Spendy When New, This Roush 380R Is a Now a Performance Bargain

Cars & Bids/ChrisF1

Since the early 1970s, Jack Roush has been a mainstay with Fords in NHRA, IMSA, and NASCAR racing, and from his extensive success in those varied disciplines he created a performance-parts empire, catering to Blue Oval die-hards with everything from svelte body kits to outrageous complete vehicles. 

Mustangs have always been at the heart of Roush’s racing and road-going efforts, and though Ford declined an official partnership in 1988 to produce a Roush-tuned Mustang on the Fox-body platform, by 1995 he had established Roush Performance to cater to the aftermarket. Almost immediately Roush Mustangs based on the SN95 generation began making waves in the tuner space.

The good work continued with the “New Edge” reskin that appeared in 1999, and Roush variants included Stage 1 (appearance package), Stage 2 (appearance + suspension), and Stage 3 (the above + supercharging and engine enhancements), the last of which were sold through select Ford dealerships. When the Roush 380R arrived in 2003, based on a standard Mustang GT, the Stage 3 offered an Eaton Roots-type supercharger with an air-to-water intercooler, a new intake, a secondary sheave front accessory drive, a lightweight aluminum flywheel, upgraded fuel delivery, and a custom ECU. All of which took ouput from the GT’s 260 horses and 302 lb-ft of torque up to 379 hp and 380 lb-ft, which arrived at a thousand rpm lower than stock.

Alcon disc brakes were also fitted—14 inches up front, 13 inches out back—and the completely revised suspension, which lowered the ride height, included new springs, shocks, anti-roll bars, trailing arms, and bushings. Coupled with sticky BFGoodrich g-Force KD tires on 18-inch wheels, it meant a sure-footed ride when the going got twisty: “…One of the flattest-cornering street Mustangs you’ll ever have the pleasure of flogging,” is how Motor Trend put it. 

They weren’t cheap, either, with prices ranging from $50,000 to $60,000-plus, depending on options. That was about twenty grand more than an SVT Cobra, which got you a 32-valve engine and independent rear suspension. That price also put them firmly in Corvette Z06 territory. 

Today, however, they’re a quite attractive, quite accessible performance bargain. Take this 380R convertible, for instance, which sold June 26 on Cars & Bids for $21,000. Said to be one of 33 Roush 380Rs built for 2004, it was finished in an attractive Crimson Red with Briar Brown stripes and showed 35,500 miles on the odometer. The whole car was pretty clean overall, with some wear on the steering wheel and on the Roush-branded driver’s seat, plus some grime in the engine bay. The listing also noted a crack on the windshield, some minor chips in the paint, and discoloration to the door cards. We’d rate the condition a solid #3 (good). 

An ’04 Mustang GT in commensurate condition will set you back about ten grand, but someone shopping Roush cars likely isn’t interested in a factory-schmactory GT. More comparable would be something like the supercharged Saleen S281 SC, which are a bit more common than a 380R and offer similar performance. They tend to fetch prices in the low $15,000–$25,000 range when they hit the market. 

SVT Cobras also offer a good comparison. With 10 more ponies from their more advanced engines and the benefit of IRS, they stand out among SN95 Mustangs. But Ford also built 19,000 of them, so they aren’t exactly rare. In good condition, expect to pay about $24,000.

2004 Ford Mustang Roush 380R profile
Cars & Bids/ChrisF1

Finally, there’s the grand poobah of this Mustang vintage—the Cobra R. Ford only made 300, and only in 2000, and they cranked out 385 hp and that much torque from their 5.4-liter V-8s, with a top speed of 175 mph. These days when they change hands, the best ones can bring $150,000, while those in #3 condition are close to $50,000.

All of which is to say that in the realm of souped-up, hi-po fourth-gen Mustangs, buyers are spoiled for choice. And for the most part, so much of that choice lives in the $20,000 range. That’s pretty hard to beat. From a dollar-per-horsepower standpoint, whoever bought this Roush 380R got themselves into a stellar summertime ride. That it also happens to be one of the flattest-cornering street Mustangs they’ll ever have the pleasure of flogging is just gravy.


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    It’s a neo-classic! Look at the “other” ars of the perios were bringing to the table. You are obviously new to this game.

    It’s not bad performance for what they weigh bad thing about the 2v car is you won’t be able to go much behind that without building the bottom end first unless Ford forged the motors in the special cars like the Saleen and Roush cars but I don’t think they did.

    I see those cars with 500-700hp all of the time where I live. Most are sitting in traffic or spending their time with the racing inspired open exhaust feature activated while they blast a block and a half from one traffic light to the next traffic jam. No one really needs 700hp unless they are doing a lot of racing with the car and I doubt more than a very small percentage of these cars ever see a track. Like Jay Leno always talks about, Paraphrasing here, if you can’t have fun with 380hp in a car that handles very well then there is something very wrong’.
    I live near a major highway that is a pretty scenic drive to a popular tourist village in the British Columbia Fraser Valley. In the summer I see a lot of nice cars, some individually, some in group drives going for those weekend drives to the little beach village to spend the day having a nice lunch or some ice cream.
    The cars I see are everything from vintage cars to supercars. They all proceed down that treed and winding road at the same speed and all arrive in the same amount of time whether it be a ’62 Falcon or a 2024 Lamborghini. I see people in a 2002 Corvette having just as much of a nice time as the guy in the Hellcat. The difference in horse pressure is irrelevant. Those that try to show off their superior horse power often create less than favorable situations and end up in the Monday morning newspaper.

    These started as the Crimson Red 40th Anniversary Package from Ford, then were modified by Roush. I own one of the 4,558 Mustangs that were built in this color, but mine is a stock GT Conv. It was $895 for the package and included Arizona Beige stripes, painted Cobra mirrors, Beige Torq Thrust wheels and some other small details.

    The New Edge looks have not aged well to me. I prefer the more rounded less edgy previous Mustang. Looks way better. The new edge look looked best in the terminator Cobra’s.

    That is an interesting point but you can also get a 2011-2012 mustang GT for about 20k with 420 crank hp. Or you can get a ls1 fbody for really cheap as well depending on condition.

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