Aussie Spec: 2016 Australian Roush Mustang GT

For us car fans here in Australia, the announcement that the 2016 Mustang was to be produced in right hand drive and available to skid right of your local Ford dealer lot was welcome news. Mustang Motorsport in Ferntree Gully, just east of Melbourne, have added another level to that enthusiasm. As official outlets for Shelby and Roush, MM didn’t waste any time getting to work on the new ‘Stangs. We decided to take a look at their first Roush R440 demo car and to find out a bit more about what these guys get up to, courtesy of James Johnson, Mustang Motorsport's Operations Manager.

Photography: Luke Ray.

Hi James, tell us a bit about Mustang Motorsport.

Mustang Motorsport started in the early ‘90s as a racing entity in the GT production series. Company owner Craig Dean raced the then current model Mustang. Later the use of the name evolved to be used for our Mustang right hand drive conversion business and now for Mustang performance upgrades. We still race but we focus on tarmac rally including Targa Tasmania which we have entered for over twenty years. I have been working for the company for ten years. It has been a very rewarding experience.

So you work with both Shelby and Roush. Are the modifications that you do all approved by those guys?

Yes they are two great American modification companies. We are the Australian authorised Shelby mod shop which means we can build Shelby American vehicles under licence. So not only this new Mustang but the older models too. This started back in 2008 when we sent a converted right hand drive 2008 Model Shelby Super Snake back to the US where it was displayed in the Shelby American booth at SEMA. From there we earned the trust and respect of Shelby American to build their vehicles.

Roush have visited us many times and are very impressed with what we are achieving with their product in Australia, building our MMR cars and distributing their product all over Australia. I feel the Roush name has grown massively in the last twelve months thanks to our first R627 demo car which went to many dealers last year during the Mustang launch. That car was also driven to Mt Panorama by previous Bathurst 1000 winners.

When a customer comes to see you with a build in mind, what can you offer them and what’s the process?

This is the best part, our customers come in very excited about what they can do to make their new Mustang faster, better sounding or looking just how they like. A lot of our customers are baby boomers who have always dreamed of owning a Mustang. I will sit down with them and go through the options and parts that we have to offer. Our package cars, including the MMR or Shelby, have been quite popular and I think customers really enjoy going through the options on these packages and picking out what suits their tastes and budget.

While the cars are in the shop being built I like to take as many photos as possible of the process and give them build updates with a few shots. The Shelby builds can be in the shop for up to eight weeks so they always appreciate the updates.

You guys must have been pretty excited when you found out the 2016 Mustang would be officially released in Australia and in RHD.

Yes it was exciting and a cause for thought on which direction the business would head. From experience with Mustang customers we know that they love to modify them. So the natural decision was to offer upgrade packages and parts for them on the new platform. We were already set up as a Shelby mod shop and distributor for Roush parts on a smaller scale, so it kind of evolved from there.

What are we looking at here?

This is our Mustang Motorsport R440 package. It is build Number 1 for the R440 and is a complete vehicle upgrade. This particular model has a few options over the ‘base’ R440 pack.

Let’s go through all the mods done to this car by category.

Exterior design.

The R440 comes with the full Roush body kit which includes the front facia. This has new upper and lower grilles with bigger side ducts and a front splitter. It’s much more aggressive than the stock bumper and stands out from a standard Mustang.

There are a few scoops on it now with the hood, side fenders and windows. At the back the rear spoiler sits on the end of the boot lid and gives the Mustang a long tail style look from the profile view. The bottom of the rear bumper has a new valance to allow for the quad exhausts. I think these parts make the Mustang look much wider and bring out some of those classic lines that everyone fell in love with back in the day.

We designed our own badging for these MMR vehicles, this model has the R440 badge on the fenders and boot lid along with a Roush inspired side stripe.

Interior design.

The standard Mustang is a great place to be so we only add a few things to set it off. The interior receives Roush light-up sill plates, floor mats and cue ball shift knob. We embroidered the headrests with the R440 logo and updated the Nav screen with the logo. On the passenger side of the dash we fit the build plate that is individually numbered.

Engine & drivetrain.

Power additions are pretty basic on the R440. We installed the Roush cold air intake and quad exhaust system then custom tuned them to make the most of the two. We have around 440hp... now you know where the name comes from. The quad exhaust can be optioned with an active electronic valve with four exhaust modes but this one just has the passive system. We also just added our shifter pack to showcase what we can do to improve shifter and clutch pedal feel over the stock Mustang which can feel a little dead.

Suspension/Wheels.

Our favourite part and main focus of the R440 is the handling. We wanted to make a Mustang that will corner, stop and go whilst still retaining a smooth and comfortable ride. Locally developed by Shockworks we spent the last twelve months providing R&D and feedback with our Targa road rally Mustang to make the adjustable coil over system that is now in the R440.

For the wheels, we chose the Velgen VMB6s in matte gunmetal finish which have the deep concave face on the rear wheels which make the mustang almost look like a wide body.

Are there complete packages available? Do you also offer individual parts for customers to purchase?

The R440 (V8) and R350T (Eco-Boost) are complete base performance packages. The more extreme version is the R627 which adds a Roush phase one supercharger and a few other interior/exterior and suspension components. The great part about all Roush products is they can be purchased individually and the body additions are pre-painted so DIY modders can fit a lot of these parts at home. We have plenty of customers just purchasing a few scoops or an exhaust.

Are the MM Roush cars exactly the same as a car that Roush would put out themselves from their own factory?

When making the R440 or the supercharged R627 models we did use the Roush model as a good starting base, including their body kit, exhausts and power additions (cold air or supercharger). From there we wanted to put our own spin on it and make a statement that we can build a package that is suited to Australian customers and is the best value for money without compromising performance. The suspension in our packages are developed here in Australia and have been tested and fine-tuned on tarmac rally stages. We also leave our wheel options open to the customer so they can choose a style and design that suits them meaning that no R440 or R627 should be the same.

We developed our own badging for the models to really bring the whole package together. This helps define the car as its own model, so when you see the badge it’s more than just a body kit.

What are you guys working on next?

We have a Special edition Allan Moffat Mustang in the works that I’m really excited about. I look forward to sharing it with the team at Fuel when we are ready.

Spec list:

ROUSH Cold Air Intake

ROUSH Quad Tip Passive Exhaust

ROUSH Windshield Banner

ROUSH Embroidered Floor Mats

ROUSH Illuminated Sill Plates

ROUSH Black Cue ball Shift Knob

ROUSH Exterior Body Kit (inc. Front Fascia, Hood Scoop, Quarter Panel Scoops, Window Scoops, Rear Spoiler, Rear Fascia Valance, Rocker Winglets)

MM Adjustable Suspension Handling Kit

MM Front & Rear Slotted 2-Piece Rotors

Velgen VMB6 Matte Gunmetal 20x9.5 & 20x10.5

Yokohama Advan Tyres 255/35R20 & 295/35R20

R440 Custom Power Tune

R440 Badging & Numbered Build Plaques

R440 Embroidered Headrests

R440 Body Side Stripes

Steeda Short shifter with clutch spring assist

LED Light Upgrade Kit

Follow Mustang Motorsport: @mustang_motorsport_official.