The Shogun is essentially a well executed car conversion performed by a company called Special Editions in Upland, California. Notable features was the Ford Taurus SHO V-6 drivetrain installed in a mid-engine configuration within the Ford Festiva bodyshell.

The concept for the Shogun is credited to Rick Titus (drove a Saleen Mustang to become SCCA 1987 Escort Endurance Champion and magazine editor). Titus approached Chuck Beck with an idea to install a Ford Taurus SHO V-6 (4 cams, 24 valves, 220 horsepower) drivetrain in the rear of a diminutive Ford Festiva (Beck was a chassis fabricator well known for his Porsche 550 Spyder replicas and work with the Shelby GT-350 and Ford GT-40 racing programs from the Sixties).

Shogun Prototype

The result of this was the first Shogun, the yellow prototype which was developed (in 1990) to refine the concept and to test marketability. The Shogun prototype was based on a salvaged (roll-over) Taurus that was found in Dallas, Texas. The Festiva body used for the prototype was actually a 1988 model (again, located from salvage).

The concept proved good enough, for Beck and Titus to commence production on the remaining 6 cars (a total of 7 Shoguns were built, including the prototype. All are numbered 1-7). The yellow prototype was featured in an issue of Car and Driver who quipped the Shogun was "one loose cannon" (anyone have a scan or print of this issue?). Some changes were made to the prototype not found in the later cars, primarily the fender flares/spoilers were refined and smoothed some (note softer styling lines) and the BBS 15 x8 and 16 x 9.5 honeycomb wheels (popular back then) were dropped. Peter Brock (key designer of the Shelby Daytona Coupe) was enlisted to help with the styling changes (fiberglass bodywork and interior).

All of the Shoguns were built to customer order to work around the DOT certification laws, however the car did meet emissions regulations (including California of course). The stock SHO drivetrain retained all the original emissions equipment. The Shogun's sticker price was somewhat of shock to some ($47,500 US). It is important to remember though that included in the price was a new Taurus SHO and new Ford Festiva (SHO drivetrain was new). These both were required for the conversion. The production Shoguns were not based on salvaged cars. The quality of this conversion done by Beck was impeccable.


The steps to make a Shogun began with the removal of the drivetrains from both vehicles. The Festiva rear floorpan was removed and a tubular rear spaceframe (with integral 2 pt rollbar) welded to accept the new powerplant. The side doors also received additional door impact beams. The Yamaha-built SHO V-6 was in my opinion, the best all around performing V-6 at the time and was a logical choice for a superb powerplant. A sweet note exited the two Supertrapp mufflers which the Shogun was equipped with (often the mufflers would get discolored a different shade due to the exhaust routing which caused the left side to run hotter than the right).

Shogun Engine

Shogun Supertrapp Mufflers

Some components from the SHO were also used for the suspension. The car used the front SHO spindles, strut housings, hubs, vented 10" rotors, and brake calipers for both front and rear. Custom made for the Shogun were the Koni strut inserts used in all four corners. The modified SHO struts were adjustable for ride height (coil-over) and were fitted with special rate Eibach springs. An additional (adjustable) front stabilizer bar is used along with the stock Festiva piece in the front. It attaches to the front struts via a link. The rear toe is set using a Taurus front tie rod end. Solid bushings are used in the rear suspension to eliminate compliance. The wheels used on the production Shogun are Boyds aluminum (billet center/spun outer). Sizes were 15 x 8 for the front and 16 x 10 for the rear. Tires used were Goodyear Eagle 205/50VR15 (front) and 245/45/16 (rear). The rear tires were actually the softer compound ("S") for added grip. The Festiva rack and pinion was retained (except for #005 car which featured a quicker ratio). The original space taken by the stock 63hp Festiva 1.3, was used mostly for a 15 or 17 gallon (not sure which) racing-type fuel cell (which is refilled by lifting the hood).

The fiberglass exterior bodywork on the production Shogun was to me, a work of automotive art. The panels just seem to suggest that they were meant to be there. Production type tooling insured quality of the exterior bodywork and the fit and finish were excellent. The front spoiler housed two round halogen driving lamps.

The fender flares were designed to end at the door seams. This allowed the doors and hatch to be left as is. Everything is functional in this respect like the Festiva. The Shogun was in every aspect, a car capable of handling daily driving chores (ride height was high enough not to worry about rough roads). The rear flares feature functional scoops. The hood featured a exit duct for hot radiator air (hints of Daytona Coupe).

Shogun Page 2



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