The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
11/9/17 11:21 a.m.


Story and Photos By Alan Caesar

Even the untrained eye knows something’s not right with that Festiva. Hyper-economical cars don’t come in bright yellow; they’re gray, maroon, gray, forest green, gray, beige or another shade of bland. More astute onlookers will wonder just who was crazy enough to spend on three-piece BBS wheels for this tiny runabout. Flared fenders, scoops aplenty, big fog lights—and shogun? Does its owner have a thing for ancient Japanese military protocol?

Car nerds gather from all around to take a peek under the hood and, finding nothing, start looking for clues at the back. Where do those twin exhaust tips come from? What’s under that impossibly large parcel shelf? Why are those wires coming out of there? Hey, would you mind popping the, uh, trunk?

The car is a curiosity for many, but occasionally someone walks by who’s in the know. They’ve seen it in a video from Jay Leno’s garage, or remember it appearing on the cover of a car magazine a few decades ago. This one is the prototype, the original—the PROTOgun, if you will. It’s the car Chuck Beck and Rick Titus made at Beck’s shop, Special Edition, Inc., to prove the concept so they could move forward and sell a few.

What had they built? It’s the project that eventually enters every car hacker’s head: a compact econobox with a bonkers drivetrain mounted behind the driver. This is a Ford Festiva with Taurus SHO power—one of eight made, each in a different color.

Read the rest of the story

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
11/9/17 12:57 p.m.

GRM is stalking me... I was shopping SHO's last night for giggles, thinking I needed to attempt to build one of these. 

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
11/9/17 1:23 p.m.

If you ever get a chance to meet Chuck Beck--- take it!   He's an incredibly interesting guy, and loves to tell stories.  Just be sure you have some time to kill---- because you'll never tire of hearing his exploits!   

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/9/17 1:24 p.m.
Mr. Lee said:

GRM is stalking me... I was shopping SHO's last night for giggles, thinking I needed to attempt to build one of these. 

Make one for the Challenge.  It's been done before.  A little debugging, and I bet it can win.  Ok, a lot of debugging.

Miles Wilson
Miles Wilson Marketing Assistant
11/9/17 1:25 p.m.

In reply to Mr. Lee :

First-gen Taurus SHO's are still a pretty good deal depending on the market!

A friend and I had similar ideas of swapping the engine into something smaller but after taking a look at the original execution for this SHOgun realized it would be a pricier project than $2018 Challenge money might warrant.

 

Also, What @alfadriver said.

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
11/9/17 3:09 p.m.

There's a 99 local to me that's sub 1k. Auto trans, but should be new enough to adapt to a paddle shifter setup.  Part of me wants to rescue it for a daily for a bit.

markwemple
markwemple UberDork
11/9/17 4:49 p.m.

These were/are cool, but there must be some good mods by now to make them even better. Even with the looks, they'd be a hell of a sleeper!

Rodan
Rodan Reader
11/9/17 4:51 p.m.

Saw that very car at a few Ford car shows back in the early 90's... fell in love with it immediately! 

Too cool! laugh

Danny Shields
Danny Shields Reader
11/9/17 5:32 p.m.

Thanks, GRM, for posting up this story again, along with the sidebar on the late Bill Gotwalt's impressive Challenge "Fastiva".

spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
11/10/17 8:35 a.m.
phaze1todd
phaze1todd Dork
11/10/17 9:51 a.m.

Who owns the molds, now? Last I heard, years ago when I was considering building B6T swapped Festy with Aspire suspension, the current mold owner wouldn’t make panels or sell the molds.

p.s. 

Does that prototype still have its OE wood screws?

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