Simply put, some vehicles market themselves. Taking full advantage of its iconic existence the Ford Mustang is a perfect example of this. Enduring in its link to the ideals of freedom and the open road, the Mustang may be the definitive realization of what an American automobile is (and should be). In fact, the manner in which the Mustang resonates with its customer base, generating excitement and brand loyalty, is so genuine that traditional marketing almost seems redundant and unnecessary.
For over half a century the Mustang has set the bar, creating a benchmark for countless performance automakers to live up to. While certain demographics prefer the cache accompanying higher priced imports like Maserati, Lamborghini or Ferrari – Mustang enthusiasts could care less about elitist exclusivity.
In fact, these pony car lovers have a notoriously strong sense of community. With over 250 enthusiast clubs worldwide there is a mutual respect among those who own, drive and love Mustangs. As exciting to look at as they are to drive, the Mustang’s distinctive identity is built around evocative styling and performance.
So when racing legend Jack Roush first pitched Ford Motor Company on a custom Mustang in the mid-80’s, it’s not surprising that they had some reservations. After all, any risk of compromising the Mustang’s identity is more than any reasonable person would be inclined to gamble.
A respected entity on and off the track, Jack Roush had begun his professional career as an in-house engineer with Ford. He would then move on to professional racing, before beginning to develop aftermarket, race-inspired components. But less than ten years after they had declined his request, the discussion would come full circle, with ROUSH Performance earning Ford’s blessing to release a limited run of Mustangs (albeit their own take on the iconic vehicle). The goal: to bridge the gap between a road car and a race car.
And they’ve continued for the better part of two decades, expanding their sights to include Ford’s archetypal F-Series trucks alongside their seminal sports car. Interested in a closer look or acquiring a permanent seat behind the wheel of either of these magnificent redesigns? Find the closest authorized ROUSH Dealership, and we promise that you won’t regret it.
Everything In Stages
Understanding that some drivers crave the thrill of power and speed, while others prefer the illusion of it, the (anything but) basic ROUSH Mustang is built upon a three-stage platform.
Beginning with Stage 1, the primary focus is on the aesthetic albeit in a manner that enhances performance as well. Because let’s be honest, it’s easy to focus on refinement when you have a 2.3-liter I4 turbocharged EcoBoost engine under the hood. If you’re going to start somewhere, a 310 hp, 320 lb-ft beast that delivers 26 mpg (combined) makes for a nice choice.
Immediate visual impact comes from an aggressively restyled front fascia complimented by a chin splitter. With body side scoops and custom graphics, Stage 1 is guaranteed to hold just about anyone’s attention as it speeds past on 20-inch wheels. And in the wake, it’s guaranteed to leave more than a few breathless courtesy of the heart-pounding note of its ROUSH Exhaust System. This kind of enhancement runs about $6,000 over the based Mustang ticket price, but it’s well worth it for a true aficionado.
ROUSH ramps everything up with the Stage 2, further evoking race car styling and performance expectations by modifying the Mustang GT. Branded with intense ROUSH badging the evolved look is driven by race-inspired front fascia, high flow grilles and eye-catching accents that are both tasteful and powerful. And speaking of power, Mustang’s signature 5.0-liter V8 promises to drive you even further into your seat, delivering 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Expect it (which you’re expecting it to drive the overall price up by around $10,000).
For the well-financed connoisseur, a Stage 3 ROUSH Mustang will run just shy of $20,000 over base ticket price. Justifying the price tag is the inclusion ROUSH Performance’s 2.3L TVS Supercharger, which jacks up the Coyote 5.0-liter V8 engine to wrangle 670 horses. Embodying the goal of uniting street car legality with race car mentality, the Stage 3 might just be the ultimate realization of Jack Roush’s personal crusade. Primal power is complemented by a single adjustable coiler suspension system, making it impeccably drivable. And the customizable ROUSH Active Performance System empowers the driver to create their ideal exhaust note, in terms of volume and tone. In fact, making full use of available technologies, this kind of customization can be facilitated directly from their wireless device. As for appearance, well…do yourself a solid, and take a look.
Signature and Limited Editions
ROUSH also offers specialty models on top of their core 3-Stage platform.
The RS Mustang may be a more modest mod, with a more modest price tag, but it’s certainly not a consolation. ROUSH’s “R7” Aero Fascia creates an overtly aggressive styling which compliments the 300 hp and 280 lb-ft output of its 3.7-liter V67 engine. With 24 mpg combined, its well deserving of consideration by any Mustang enthusiast and will run less than $5,000 over ticket price.
The ROUSH Charged Mustang takes the bold performance and styling of Stage 3 and injects stealth (effectively priced at around $12,000). Sleeper styling is achieved with a number of blackout enhancements that create a sleek, and subtle exterior deceptively masking the fury of 670 hp.
And the ROUSH P-51 might be the perfect representation of the company’s commitment to the ideals of its founder. Jack Roush’s love of WWII-era aviation echoes through every exterior and interior design note, bridging the gap between a road car and a classic warplane. And with a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 kicking out 727-horses, the limited edition P-51 might be one of the most distinctive muscle cars on the planet. This is encouraged by the fact that only 51 were to be made.
The ROUSH Effect
Considering the loyalty of its customer base, the Mustang will always be a leading contender for the perfect American muscle car. To think that one could improve upon something so proven and iconic requires some serious ‘cajones’. Considering the success with which Jack Roush and his team has done so speaks volume about theirs.