Jack Roush Ford Mustang Auto Collection - The Collection That Jack Built
Jack Roush Talks About His Favorite Mustangs From His Auto Collection
"We were working for Ford SVT and there was grudge between them and the hot rod cars from the GM and Chrysler folks across town. SVT's John Coletti wanted a car that would settle all disputes. He asked us to put in a Boss 429 engine. The first engine that went into the car was one of the two that I bought from the Wood Brothers in 1971 or 1972 as they made their switch from NASCAR Boss 429s to the 351. My recollection is that Ford provided the Mustang and we did the work, with the understanding that when the car was done with its promotional activities, and meeting challenges on some of Detroit's highways, we'd get the car back. So like all of the cars here, it's found a nice place to live."
"Since I own and restore P-51 Mustang airplanes, the guys wanted to tie my car Mustang activities together with my airplane Mustang activities. I resisted that for a number of years because we didn't have anything worthy of carrying the P-51 Mustang legacy into the car side. Then Eaton came out with a 4-fluted rotor supercharger system. So we had the prospect of taking our three-valve 4.6 liter engine, which was producing about 430 horsepower, and creating a supercharger package that would add another 100 horsepower or so to make the car interesting. Then they asked what we should do about the exterior. I said, 'Well, you guys pay attention. I'll bring an airplane model over and show you what to do.' If you look at a P-51 Mustang that flew in Eighth Air Force in the European theatre in 1944 and 1945, they were not camouflaged. They were polished aluminum for the most part. They wanted to be seen so the Germans would come up and challenge them. They were actually blotchy with different shades of brilliance. So I said we needed to accent the Ford silver with another silver that was off a little for the hoodscoop, chin spoiler, and rear spoiler. When you look at it, you might think we didn't get the colors right. But that was the purpose."
"This is Paul Newman's Mustang GTO that won the GTS class and finished third overall in the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours. The number 70 is significant because Newman was 70 years old. Paramount Studios sponsored the car; they had some marketing money left over from Newman's movie Nobody's Fool. Newman, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, and Michael Brockman drove it as a team. That was the end of an era of 14 years of road racing where we won 48 percent of the races we entered."
Jack's collection also houses a number of his former race cars, including Tommy Kendall's All-Sport Mustang that won 10 out of 12 Trans-Am races in 1997. Other than mechanical servicing, it remains as last raced.
The collection goes beyond the cars in the main warehouse. In another section of the building, cars are stored as they await refurbishment. In the photo, you can see two of the three '79 Mustang Pace Cars (with T-tops) that were used during the 1979 Indianapolis 500. They were repainted for the inaugural Detroit Grand Prix and remain in that condition today.
Jack wasn't sure about this California Roadster, so Susan provided the details: "It's a California Roadster with a little different flavor. The California Roadsters were primarily cosmetic packages, but you could get upgrades for them. With this car, we upgraded it with the BlackJack brake and engine packages. However, the BlackJack brakes were too big for the California Roadster wheels. So the wheel manufacturer made us some larger California Roadster wheels so we could fit the BlackJack brakes. This is the only set that exists."
Susan showed us this '69 Mustang Cobra Jet convertible that's undergoing a restoration in the shop area. "Dad bought it as a used car. He built it to run one event, the Nationals in Indianapolis in 1971. Even though it had Gapp & Roush on the side, Wayne Gapp had nothing to do with this car. Dad won the Super Stock class, then sold the car to another competitor. He put the winnings and proceeds back into his business. Seven years ago, we were able to buy it back. It's been repainted the correct color. It didn't have a rollbar in it when Dad raced it but we've put one in it. The idea is that we may do some nostalgic racing with it."