Conan O’Brien Bought His Taurus SHO Without Knowing How to Drive Stick

By 3 Min Read

Conan O’Brien has plenty of fans at Motor1, and a few of us also fancy the Ford Taurus SHO. Conan has long poked fun at himself for driving an old Taurus, but we know the SHO is something special. He spoke about it recently on his Team Coco podcast, revealing he actually bought it without knowing how to drive a manual and then promptly hit the streets of LA. Yikes.

Speaking as someone whose first manual car was also a Ford Taurus SHO, allow me to say I’m impressed Conan survived those initial trials. The old SHO used Ford’s MTX-IV transmission, a gearbox sourced from Mazda and beefed up a bit for SHO duty. It wasn’t a terrible design, but it was notchy and oftentimes fussy getting back into first—exactly what you want when the lengthy red light turns green and you can’t get it into gear. And while the high-revving V-6 had a respectable 220 horsepower, its 200 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,500 RPM made it a bit tricky to get moving until you got used to it.

At least I had a bit of three-pedal experience from BMWs before purchasing my SHO, so I acclimated pretty quickly. In the podcast, O’Brien says he “bought it on faith” in Massachusetts then went to a supermarket parking lot with his brother, who showed him the basics. That’s pretty typical for most three-pedal newbies, but then he took it to Los Angeles where he was “grinding gears like crazy” until he eventually got the hang of it. And for those wondering, yes, he still owns it. He confirmed as much in the podcast.

The old SHO made several appearances through O’Brien’s career in television. Brad Pitt famously dropped the clutch for a smoky burnout in New York, and on TBS he tried to convince an insurance agent it was worth millions. Arguably the best SHO bit came during his Late Night tenure where, among other things, he hilariously referred to the manual shifter as the “Cone Bone.”

Stay classy, Conan, and don’t sell the SHO just yet. These are going up in value, and with your celebrity ownership in the mix, it could fetch at least $2,500 at auction.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *