Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
August 1, 2006

The final step in transforming our long-term Roush Stage 2 Mustang test car was to improve upon its braking capabilities by installing Roush Performance Products two-piece brake kit. We also took the opportunity to throw in Roush's short-throw shifter as well.

While the stock S197 Mustang GT did get a brake upgrade compared to the SN-95 cars, adding another 100-plus horsepower and more weight to the vehicle demands bigger binders.

For that, Roush Performance Products (RPP) offers its two-piece front brake kit (PN 401599) that retails for $2,687 and includes four-piston aluminum calipers; two-piece, slotted, 14-inch rotors; performance brake pads; braided stainless steel brake lines; and all the hardware you need to pop them on.

We hauled the Stage 2-cum-3 to Raceway Park for a little brake pedal punching before and after the install, and the results were right on par with what we expected.

From 100 to 0 mph, we saw an average decrease in stopping distance of 37 feet and an average decrease of 9 feet from 60 to 0 mph. More importantly, there was no sign of brake fade at any time during our numerous tests, and the braking distances were more consistent as well, which is valuable when you're trying to squeeze out seconds from your road-course lap times.

We were certainly impressed with the Roush's handling capabilities on the MM&FF Handling Course in previous evaluations, and it worked extremely well with the stock power output. Unfortunately, we were not able to test our Stage 2 on the course post-brake upgrade, as it was scheduled for sale to a dealer.

With the extra horsepower on board, lap times would have fallen further for sure, and the big brakes would have cured what we found to be the only deficiency in the Stage 2 package, that being the stock braking performance. Roush will be sending us an '06 Stage 3 to evaluate, so stay tuned for those numbers.

While we had Roush's Stang up on the lift, we swapped in RPP's short-throw shifter (PN 401376) for '05-up Mustang GTs. With a shifter throw that's 50 percent tighter than stock, this billet shifter will quicken gear changes, while giving you the firm, positive engagement feel that enthusiasts enjoy.

CNC-machined from a single piece of 6061-T6 aluminum for superior strength, the RPP shifter is fitted to the vehicle with improved polyurethane bushings for minimum deflection.

Installation is on par with most aftermarket shifters, and the hardest part of the whole thing is fishing it up the side of the transmission. Roush sent us both its shorty shifter arm, which employs the stock shift knob, as well as its throwback shifter handle and white five-speed knob. The RPP shifter retails for $287.70. The classic white knob sells for $27.95, while the cool chrome stick comes in at an extra $39.95.

Going from the stock shifter to the shorty knob took some getting used to. Shifter throw is extraordinarily reduced, and the rigid nature of the shifter often tricks you into thinking you're not in gear, yet it finds the cog each time.

In switching to the classic white knob and chrome handle-which is a tad longer than the shorty-we found the extra leverage made it easier to shift the car while still enjoying the shorter throws. More than likely, it will come down to personal preference and who's been hitting the rowing machine in the gym the most.

Roush Brake Kit Vs. Stock
Test{{{100}}}-0 MPH60-0 MPH
Measure(FT)(FT)
Stage 2, run 3370.00123.69
Stage 2, run 4347.94125.94
Stage 3, run 7319.86115.72
Stage 3, run 9322.54115.22