The NEW Ford Taurus SHO
While it looks as if much of the car industry is applying the brakes, Ford seems to be ignoring the automotive sales slump by throwing things into overdrive. Case in point? Last week’s unveiling of the Ford Taurus SHO.
For those in the know, the Super High Output (or SHO) edition of the Taurus was one of Ford’s most popular cars during its 1989 to 1999 run. Ten years later, the company has resurrected this storied brand in grand fashion with a complete makeover by African-American designer Earl Lucas, who supervised a comprehensive team of approximately 400 engineers to ensure that the SHO made its 2010 production deadline.
Debuting at the Chicago Car Show, the SHO was greeted by a standing ovation from approximately 30 SHO enthusiasts who were invited to attend by Ford staffers. Even those who are unaware of the SHO’s history will be impressed with Ford’s new flagship sedan.
From its aggressive-looking grill to its Eco Boost engine (which offers V-8 power at V-6 MPG) the SHO is certainly poised to reinvigorate auto sales when it becomes available this summer. Eco Boost, one of Ford’s newest toys, allows muscle cars like the SHO to achieve upwards of 360 horsepower without sacrificing the 25 MPG of a smaller V-6 engine. Knowing that many SHO drivers are going to want to put the pedal to the metal, Ford is also providing the SHO with steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters, usually reserved for race cars like Porsche and Lamborghini.
Chief engineer Pete Reyes, whose previous specialty was engineering trucks, says that he was asked to work on the SHO so that his truck-building expertise would ensure that the car “would lose none of its swagger.”
When asked about the rush to get the SHO released by 2010, Reyes suggests that Ford is full throttle into a comeback effort and that the SHO will cast the right halo over the brand.
For his part, designer Earl Lucas is gracious about the part his team played but makes no effort to hide his enthusiasm. “I’m very happy with the outcome,” he says. Lucas, previously lauded for his impressive interior design of the Ford Flex, lobbied to do an external design for the SHO.
Assuming the rest of the buying public reacts the way the SHO enthusiasts did, we need not worry about his next gig—designing more stellar exteriors.
“With us,” he says, “it’s about being given an opportunity. Once we’re given that, we can show what we can do. Getting the opportunity is the hard part.” Luckily for us, Ford gave Lucas a chance with the SHO, and we all get to reap the reward.
Those who are interested in purchasing one, however, should plan ahead. The SHO enthusiasts are already bickering over who will be allowed to purchase the first car off the assembly line.
(Ford Taurus SHO; release date July 2009; starts at $37,995; fordvehicles.com/2010taurus)
Reprinted from UPTOWN Online.