Ah, the old Ford Taurus SHO. Most people have at least heard about it, but even 30-plus years after hitting the road, it still manages to surprise people. Imagine taking your McLaren 720S to an open track event in 2023, only to see the flat face of a white first-generation Taurus hanging out in your rearview mirror. At least it stayed in the rearview, which can't be said for other drivers featured in the video above.

The clip comes from Adam Hartlmeier, and in the spirit of transparency, he's not unknown to your humble author. Adam and his wife Michelle are major SHO enthusiasts, owning a legit fleet of first-generation models including two of the four Ninja Turtle SHO race cars that campaigned in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk series through the early 1990s. No, the car in this video isn't one of them – that's a story for a different time. For now, we're focused on a white 1990 SHO that is comfortably modified for fun at the race track.

Ford Taurus SHO Ninja Turtle Race Car Owned By Adam and Michelle Hartlmeier
Ford Taurus SHOs Owned By Adam and Michelle Hartlmeier
Ford Taurus SHO Owned By Adam and Michelle Hartlmeier

Photo Credit: Chad Corcoran

By comfortably modified, we mean there's nothing extraordinary happening here. There are no turbochargers, superchargers, or nitrous oxide. There's no sequential transmission. There aren't steamroller tires with moon-sized brakes. And the aero package consists of a NASCAR-style wing at the back. Chatting online with Motor1.com, Hartlmeier estimates approximately 250 horsepower at the wheels (front wheels) from a mostly stock 3.2-liter SHO V6 engine. It rides on coilovers, and it packs 13-inch brakes versus the stock 10-inchers. It's also gutted, with a dry weight of 2,600 pounds.

The in-car footage comes from a recent open track session at Blackhawk Farms, a small 1.92-mile track in northern Illinois. We won't lie – we love the dichotomy of a McLaren 720S entering the track followed by a 33-year-old Ford Taurus. And we love even more that the McLaren stays in view, for a few laps anyway. It easily pulls ahead on the straights but can't quite escape the Taurus in the corners. That is, until Hartlmeier overcooks a corner and spins out. It's the last we see of the 720S, but the old SHO goes on to pass multiple Miatas, a Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, an E30 BMW, a Porsche Cayman, and more.

Hartlmeier emphasizes the SHO is a racer, whereas most other rides at the event were multipurpose track/street cars. But we're still talking about cars packing considerably more power, designed from the factory to be all kinds of fun in the corners. The Taurus was designed to carry people in comfort, and yet the ubiquitous rental sedan is seen here passing car after car. Hartlmeier says most people are surprised by the SHO's speed. That's why it's arguably the sleepiest factory sleeper that ever slept.

Special thanks to the Hartlmeiers for sharing photos and stories with us. For more Taurus SHO action, check out Motor1.com's Rambling About Cars podcast with Zach Wright, owner of an eight-second 1995 Taurus SHO drag car affectionately called the Blue Turd.

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