Monday, September 8, 2014

3k: SHOulda Been A Wagon: 1992 Ford Taurus Wagon, SHO swap

Few automobiles offer the versatility of loading up all seven seats and outgunning the poky semi-truck while looking like a casserole-carrying preacher's wife. This manual-shifting, 220-horsepower Taurus wagon is the front-drive Roadmaster rival that should have been. With handy upgrades and a price lower than its load floor, it's ready for your cargo and heavy right foot. And lots of casseroles. Find this 1992 Ford Taurus GL Wagon with SHO drivetrain swap in Detroit, MI for $3,000 via craigslist. 

Ford's first SHO, in 1989, featured a V6 and 5-speed manual only. That Yamaha-sourced unit carried over to the second generation in 1992. One year later, Ford listened to the shift-wary cretins of the American car market and offered a 4-speed automatic matched to a bored, 3.2L unit. The 3.0/5-speed continued alongside as standard equipment until it was dropped in 1996 for the ovoid third generation.

Graciously, this build features the 3.0L/5-speed combo sourced from a 1994 model, joined by a host of SHO and Ford family parts: sway bars, brakes, and interior pieces. Rear-facing jump seats perch over an air bag-supported rear suspension installed by the seller to accommodate heavy loads, which is good news for your mother-in-law. The only parts keeping this sleeper wagon from full-on cruiser duty are air conditioning and cruise control, both of which come with the sale uninstalled.

The paint is faded, it's got dents, and it leaks oil. In other words, it's a 20-year-old Ford Taurus. It has mud flaps and a functional trailer hitch, something your MG probably can't claim, and a 7,000 RPM redline, something your truck definitely can't touch. Roadmaster drivers may have more rear-drive fun, but this weighs about 1,000 pounds less. Low weight plus the Yamaha V6's technological advancement and the whole package's low price becomes a serious temptation.

See a more powerful wagon variant that should have been built? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. The (seemingly ubiquitous) A/C puzzle is always a bit of a letdown with interesting swaps. Probably because I live on a southern outcropping, surrounded by warm blue water on one side and warm watery marsh on the other, but going without A/C is best left to recreational drives only and not the daily vocational commute for the most part. Having never tried to replace or install A/C I am unfamiliar with this (apparently) Herculean and Einsteinian task.

    1. They're just complex enough to be outside of the realm of the casual handyman. It's a closed, pressurized system that requires unique tools and generates a bit of a mess if you aren't careful. It's usually an expensive procedure at a shop as well.
      I keep it off in my daily driver unless the Mrs. is with me and she requests it, and we live in the humid Midwest.

  2. i assume you're baiting me with the roadmaster comments ;) but any wagon with a stick gets my approval


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