your dream car? Then it is likely that the biggest question facing you
is about the engine. Specifically, should I buy a custom-built engine,
or stick with the comfort of a mass-produced crate motor? ROUSH
Performance, the leader in Ford powertrain development and all things
high-performance, has a wide line of “crate motors” built by the
winningest name in racing that are anything but bland, off-the-shelf
“A Crate it Ain’t” Street Rodder magazine proclaimed about the ROUSH
Performance offerings, largely because these engines are a unique blend
of the best of both worlds. They can be ordered out of a catalog just
like any crate engine, but customers have the ability to choose many of
the components and create their own custom, one-of-a-kind engine which
is then hand-assembled by an experienced engine builder.
ROUSH Performance offers nine base models of Ford engines which
translate to 22 different variations. Carbureted and fuel-injected, as
well as short and long-block versions are available. The base model,
the 327SR puts out 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. torque. From there,
it only goes up - way, way up to a whopping 1,050 horsepower and 400
lb.-ft. torque in the 588RX.
The core models include a 327, 342, 353, 402, 427, 451, 511, 588 and
5.3R. The fuel-injected packages, which are the ROUSH IR series, have
been carefully fabricated to offer the same drivability characteristics
as a normal production vehicle. ROUSH engineered the intake manifolds
and redesigned the throttle bodies to incorporate isolators which
The expertise that ROUSH has in engine construction is well-known, and
most visible through those built for competition in the upper echelons
of NASCAR, including the Nextel Cup Series which is the pinnacle of
stock car racing. But the same facility in Livonia, Mich., which used
to build the race engines is now turning out customized engine builds
and these are becoming extremely desirable among the Cobra and street
rod market. In fact, many of the most recognized hot rod constructors,
such as Chip Foose and Roy Brizio, have already incorporated ROUSH
engines into their featured vehicles.
One of the largest replica car manufacturers in the country is
Superformance which installs a ROUSH crate engine in nearly every
vehicle they deliver.
“ROUSH engines have been the best thing that has happened to the
Superformance MKIII, Shelby Daytona Coupe and GT40. We have been using
ROUSH engines for the past four years in our cars on the track and the
street. They have a large range of engines that are reliable, powerful,
well built and the support from the ROUSH team has been incredible. I
personally have a 427SR in my own GT40 and can say that it’s awesome,”
said Lance Stander, president of Superformance LLC, Shelby Distribution
USA and CEO of Hillbank Motors Inc.
Something unique to the ROUSH Performance crate engines is that they
all come with a 2-year/24,000 mile warranty. This is the best in the
industry and can be offered because they are built to exacting
tolerances and are engineered and durability tested to assure
reliability and performance long before being made available for sale.
Each engine is sold as a complete package which includes air cleaner,
oil pan, flywheel, flex plate and front end accessories. Other
companies may require these items be obtained separately which adds
additional expense and work to install. When received, a ROUSH engine
can be dropped into the engine compartment, have the hoses attached and
re-filled with fluids, and are then ready to start and go. Though at
first glance the price on a ROUSH engine may appear slightly higher
than others, when all the content that comes standard with the engine
is taken into consideration (even items like a wire loom) it is easy to
conclude that the overall price may, in fact, even be less than the
Prior to shipping, every single ROUSH engine is hot-tested on one of
the 50 engine dynos at the facility to verify both power and integrity.
Documentation comes with the engine showing the exact tested horsepower
and torque figures, and certifies the engine to be leak-free.
Additionally, each engine comes with a CNC-engraved “Powered by ROUSH”
plaque showing the same figures, along with the model and individual
serial number. This plaque is designed to be riveted into the engine
compartment and, according to many owners, helps to increase the value
of the vehicle.
All ROUSH engines are available with a natural finish or fully polished
(this includes cylinder heads, intake manifold, front cover, water
pump, valve covers, thermostat housing, pulleys, brackets and
alternator if ordered with the package). If you choose, ROUSH can even
custom paint or special finish (such as anodize, chrome or powder coat)
any or all of the engine and components prior to assembly so that it
can be dyno tested as a complete package. This is important because it
allows the builder to simply install the engine without any further
detailing after the fact. All oil pans are powder coated in a silver
metallic tone and clear coated.
“I guess all the options available for our crate engines can appear to
be a bit overwhelming,” admitted Jack Roush. “As a guy who knows a
thing or two about engines, I think it is awesome that someone can
start with a base model and end up with an engine that nobody else has
in their car. They can point to the engine and tell their friends ‘this
is exactly what I wanted.’ And of course, being a ROUSH engine, you
know that the horsepower and performance is a cut above the rest,” he
added with a smile.
More than just a mere engine assembler, ROUSH engineers and machines
many of the engine components in-house on their wide range of CNC
machines. Just a sampling of the items that ROUSH manufactures
themselves are front end accessory drives, water necks, billet wire
looms, billet fuel filters with inline fuel logs, laser cut stainless
steel timing pointers, alternator brackets and air cleaners. With more
than 5,000 square feet of space dedicated to engine builds alone, ROUSH
has the capacity, technology and experience to handle just about any
Even with so many choices already, such as engine finish, the decisions
don’t stop there. Most models have a variety of options to choose from
when it comes to valve covers, air cleaners, and even spark plug wires.
Taking it one step further, ROUSH offers complete powertrain assemblies
such as automatic and manual transmissions, bell housings and clutches.
With all the models and options available, it is easy to see why a
ROUSH Performance crate engine is not just an “off the shelf” model. It
is really a custom engine, built to your exact specifications. So, let
ROUSH build a Ford engine for your dream car and make it something you
can take extra pride in when opening the hood for your friends.
Based in Livonia, Mich., “The Art of Performance Engineering” takes
place at ROUSH Performance. In addition to the array of Ford Mustang
and F-150 styling, handling and performance upgrades, a complete line
of performance parts and crate engines are offered. For more
information, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com.