Motivated by General Geekery

1988 BMW 535is vx 1998 Ford Taurus SHO

Written By: der5er - Dec• 07•05

So, Dorri inspired me to write about two of my favorite cars–my current car, a 1988 BMW e28 535is, and my old car (the Genie), a 1998 Ford V-8 Taurus SHO.

Keep in mind, both of these cars were used as daily drivers. I only put my foot in them for fun occasionally.

I loved the SHO. With an engine rated at 235hp, leather interior, and a mean look from the front, it had everything I needed at the time. This car was big enough to carry the family around, and strong enough to take many other cars from the stop light. It took the curvy roads with ease–almost too much ease. And if I had a complaint about drivability, that would be it. It was also EXPSENSIVE to maintain. My particular SHO was in need of tires (every shop I called would only install ZR tires) and a new ECU–which had to be programmed at the dealer, for around $1000. Also, many (if not all) SHO are subject to cam failure. There is a weak point in the middle of the cam, whether due to age or stress I don’t know, where it would break, effectively grenading the engine. Many owners reported success with ‘welding’ this weak point, but I did not want to chance it. Plus, at the time, my round trip to work and back was around 140 miles…So, I needed something with better gas mileage. Enter a phase of my life that I won’t talk about called Ford ZX2…shudder
I didn’t talk about the SHO first because it was my favorite or because it was newer. Just because I owned it first. While I was still driving the SHO, my brother-in-law lived across the street from me and bought this car with horrible paint, ugly wheels, and a really loud clicking sound under the hood. Said it was the most reliable car in the world…then got stuck on the side of the road when the water pump failed. Oh, and it had Roundels on the hood and trunk…it was an 88 BMW e28 535is… I had never even looked longingly at a BMW, just assuming that they would be too expensive, even 10-15 years old.
Fast forward a couple of years, now I’m in Virginia with a much shorter commute, and that e28 is mine. It’s got prettier wheels (Hartge Style A), a new rear end (3.73 LSD), Z3 shifter, a valve adjustment, and….ugly paint on the roof and trunk. More recently, it’s gotten new control and thrust arms, and a new (lower) suspension. There’s a whole laundry list of other things that need done, but all in all, for it’s age, this is a great car. While the SHO handled ‘too well,’ this is just right. You can feel the far reaches of the car’s limits in the turns, knowing exactly when you’ve almost pushed it too far. For lack of better words, you can feel the road. Sure, it’s just a daily driver, but when I mash the accelerator in second and push it to the rev limiter, I can’t wipe the smile off my face the whole way home.

I would still love to own another SHO, but not if I had to give up my e28.

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