Can we tempt the “The Tonight Show” host, Conan O’Brien, to give up his 1992 Ford Taurus SHO for the 2010 model? Will more horsepower, shiny paint, massaging seats and a center console sans dirt and hair sway O’Brien? Will he remember Amy Marentic’s last name?
The TV star’s long-running relationship with his 1992 Ford Taurus SHO was challenged when the all-new 2010 Taurus SHO made an appearance on the late-night comedy show on October 29, 2009. A national audience saw firsthand whether O’Brien’s steadfast love for his Jewel Green SHO could be tempted with the latest SHO head-turner from Ford.
O’Brien’s second-generation Taurus SHO has been the focus of the late night comedian’s skits many times including during O’Brien’s premier as host of “The Tonight Show” earlier this year.
During the skit O’Brien, who is confident there could never be a better performance sedan than his 1992 Taurus SHO, is tempted by the 2010 model’s 365-horespower V-6 and its high tech features. Amy Marentic, Ford’s Group marketing manager for Taurus, teaches O’Brien a thing or two when it comes to the Taurus SHO.
The allure of “the sleeper” sedan
Introduced in 1989, Taurus SHO was conceived as a discreet performance-oriented sports sedan, ideally suited to the automotive enthusiast needing the room and capability of a four-door full-size car. Known and loved for its high performance and unassuming exterior, Ford Taurus SHO was launched in limited production through 1999, with more than 100,000 were sold.
Two key factors made the original Taurus SHO sedan a favorite of the automotive cognoscenti, right out of the gate. The critical element, a Yamaha-developed 3.0-liter V-6 engine delivering 220 horsepower, delivered thrust through a five-speed manual transmission. The SHO twist was design subtlety.
Traditional American high-performance cars shouted their intentions with racing stripes, hood scoops and raised white letter tire sidewalls. Taurus SHO was understated, stealth.
The original Taurus SHO generated a loyal following of owners and enthusiasts, with an active club more than 1,000 members strong, an online forum with more than 10,000 registered users and a Web site (bringbackthesho.com) specifically devoted to convincing Ford to resurrect the SHO. The 2010 Taurus product development team spent significant time listening to SHO enthusiasts.
2010 Taurus SHO off to a strong start
Launched this past summer, the all-new Taurus including the Taurus SHO is off to a strong start and even bucked the industry trend in September with sales 60 percent higher than a year ago.
The Taurus debuted to rave reviews from the automotive press, and early customer demand validates the critical acclaim. Customers are especially interested in the Taurus SHO, achieving higher-than-expected take rates of 20 percent of the overall Taurus mix.
The foundation of the new 2010 Taurus SHO is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine. This advanced powerplant generates an estimated 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,500 rpm, resulting in significantly improved power, torque and fuel economy compared with larger, normally aspirated engines. This also is Ford’s most powerful EcoBoost engine.
A key element of the authentic SHO formula is the subtlety of its unique exterior design cues.
Features include sporty premium painted wheels, wrapped in standard low-profile 19-inch Goodyear Eagle or optional 20-inch Michelin high-performance tires, a decklid-mounted spoiler and twin chrome exhaust tips.