The theme of this issue is Muscle and Performance, so we went looking for a future collector car that not only offered aggressive styling and exhilarating performance, but also one that would be limited in production. That's a tall order anywhere this side of Maranello, Italy, but performance fans we found one. Let us introduce you to the next future collector car; the Roush Mustang 380R Convertible.
Roush Performance, in Livonia, Michigan, is introducing this limited-production model specially designed by company founder Jack Roush. If you're not familiar with Roush, he has competed succesfully - either as a driver, builder, tuner, or team owner - in such diverse forms of racing as NHRA and IHRA drag racing, SCCA Trans Am and IMSA road racing, sports car racing, all three branches of NASCAR racing, (Craftsman Truck, Busch Grand National and Winston Cup), and Indy Racing League, Roush cars have won more than 250 races in 27 years, and Roush has been successful in more types of racing than any other American in history. He would be a great candidate for the next Honorary Chairman of the world class Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. And by the way, he is also a car collector with more than 70 vintage and performance automobiles. His company also built the special Mustang coupes for the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona, and all the NASCAR-mandated roof flap assemblies for Winston Cup and Busch Grand National cars.
Now, with a record like that you can understand and appreciate what's behind the Roush 380R Mustang Convertible. It has all the makings of a world-class sports car, and in my opinion has lived up to the expectations one would have of a car bearing the Roush Performance name.
The 380R has all the components that a dedicated hot rodder might add to a mustang: stiff suspension, ultra fast steering, giant brakes, booming exhaust and a supercharged V8 that roars with 379 horsepower.
Jack Roush's signature is all over this car, literally, from the supercharger housing, to the seat backs, wheels, brake calipers and tachometer. The major visual elements are a 2002 Cobra Hood, a front fascia with high performance driving lights, accented by a speed grill, Roush 380R badging, Roush rear wing, a Roush 380 "Nostalgia" stripe package, 18-inch Argent wheels, and Roush front disc brakes with 13-inch rotors. Optional equipment includes a Roush trunk toolbox, and Roush Stage 3 Suspension.
The real head-turner is the loud, throaty throb of the exhaust, which turns progressively lower as you accelerate. The torque feels instantaneous, and the power climbs sharply with the boost of the supercharged V8. At the heart of the Roush 380R is a 4.6-liter SOHC engine with intercooler delivering 379 horsepower @5250rpm, and 380 ft-lbs @3000rpm. Sprinting from a stoplight or accelerating uphill the 380R is very powerful. On the highway, the underlying roar is a constant reminder of this car's potential. The suspension feels rock solid and like a true sports car you feel every lump, bump and irregularity of the pavement. However, the car also provides a firm and stable ride, giving you complete control and confidence through every sharp turn and in every driving situation.
Though the Roush 380R has the intimidating looks and performance of a high performance racecar, it is very user friendly for daily driving. However, at $55,824 the Roush 380R Mustang Convertible becomes pretty pricey, and at this level there is serious competition, but if you're a hardcore race enthusiast and love Mustangs, this is definitely the way to go. On our rating scale from 1 to 5, five being the best score, I give this muscle machine all five stars. As a future collectable it is a solid 3.5. It has the look, performance, and pedigree of a winner. And remember there are only 50 available.