Dale Amy
January 1, 2005

Inside, two upgrades particularly stand out. First are the "440A"-emblazoned leather sport buckets, which have inserts color-matched to the exterior. Second is a Roush electroluminescent instrument cluster augmented by boost and fuel-pressure gauges in the cluster surround. The shifter is short-throw, actuated via a Jack Roush-designed curved shift lever that eliminates having to do the dreaded "Mustang reach" on every gear change. In front of said shifter is a serialization plaque to authenticate that you have a car that only 39 other people possess (a separate Roush manufacturing serial decal can be found on the passenger-side doorframe, above the striker). Doorsill plates, special floor mats, and even a set of black leather driving gloves-all emblazoned with Roush or 440A identification-finish off the interior accouterments. Oh, and let's not forget that the Cat-in-the-Hat boss man himself patriotically signs "Jack Roush USA" on every 440A's passenger-side SRS cover panel.

We drove and photographed our subject Competition Orange convertible while in Michigan in late July, as the shipments to Brandon Ford were just beginning (by the way, for you collectors who'd like to own "a magazine car," ours was serialized as number 440A-20 on its console plaque-please excuse any leftover tire molecules that escaped its predelivery inspection). Now we know some of you may be scrutinizing our photos with a magnifying glass and are ready to write or e-mail us a nasty note saying this car has stock exhausts and a regular 76mm pulley. Well, you're right, and that's because Brandon Ford will be installing the exhaust, the air filter, and the big-boost pulley once its customers take delivery.

Roush does it this way so as not to affect the 50-state legality of the basic Stage 3 supercharged engine package, nor to offend some states' drive-by noise standards. This means our orange tester drove exactly the same as a Stage 3 or 380R Roush, which is to say it was fast, quiet until the Roots siren kicked in, and had factory-like civility and driveability. We later pedaled Roush Performance president Larry Parker's 440A demonstrator-which wears all the package hardware-and can confirm that the intake, exhaust, and pulley upgrades do provide both a louder bark and a more vicious bite.

To sum it up, the Roush 440A is quick of reflex, easy on the eyes, and will make a fine addition to any collector's or enthusiast's garage. The package adds $26,000 to the price of the Mustang it's added to (plus $910 for the ragtop's optional lightbar), and it carries a full three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Make your check or money order payable to Brandon Ford, and don't wait to be the 41st person in line.

Too Late for an Original? Build Your OwnThough only 40 440As will populate the earth, Roush Performance sells many of its component parts through a nationwide dealer network. So, even if you'll never have the collectibility of a real factory-built 440A, you can personalize your own 'Stang in its image by careful shopping from the Roush Performance parts list.