Dale Amy
June 1, 2009
Its top and bottom air breather plates are billet, and custom-machined to sit as low as possible for hood clearance while still drawing a deep breath. Even the K&N filter is custom-sized at 2.5 inches (K&N's production oval filter elements are either 2 or 3 inches high.) It's all about attention to detail.

The point here is that much thought, engineering experience, and expertise have gone into these engines and engine/tranny packages, a statement backed up by the 2 year/24,000 mile warranty. "We actually perform oil consumption testing, transmission durability testing, and more on our packages," Todd explained. Time spent in one of Roush's powertrain-development cars, Bob Corn's '63 Galaxie XL ragtop, wowed us not just with king-of-the-hill power and instantaneous torque, but also with the refinement and utter driveability of its powertrain. It's the sort of musclecar that could comfortably be driven daily because it is simultaneously potent and well-mannered. And that modern driveability is a primary focus of this whole package idea. If this sounds interesting, our photos and captions will tell more of the story, but your best bet is to call the folks at Roush Performance and discuss the specifics of your project or wish list. Odds are they'll have something you can plug in and play with--and live with every day.

The World's Nicest R&D Mule
The whole idea of the Roush combos is to provide kit builders, hot rodders, and classic Ford owners a means of buying a powertrain that fits the first time, needs no further tuning or tweaking, and is powerful, tough, and utterly driveable and reliable, right out of the crate. Roush chose to put the theory into practice on this Galaxie. We drove this black classic, and can report that it personifies the "Velvet Brute" tagline that Ford once used to describe the full-size R-code cars. It idles in Drive with just the right amount of bumpstick attitude, but at a ridiculously low and even rpm, and then responds as you might expect 575 lb-ft of torque to respond: with grin-inducing alacrity and the squeal of overwhelmed rear tires. The transmission shifts according to throttle input; gently and early when demand is light, and firmly, but never harshly, when the right foot gets anxious. This XL has racked up plenty of development miles, and Bob Corn reports that it returns a frugal 15 highway mpg thanks, in part, to its overdrive automatic allowing a peaceful 2,300 rpm at 70 mph.

The Galaxie was the first of the Roush powertrain project cars, and behind the mighty FE it has a 4R100, a stout but physically imposing truck trans. The effort, and clearancing, involved in fitting it into even something as large as the Galaxie was part of the reason why the much smaller 4R70W has since become the transmission of choice--with suitable internal, external, and programming upgrades, of course.