These days, hot-rodded versions of our beloved Mustang are as plentiful as teen pop groups, though the Mustangs actually offer some substance. The latest entry into this crowded and competitive segment is a name you’re likely familiar with--Roush Performance. Yes, that Roush, the one with more than 230 racing victories. Jack Roush is the guy who has fielded successful race teams in NHRA, IHRA, SCCA, IMSA, NASCAR, and IRL. This is also the same Jack Roush who heads Roush Industries, an engineering and design firm that often does the legwork for auto manufacturers, particularly Ford Motor Company.
We’ve heard this story before, but when the principals at Roush Performance tell you their Mustang isn’t a tuner car, you’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt, as Roush Industries likely helped design at least part of the Mustang leaving the Ford factory. So, in effect, Roush Performance used its intimate knowledge of the development of the Mustang platform to reverse engineer a next-generation musclecar, the Roush Stage 3 Mustang.
So as not pull the exclusivity carpet out from SVT, Roush starts out with an ’01 Mustang GT and options it up with a host of appearance, handling, braking, and performance modifications to create the Stage 3. Chief among those modifications is the addition of an Eaton roots supercharger configured for six pounds of boost and run through an air-to-water intercooler. All told, this combination accounts for 360 hp at 5,250 rpm and 375 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Better yet, the power is as smooth and quiet as to make you believe it could have rolled out of the Ford factory.
Package that torque grunt behind a stylish body package, five-spoke wheels, and a supple suspension, and you end up with quite a Mustang. If there’s a downside to the Roush Stage 3, it’s that most of us won’t be able to own one. Roush plans to construct about 700 Stage 3 Mustangs in its new Livonia, Michigan, build facility. From that allotment, buyers can order a Base Stage 3 for $39,500 plus Ford options, a Rally Stage III for $44,050 plus Ford options, or a Premium Stage 3 for $48,975.
As you can see, 12.9/111 quarter-miles, 4.3-second 0-60s, and 0.9g pulls don’t come cheap. But, for those who can afford it, a Roush Stage 3 isn’t likely to disappoint.
Horse Sense: If your accountant won’t approve a Stage 3 Mustang, Roush Performance also offers Stage 1 and Stage 2 Mustangs with many of the appearance and suspension parts found on the Stage 3. The company also offers tuned-up F-150s, Expeditions, Cougars, and--soon--Focus through its network of dealers.
This article was written by Steve Turner.