If anyone's interested, I eventually found an application along the lines of what I was looking for...
Looking for OBD-related stuff, I've found out that my '04 Ford Taurus is "CAN compliant".
Google reveals that it's basically a protocol of OBD II-- though after some snooping around, I'm still unfamiliar with its benefits, etc. VS. older standards. Can someone care to break down its main points, or point to a resource that does so?
 Eventually found this out myself, though my second qustion still stands... [/edit]
Also on that note, I'm experimenting with putting together a custom frontend based on AS3 [Flash/Flex]. While I'm still exploring backend options, the idea here (in theory) is to tunnel requested OBD data through a localhost socket, to be processed by AS3.
Is there an application or method of generating a virtual OBD II/CAN environment to push through TCP/IP or a COM port for dev purposes until I can purchase a scan tool?