By Omar C.
When we think of American engines, a big OHV V8 comes to mind, from the legendary 426 Hemi to the ever popular LS, large displacement V8’s have become a staple of American car culture.
So why are we discussing a V6? Taurus SHO V6.
Well, the Taurus SHO V6 is quite atypical; displacing only three liters, this undersquare V6 revs up to 7000 RPM, while most traditional pushrod engines don’t go over 6000.
Commissioned for development in 1984, Japanese manufacturer Yamaha was contracted to produce a high performance 60º angle V6, to be mounted transversally in a concept mid engine car known as the GN34.
Making about 220 horsepower naturally aspirated this rev happy power plant was used during the nineties to power the Ford Taurus SHO, which stands for Super High Output.
Two iterations of this engine went into production, the earlier 3.0 liter version sported a 3.5 inch bore and 3.1 inch stroke, while the later 3.2 liter variant had a 3.6 inch bore with the same stroke.
A DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder setup completes this delightfully anomalous piece of engineering, considering its American origins; the only engine that resembles the Taurus SHO V6 3.0 in spirit would be the Buick GNX 3.8 V6 Turbo. While radically different from one another, both engines defied design conventions, and shifted the paradigms of their time regarding performance.
The SHO V6 was even more subversive, since it was employed for the front wheel drive Taurus from the early 90’s, a time when the USA was at an automotive dark age, a strange transition period following the 80’s downsizing tendencies.
Aside from Its original FWD sedan home, this engine has found itself in a variety of modified cars and projects, particularly in old British roadsters. Due to its narrow angle, it fits in most of the tiny engine bays of those nimble convertibles.
Aside from engine swaps, this particular V6 can be souped up quite a bit, by taking a second generation 3.2 engine, and swapping in the 3.0 more aggressive camshafts, an increase in power and response is easily obtained.
Affordable due to its undeserved unpopularity, the Taurus SHO V6 is a lost piece of American automotive history, which makes for a unique option to power a project car. Even aesthetically, the intake manifold curves around the engine and sweeps into the cylinder heads. Somewhat reminiscing of the Alfa Romeo Busso V6, this Taurus SHO is the epitome of hidden potential.