LIVONIA, Mich. - With the ever-increasing popularity of the ROUSH® brand we are seeing more and more enthusiast-modified vehicles showing up at car shows and used car lots. Unfortunately, due to ignorance or (dare we say it?) deception on the part of an unscrupulous seller, often these parts-only cars and trucks are mistakenly represented as authentic ROUSH® models.
Make no mistake – we like seeing what people do to personalize their cars. We're car buffs and love the creativity and individual expression that goes into a personally-built car. But sometimes these vehicles can end up looking so close to a ROUSH® model we simply want people to be informed and able to spot one from another.
So what is a buyer to do? Educate yourself about what makes an authentic ROUSH®vehicle, and follow these simple tips to help you tell the difference.
>Check for the production serial number. Each ROUSH® vehicle that is manufactured in the Livonia, Mich., facility will have a production serial number sticker affixed. This is a white decal which is normally found on the passenger door jamb.
The number will have two digits at the start (for example "08") followed by a dash, and then several numbers. This means that a number such as "08-1234" indicates that it is a 2008 Model Year vehicle and was the 1,234th ROUSH® vehicle manufactured in that model year. Cars and trucks are numbered sequentially when they are built, regardless of what ROUSH® model they may be. Note: 2004 and earlier vehicles do not have the two digit model year preceding the serial number.
>Look under the hood. There you will find a second serial number which is on a dedicated plaque specific to that ROUSH® Model. The number on this badge is sequential to the number of cars in that specific model only. It will be different than the production serial number. This badge can normally be found on the right front corner of the vehicle off to the side of the radiator. Note: SportTM, Stage 1TM and Stage 2TM models do not have this additional plaque.
>Vehicles with a ROUSHcharger® will have an additional Stage 3TM or P-51TM Powertrain Badge. This too can be found under the hood and is only available on cars that are built at the ROUSH® facility. As an interesting side note, this badge is also personally signed by the ROUSH® technician that built the car. This badge is normally located on the passenger side strut tower (Mustang) or the airbox (F-150).
>Do a VIN search on ROUSHperformance.com. Jot down the last six digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which is found on a metal plate, usually seen through the windshield. When you get home, log onto and look for the “VIN Search” link in the “Help” section of the home page.
When the page loads, type in those six digits and if the car is an authentic ROUSH®-built vehicle it should pull right up with information about when the car was assembled, the dealer it was sold to and other details. Note: This database is incomplete for 2000 or earlier cars, but is frequently updated.
>If listed by a private seller, ask to see the original paperwork. Most people who purchase ROUSH® vehicles keep the original paperwork such as window stickers and owner's manuals. If you are purchasing a car from a private seller, ask to see this paperwork if it is not shown to you.
>Ask questions – lots of them. If you still seem unsure if this is an authentic ROUSH®, then ask lots of questions and listen closely. Ask about what dealer the car was purchased from, for how much and when. If the car has a ROUSHcharger®, ask about who installed it. Listen for clues that might indicate that the car is a parts project vehicle.
>Do your homework. Visit the and look over the car models and the items that come standard with the package. Talk to other ROUSH® owners if possible and learn about the cars and the things to look for. As with any expensive purchase, the more knowledge you are armed with the better buyer you can become.