Conan O’Brien Still Owns His 1992 Ford Taurus SHO With a Manual Transmission
Funny man, fun ride.
Comedian and late-night host Conan O'Brien is known for many things. Being strangely hilarious. The whole NBC debacle.That hair. But there's one fact that stands out to us: In the grand tradition of celebrities holding onto hooptie cars from their pre-fame days, Conan still owns his old 1992 Ford Taurus SHO with a manual transmission.
In a new skit on his eponymous talk show, Conan pulls the Taurus into the studio and extolls its greatness as an unlucky State Farm insurance agent attempts to appraise the 26-year-old car. It's pretty tongue-in-cheek; he sarcastically notes his policy of leaving everything original, including the bald tires, and he explains away a long scratch along the driver's side by saying that he tried to beat a toll booth gate and failed. A ding on the other side is purportedly from hitting Sean Hayes as the Will & Grace actor rode his bike around town.
He adds that it's been driven by Brad Pitt, a fact that the agent suggests might make it more valuable than his ownership. Theatrics aside, this really is Conan's manual-transmission Ford Taurus SHO that he bought new in 1992 and has kept all this time. It's popped up in several Late Night skits, including one where Brad Pitt grabs the keys, dumps the clutch, and peels out in the middle of Manhattan. It was also the subject of a mournful video Conan made to commemorate the death of the original Taurus when it was discontinued in 2007.
And while you might think its questionable condition is an act, it seems Conan really does revel in keeping the car as dingy as possible. In a 2010 60 Minutes segment, he hauled it out of his garage to show correspondent Steve Kroft. You can't fake the layers of dust on the Taurus, or the fact that he's able to pop out the busted driver's side mirror and use it as a hand-held vanity. When Kroft questions the lack of a valid inspection sticker or car insurance as the two cruise around Los Angeles, Conan gives a deadpan response: "Let's not get into that on air."
The CBS segment also reveals a little more about why Conan has held onto the Taurus all these years. He bought the car in 1992 when he was just another writer on The Simpsons—a year later, he would take over as host of Late Night. It makes sense that he would keep a memento from his pre-celebrity life. Plus, he points out that telling his rich and famous guests that he drives a Ford Taurus always gets a big laugh.
Of course, the Ford Taurus SHO is far from a punchline. It was actually one of the most memorable sleepers of the 1990s, with a screaming V6 engine built by Yamaha and a five-speed manual transmission wrapped up in a family-friendly sedan. It's tempting to laugh when Conan says that it was "quite a sexy car" back in the day, but remember: That's no joke.