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The Tale of the Mercury Sable AIV

The Mercury Sable AIV is one of the more special cars to come out of the now-defunct entry-level premium brand. It was essentially the Mercury version of the Taurus SHO — but Ford hand-built 40 of them, and only 20 were ever sold to the public. It’s not the rarity, however, that makes the Sable AIV special, but rather that 3-letter acronym on the end of its name.

AIV stands for Aluminum Intensive Vehicle, and the Sable AIV was really the first "regular car" fit for mass consumption that featured a significant amount of aluminum in its construction. By using aluminum in its body panels, suspension, engine cylinder head and other components, the Sable AIV weighed a whopping 400 pounds less than a standard Taurus. When combined with the 220-horsepower Yamaha V6 sourced from the Taurus SHO, you ended up with a pretty quick car — fast enough to finish 15th in the 1995 One Lap of America. See the Mercury Sable models for sale near you

More important than its creation, however, is the legacy the Sable AIV created. In order to build it, Ford had to more or less invent brand new ways of welding, bonding and producing aluminum parts. Ford saw that the future of the automobile was not in steel, but rather lightweight aluminum. By developing the Sable AIV, Ford figured out ways of introducing the material into the construction of not just Ford products, but Aston Martin and Jaguar cars as well. Surely the aluminum-intensive Jaguar XE and Ford F-150 of today are built upon the lessons learned during the development of the Sable AIV — and Ford is reaping the benefits.

But what happened to the special Sable? Unfortunately, most have been crushed. Like the Ford Ranger EV, most were leased and then returned to Ford after the term had ended. It’s really unlikely that any still exist, as the last real verified sighting of one took place in 2010 — and they probably aren’t able to be registered at the DMV. Find a Mercury Sable for sale

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5 COMMENTS

  1. i have the last one i turned it into a world record hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that i am still running today

    see hydrogenhouseproject.org to learn more. mike strizki president hydrogen house project
  2. Not so! I work at Ford in Dearborn, and as of this Summer there was still a mint condition silver Sable AIV (manufacturer-plated, of course) driving around in the corporate fleet.  I saw it numerous times parked in a lot at the Design Center.  I seem to recall it had only 6-7K miles on the odometer.  Sadly, it’ll likely be crushed someday unless it is donated to a museum.  But at least it’s still in existence!

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