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Absurd Hatch: Jay Leno’s 220HP, Rear-Wheel Drive 1989 Ford Festiva ‘SHOGun’

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Welcome to an obscure little piece of absolute automotive absurdity: the 1989 Ford Festiva “SHOGun.”

After the speedy Ford Taurus SHO (“Super-High Output”) performance sedan came along in 1989, former racing driver Rick Titus and Chuck Beck of Special Editions decided to take its brilliant 220 horsepower, 3.0-liter Yamaha V6 and five-speed manual transmission, and transplant them into the rear of the Ford Festiva hatchback. “Only” 250 examples of the resulting high-power, rear-wheel drive Ford Festiva SHOGun were to be built, they said.

In the end, just seven Ford Festiva SHOGuns were produced, due likely to the difficulty of selling a thoroughly weird performance hatchback for $42,000 in 1990 (almost $79,000 today).

Jay Leno owns one of the seven, having bought it new some 26 years ago. After all this time, he’s finally decided to dedicate an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage to the Yamaha-powered, RWD Ford Festiva hot-hatch. His example has been fitted with a nitrous-oxide tank for those times when a little extra “oomph” is desired; otherwise, it’s been left original, looking just as absurd – and yet undeniably awesome – as the day it was first delivered.

Catch the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage above.

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Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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