek below. Like theirs, ours was built well before the SHO even went on sale. So early that it was probably one of the first off the assembly line. The following video is from a new model-year introduction… unfortunately A video of their later full test doesn’t seem to be available on YouTube. But enjoy. And think back to a day and age when the Taurus had it’s own unique engine, not one shared with trucks and over-weight Lincolns. And of the day when a SHO weighed nearly a full thousand pounds less than the obese boat Ford has the nerve to label “SHO” these days….
Recently we passed on an opportunity to buy an exact duplicate of our 1989 SHO, as well as an opportunity to buy an immaculate Thunderbird SC. Too bad… but then we’ve been there and done most of that. We may still go for the SHO or SC one of these days, but there are a lot of other great classic cars to explore and our heart is currently set on a 240Z (which could certainly use a SHO engine swap!).
On our site, you’ll find lots more SHO news in the “Ford Taurus SHO” category and “SHO” tags, as well as in the “Engine Swap” category “old SHO engines never die”).
And visit the special SHO section on our website for lots more information as well as the story of our own ownership experiences: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-ford/special-report-sho/index.html.