During World War II, the P-51 Mustang was hailed as a savior of aviation and certainly played a major part in ending the conflict. This long range fighter escorted Allied bombers over Europe and Hermann Goering, the head of Germany’s Luftwaffe, summarized the plane’s role by stating, "The day I saw P-51 Mustangs flying over Berlin, I knew the jig was up."
Today, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the jig is up for the rest of the Ford Mustang tuners as ROUSH Performance unveiled the P-51A Mustang automobile which, at 510 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque, is sure to be held in as high a regard as the airplane has been in the history books and will help to save the streets from the invasion of the foreign brands.
"I’ve often said that there was never a Mustang built that I didn’t like and that includes both the car and the airplane," said Jack Roush, an aviation enthusiast who currently owns two P-51 Mustang warbirds. "This is the type of product that ROUSH has wanted to produce for at least 10 years but the right platform, the right technology, and the right timing never intersected until now."
The ROUSH P-51A is easily the highest horsepower Mustang that the company has ever produced, and represents the first time that internal engine components have been upgraded by ROUSH technicians in their Livonia, Mich., facility. It was determined that the only way to give the P-51A moniker its due was to completely break into the 4.6L, 3V and rebuild several of the functional internal components, which include a forged steel eight-bolt crankshaft, forged aluminum pistons with increased dish to lower the compression from 9:8 to 8:6, and forged steel H-Beam connecting rods. These upgraded parts were necessary for the stock Ford engine (which comes with 300 horsepower from the factory) to be able to withstand the additional power generated from the newest iteration of the legendary ROUSHchargerTM supercharger system.
Additional alterations include a custom aluminum upper and lower intake manifold for the high capacity air-to-water intercooler and ROUSHchargerTM. ROUSH installs a custom fuel rail and high-flow fuel injectors, a high-flow capacity fuel system, as well as a dual electronic throttle body.
The new ROUSH P-51A engine has a preliminary rating of at least 510 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. torque. It is anticipated that final figures may even be slightly higher than this when final testing and calibration is approved by the ROUSH engineering staff.
The changes to the ROUSH P-51A don’t end under the hood. A ROUSH aerobody kit will be installed, which includes a front fascia, chin spoiler, hood scoop and rear spoiler. The ROUSH black high-flow grill is added along with cooling side shields to give the car the aggressive look it needs while stalking the streets.
Internally the car will come with ROUSH sport leather seating and custom floor mats, both with an embroidered P-51A emblem. The white face gauges and billet aluminum pedals will get a lot of use as the driver bangs through the gears with the ROUSH short throw shift lever and retro black ball.
For those who look behind the 18-inch ROUSH forged five-spoke wheels will see the vaunted Stage 3 suspension underneath this vehicle. Designed to handle even the tightest twists and turns, this suspension includes specially-engineered and tuned front struts, rear shocks, front and rear springs, front and rear sway bars and jounce bumpers. The front brakes are also upgraded with 14-inch front two-piece rotors and four-piston calipers. Each component was specifically engineered so that ride comfort was not compromised at the expense of the tremendous gains in performance.
As an interesting side note, the yellow and red accent colors on the vehicle come from those used by the 357th Fighters Group, Eighth Air Force ETO (European Theater Operations) who were unofficially known as "The Yoxford Boys" after a village near their base. Its victory totals in air-to-air combat are the most of any P-51 group in the Eighth Air Force and third among all groups fighting in Europe. The 357th flew 313 combat missions between February 11, 1944 and April 25, 1945 and is officially credited by the US Air Force with having destroyed 595.5 German airplanes in the air and 106.5 on the ground. Pilots in this group included Captain Clarence E. "Bud" Anderson who flew a P-51 named "Old Crow." One of Roush’s personal P-51 fighters is painted as a replica of this airplane.
Pricing for the ROUSH P-51A Mustang has not been set, but will be announced shortly. The vehicle is slated to begin production in the first quarter of 2008 and will be limited to 100 vehicles. As with all ROUSH vehicles, the P-51A will carry an industry-leading 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.