The SVT variant of the Ford Contour offered tight suspension tuning on an already competent chassis to make one of the best-handling front-drive cars Ford ever sold in North America. However, its extra 25 horsepower over the regular V6’s 170 happened near redline, and torque remained the same at 165 ft-lb. Impatient, rev-wary owners rarely felt the difference. Luckily, Ford Taurus performance is here to save the day! You’ll probably never hear those words in succession again. Find this 1998 Ford SVT Contour with 3.0L Duratec swap in Grand Rapids, MI for $4,000 via craigslist.
The 3.0L swap is a common remedy thanks to the plug-and-play application and plentiful supply. This power plant has just 50,000 miles and probably cost less than a a good taxidermy job (speaking of stuffing small things, check out that cramped engine bay). Sables, Escapes, Jaguar S-Types, and the Noble M12 all use a Duratec V6. Some Aston Martin Vantages use two. Stock output isn’t much higher than the SVT Contour’s 200, but the torque flows stronger and earlier through a 5-speed manual.
While the engine was out, the owner must have capitalized on the opportunity to have some fun. A Quaiffe limited-slip differential is a must for front-drive Fords. Revised fuel supply system, a grabbier clutch and lighter flywheel, stiffer motor mounts, ample breather mods, and a professional tune should net a healthy 240 horsepower, if not more. New brakes, rear sub frame, battery, and gorgeous SVT Focus wheels sweeten the already saccharine package.
The owner is selling it due to lack of use, followed by this ominous prophecy: “If it doesn’t sell by the first snow, it will stay in storage for the winter and won’t be for sale.” That was two days ago, or right before two-thirds of the country were introduced to an arctic blast of winter unpleasantry. Hopefully the seller is merciful and would still offer this cheap performance commuter to a torque-addicted enthusiast.
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