Although many car enthusiasts today don’t realize it, the 1989 Ford Taurus SHO changed the car world to what it is today. The vehicle was created by Yamaha and Ford. It possesses a SHO V6 engine, which was unlike any engine at the time. The Taurus was the second fastest four-door car in the world, trailing the BMW M5. Also, the Taurus went from zero to 60 in just 6.5 seconds.
Additionally, the vehicle gave drivers great gas mileage. Drivers cruising on the highway at 70 mph were able to get up to 30 miles per gallon (mpg). There are plenty of cars that are built today that are unable to reach 20 mpg on the highway. In the sections below, you will be provided with a complete breakdown of the 1989 Ford Taurus SHO and its impact on today’s vehicles.
The Ford Taurus SHO and its impressive 3.0-liter, DOHC, Yamaha V6 engine came out of nowhere in 1989. A 3.0-liter engine may not sound impressive today, but this was something that was unheard of in the late 1980s. Although many people at the time didn’t realize it, the Ford Taurus Super High Output (SHO) changed the performance world.
The engine possessed amazing details, such as the 7,300 RPM redline. The engine’s redline was merely in place to keep the accessories intact. Also, the engine was capable turning 8,500 all day long. Details like its maximum output of 220 naturally aspirated hp, which for 1989 standards, made the car one of the highest hp-per-displacement NA engines in the world.
The 1989 Ford Taurus SHO possessed a unique dual-stage intake manifold. Although the intake manifold looks like something that was built by NASA, the engine is known for more than its looks. The six long primary intake runners were designed to optimize air and fuel delivery. This gave the vehicle better torque at low engine speeds. At 3,950 RPM, secondary butterflies would open the other six intake runners, shorter runners that other vehicles possessed, which fed the engine at higher velocities.
Although this type of RPM wouldn’t make a difference on a light motorcycle, it had a tremendous impact on the For Taurus SHO. It allowed the 3,200-pound vehicle to go from zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds, and run on a top speed of 143 mph. In comparison, the 1989 Ford Taurus SHO can go from zero to 60 faster than the 2018 Toyota Prius, Hyundai Accent, KIA Soul EV and other vehicles. Also, the Ford Taurus was able to record a 15-second quarter mile time.
The Ford Taurus has just five horsepower less than the 5.0-liter V8 Mustang in 1989. This showcases the type of power the engine Yamaha created. Additionally, the SHO V6 does not require an air pump to meet emission standards. In fact, outside of California, the vehicle does not need an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
Moreover, cruising on the highway with the Ford Taurus at 70 mph allowed you to receive up to 30 mpg. This was one of the most fuel efficient vehicles at the time. Also, there are a variety of vehicles that you can purchase today that do not reach 30 mpg. For instance, the Kia Sedona, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger SRT have an MPG less than 20.
The engine was entirely built by Yamaha in Japan, using the same dimensions as Ford’s 3.0-liter Vulcan V6. The car possesses a non-interference engine, which is something that is considered uncommon for high-reviving Japanese mills to produce. A non-interference engine doesn’t allow the valves and pistons to interfere with one another. This prevents catastrophic failure to the vehicle. Also, it allows the engine to breathe better than an interference engine because the valves can open earlier, close later and open wider.
In addition, the engine was originally invented for use in a mid-engine Ford sports car called the G34. At the time, many people believed Ford was building a car to compete with the mid-engine Pontiac Fiero. The Fiero was a popular vehicle at the time that came into the scene in 1984. The vehicle had 92 hp from its Iron Duke four cylinder. However, the engine Ford and Yamaha created was special. The engine delivered 140 hp, which made the Fiero look like weak competition. It showcased how Ford and Yamaha changed the car world.
A 220 hp in a small mid-engine two-seat sports car in the mind 1980s would’ve shamed the Pontiac in a race. During that time, the type of power the engine produced was in the same territory as a Ferrari 308. The SHO-powered GN34 was Ford’s first true attempt to put a Ferrari-fighting, GT40-esque car into production.
Yamaha changed the way future engines looked and its abilities. The engine the Ford Taurus SHO possessed showed other companies that a vehicle’s engine can be efficient and powerful. Moreover, in 1989 the vehicle was the second fastest four-door car in the world, as it trailed the BMW M5. However, the BMW M5 was not a vehicle that many people could afford. Its price was three times greater than the cost of the Taurus SHO. This showed other companies that a vehicle can be fuel efficient, have great horsepower and be something that many car buyers can afford. Furthermore, if the Taurus had a revised suspension system, dual exhaust, sport seats and 15-inch alloy wheels, the car would be able to keep up in the corners with a BMW M5 as well.
Additionally, the sales and efficiency of the Ford Taurus convinced Ford to keep the car in the lineup on an indefinite basis. The company preserved the vehicle’s stealthy looks with the logo carved onto its bumper. Also, in 1990 Ford gave customers the option to order the “Plus Package,” which added a power bulge on the hood and a spoiler. The vehicle has continued to improve its performance and style over the years, and is still a vehicle that Ford has available for drivers to purchase.