Maybe it’s a sign of age, but when I was first burning rubber down the Jersey Shore, the guys with the really hot-looking cars were as likely as not poseurs. The folks you didn’t want to race – not if you wanted to hang on to your cash – were the ones with the “beaters,” often dented, occasionally rusted out, but always looking like they couldn’t get out of their own way until you lined up at the stoplight.
That’s much the idea Ford Motor Co. had in mind when it introduced the first Taurus SHO, back in 1989. No, you couldn’t order the dents, but you could get what seemed like a plain Jane family sedan that packed an awesome Yamaha 220-horsepower six-banger under the hood. Add a track-ready suspension and you were sitting behind the wheel of a SHO, a fearsome beast that could take down most of the muscle cars of the era.
Sadly, Ford seemed to lose interest in this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing concept. The last run was just plain boring and few even noticed when the SHO slinked off the streets, back in 1999. But, with the launch of an all-new Taurus aimed at recreating the excitement of the original sedan, it seemed just so, well, absolutely right to bring back the SHO, as well.
Think of the 2010 Ford Taurus as the “ultimate sleeper performance sedan,” suggests product program chief Frank Davis, with a fair bit of hyperbole, but it’s nonetheless a boast the new car can live up to.