Michael Johnson Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
June 3, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

My definition of automotive fun is a car that can, at will, blow the tires off. Call me crazy, but there's nothing more fun than feeling a car's back end get out of step with the front end, especially from a roll. Any stick car can turn over the tires if you rev it up and dump the clutch, but to get a car out of shape from a roll; that's doing something. Since my '94 Cobra isn't that much fun, it's always enjoyable to drive something more powerful. The great thing is, I had this much fun in a brand-new Mustang . . . specifically, a 2010 Roush 540RH, known appropriately as the Hammer.

In these days of computer-controlled this, and microprocessor-regulated that, the fact that you can walk into a local Ford dealer and purchase a car that makes 500 hp at the wheels is a great thing. When we first received news of the Roush 540RH, we couldn't wait to get our hands on one. Fortunately, in mid-January the speed gods smiled down on us, and we got the keys to an arrest-me-and-throw-away-the-keys-red Roush 540RH.

Upon laying eyes on the 540RH, the first thing that strikes you is the car's unassuming exterior. If you're none the wiser, the 540RH could pass off as a stock '10 Mustang with Roush wheels.

The 540RH is definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing. Its graphics are subdued, and its badging is limited to a small Roush emblem on each fender and trunk lid, and a 540RH faux gas cap out back. If they're getting a quick glimpse of the gas cap, they'll already know this is not a "regular" '10 GT. By that time, it's way too late.

Roush [(800) 59-ROUSH; www.roushperformance.com ] designed the 540RH in this manner so owners would have a blank canvas for their own custom touches. If it were me, I'd probably take the side emblems off for an even more stealthy appearance.

Impressed by the Hammer's appearance, I slid into the driver seat. The upright seating position offered a commanding view of the road. Ignition greeted me with a beautiful, raucous exhaust tone, but I wasn't sold yet.

Letting out the clutch, I first had to exit our Tampa, Florida, office's parking lot. Once out on public roads, I eased it out in First gear; then gave it a little gas. The car responded quickly, accelerating briskly. I knew instantly that I was onto something with this car.

I shifted into Second and goosed it to about three-quarter throttle. I was greeted with the rear stepping out of place. Seriously, did this car just break the tires loose from a Second-gear roll? I had to try it again to see if I was imagining things. Sure enough, the second time produced the same result. "Turner's not getting the keys back now," I thought. At that moment, the Roush 540RH and I became one. Every time I drove the car I felt like a redneck saying, "Hey, ya'll, watch this!" It was as thrilling as riding a roller coaster.

Speaking of which, everyone I know is aware that I get to drive cool Mustangs from time to time. They never want to ride in my '94 Cobra, but they're all about a ride if I'm in any new Mustang. Such was the case for the 540RH. Everyone wanted a spin, and of course, who am I to turn down scaring the bejeezus out of friends and family members? It was an honor.

Most people don't get to experience the kind of acceleration the Roush 540RH is capable of dishing out. The passenger-side door panel is probably a little loose, and the foot well may have some dents in it from people hanging on for dear life and hitting the imaginary brakes. People tend to act that way when they're outside their automotive comfort range. There was plenty of that with this Roush.