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Matt Wilder's 1990 SHO
FordMuscle was introduced to Matt Wilder, a resident of Nevada, through an inquiry he made to the magazine last month. We were happy he made the effort because it might have taken us even longer to recognize the attention Ford enthusiasts are giving the SHO. We were particularly impressed by the fact that at 21 years old, Matt was fond of the performance twisted Taurus. When he informed us that he was making the 5000 mile round trip to this summer's National SHO convention, we wanted to learn more. Pleased to discover that he was performing nearly all the modifications to the car himself, we asked him a few questions regarding his motivation for going with the SHO.

Q: What turned you on to the Taurus SHO?

A: Back in the winter of 2002 I was looking for a daily driver so my Mustang [1970 Fastback] could take a break for the winter. I had remembered my uncle mentioning a "Hot Rod Taurus" back in the 90's, so I looked them up online. To my amazement, the earlier SHO's were incredibly cheap, and just as cheap to insure. I had to have one. My buddy's dad from across the street informed me of a SHO he saw for sale in town, so I went to check it out. I got a test ride in it because at that time I didn't know how to drive a manual. When I felt the secondaries for the first time, I knew this car would be in my driveway that afternoon. I picked it up for $1100. My dad threw me the keys and said... "I'll see ya at home." Like I mentioned before, I had never driven a manual car. So I tried it and made it home without stalling it once. I had that SHO for around 4 months. Unfortunately, I totaled it just as I was getting the hang of driving it. After the wreck, I was having SHO withdrawals. Seriously. I sold off some of my stuff and picked up my current SHO from Denver, and have been messing with it ever since.

Q: How do people react to the car?

A: Well it all depends on who it is. For example, when I showed you guys the car, you were interested in what has been done, the history behind it, etc. Same applies when I show it to other SHO people. On the street, where almost no one knows what it is, they just think someone modified a Taurus. For example, whenever I hit a light with an import, occasional Mustang GT, WRX, etc. I always see them snickering at my car. When the light goes green, that all changes. At the next light neither the driver or passenger will look over at me, and they're definitely not laughing anymore. I think they are deep in thought, wondering how in the world their new Mustang just lost to a 15 year old Taurus.

Q: Where do you research new ideas for the car?

A: Well in the beginning, I would check out all of the SHO parts supplier's web sites like www.shonutperformance.com and www.shoshop.com to get basic ideas on what I could do to the car. Then I found www.shoforum.com. I post a lot over there and have learned almost all I know about SHO's from that site. Whenever something new or
innovative is designed for the SHO, that's the first place it shows up.

Q: What are your future goals for the car?

A: I'm pretty much done with it, unless I find a great deal on a direct port nitrous kit. That would be fun.

 

Let's take a closer look at some of the modifications Matt has made to his SHO.


The Yamaha DOHC 3.0L is not the kind of motor you are used to seeing being rebuilt in your neighborhood. It's refreshing that Matt did the component selection, assembly, and installation of the V6 in his own garage.
 
Matt performed some smooth porting and polishing work on the Yamaha heads. Here's a shot of an exhaust port.

 

   


Matt installed a rebuilt MT5 transmission which was outfitted with the Quaife LSD. The LSD is an aftermarket torque biasing differential designed for rail-like cornering. The MT5 was also set up with a Hi-Revs Race clutch, featuring a dual diaphragm pressure plate.

 
1989, 1990 and most 1991's were fitted from the factory with a sloppy cable activated shifter. The shifter of
choice can be found in all 1992-1995 MTX cars, which utilizes a rod shifting mechanism for more positive shifts. Matt has made the conversion on his 1990 SHO.
     

The front brakes have been upgraded to 13" Cobra discs with dual piston PBR calipers. Other suspension mods include subframe connectors, lowering springs, a front strut tower bar, and Koni adjustable strut inserts.
 
The Yamaha V6 is an impressive looking vacuum pump. Matt had the intake extrude honed.
     

The SHO was prepped for the Electric Red paint. Mixed with ice and red pearl, the combination was sprayed over a dark sealer.
   

 

 

 
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Matt's Motor Profile
Block 3.0L bored .030 over
Crank Offset ground factory crank (.010)
Heads Rebuilt, ported and polished
Pistons ROSS Forged Aluminum
Cams Custom Ground to Stage 1 specs
Intake Extrude honed intake
Miscellaneous Enlarged throttle body, 80mm MAF sensor, ZEX 55-75hp Dry Nitrous system

 

The Heart of the SHO
The Heart of every SHO lies under the hood. Every manual (MTX) SHO was outfitted with a Yamaha designed 3.0 DOHC V6. Originally, Ford asked Yamaha to use the block and internals from their 3.0 Vulcan motor, like those found in the base model Taurus GL. However, once Yamaha designed and built the DOHC heads, it was clear that the Vulcan block could not handle the 7000 RPM factory redline and high horsepower characteristics the motor was destined to have. So Yamaha went ahead and built Ford an entire engine, based on the Vulcan block.

A yet-to-be-verified myth surrounding the SHO motor is that in its' original design, the motor was producing over 300hp. Ford did not want their economy car Taurus beating up on their flagship Mustang GT sports car, so the power was cut down a bit to 220Hp. Nonetheless, most stock Fox Body 5.0 Mustangs will loose to a stock MTX SHO. That is still a very stout figure for the small 3.0 V6. In fact, the HP per Liter ratio is greater for this motor than it was for every production N/A Porsche built in 1990.

The most striking feature of the SHO engine is obviously the intake system. It uses airflow characteristics to its' advantage by utilizing a dual stage runner set-up. At any RPM below 3950, the long
runners, know as snakes, provide good low RPM torque. Once you hit 3950, vacuum actuated butterflies snap open in front of the short runners. These are commonly known as "secondaries". SHO owners can really feel and hear when the secondaries kick in. Once felt them for the first time, it's not uncommon to get addicted to the Yamaha's secondaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

SHO Production Numbers provided by Larry Eck of www.v8sho.com

Other SHO historical facts and insights provided by Don Mallinson of www.shoclub.com

If you are a Taurus SHO owner, we welcome you to register with FordMuscle Webmagazine and add your car to our Reader's Cars section.

If you have any comments regarding this article please email [email protected].

 

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