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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

SHOGUN Prototype




SHOGUN Article and Video by Miguel Caparros


Late last year, Chuck Beck arrived at a car event I was at, not driving his usual Porsche 904A, but this little yellow Bomb. Chuck is known for his incredible Porsche 904A recreations that are absolutely fantastic. Aside from the fact that they look like a 904, these cars can actually be used on a daily basis as they have all the latest technology. Chuck's shop fabricates everything, the quality is beyond reproach, there is usually a waiting list for his cars. He opened his first shop after he left Shelby American where he was one of the original crew involved in the Cobra and GT 40 projects. He opened his own shop in Southern California. I have known about Chuck for a long time.


A crowd gathered around the little yellow car wondering what it was, Chuck was having fun as everyone guessed wrong. Being the show off that I am I chimed in with the correct answer. Chuck then started to explain about the origin of the SHOGUN.


Rick Titus, a race car driver, who had some connections at Ford, brought the idea and some drawings of the SHOGUN to Chuck Beck's Southern California Shop. With some mild blessing from a Ford executive that Rick worked with, Chuck located a crashed Festiva and got to work on building this car. If I recall correctly for this prototype the engine came from Ford via a damaged Taurus SHO that also donated many of its parts to make the whole thing work. The Yamaha built Super High Output engine is a 4 cam with 4 valves per cylinder. At the time the 220 horsepower was stout for a 3 liter 6 cylinder, being transplanted to a car that is 1,000 lbs lighter you end up with Supercar performance. Where the original Festiva engine was located, a radiator and fuel cell went in. The rear seat and floor were cut out and a fabricated sub frame with race inspired suspension went in along with the now mid mounted engine.


This car was a media Super Star from day one, even making the cover of most auto publications including Road & Track. There is no denying that this car was the right Idea at the right time. What was wrong was that it took two new cars to build it. You needed a new Taurus SHO and a new Festiva. Economically it made no sense but what killed it was Fords legal department. At the time that the SHOGUN came out I was peddling around in the car that looked very similar to it, and some said that the Renault R5 Turbo was the inspiration for the SHOGUN. Jay Leno used up a little of his Tonight Show salary and bought the first production car from Chuck Beck.

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