Boyd Coddington and Jack Roush combine their talents to produce the limited-edition California Roadster
April 1, 2003
Roush Performance--just saying the name brings thoughts of speed and pride. For the past several years Roush Performance has created a number of excellent Mustangs that have been offered through authorized dealers across the country. A buyer has the choice of option levels, with Stage 3 being the highest.
Owning any Roush Mustang would impress the hard-core enthusiast, but there were two people who knew they could make them better: Steve Chirrik and Boyd Coddington Jr. In the summer of 2002, they decided to embark on a project to create the ultimate limited-edition Roush Mustang. The new project would be a joint effort between Roush Performance and legendary hot rod builder Boyd Coddington. Their Mustang creation would be elegant with its Coddington influence and an outstanding performer from Roush's extensive racing experience.
"I've got a good friend, Steve Chirrik, who used to be with Roush in their West Coast division. We had been brainstorming about building a signature unit targeted to hot rod guys," explained Boyd Coddington Jr. Their plan was to take a Roush Stage 3 Mustang and blend it with the classic hot-rod look that the Coddington company has helped shape since the '60s. "We originally planned on only marketing it on the West Coast, but the prototype was so well-received, we decided to offer a limited edition," continued Coddington. Roush is producing only100 Boyd Coddington California Roadsters, of which 75 models have the stock 4.6 Modular engine, while 25 models are pumped up with a Roush Roots-style supercharger. The blower brings the total number of ponies in the corral to 360 at 5,250 (torque is a robust 375 at 3,000).
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The California Roadster design team retained the Roush exterior styling package that comes standard on the Stage 3 Mustangs, and buyers have a choice of exterior colors. The first prototype body was treated to a two-tone paint job, DuPont custom-mix silver over factory Ford black. Its success at the initial public viewing convinced the team to carry it to the production models. A second exterior paint scheme is also offered, DuPont Boyd Red on top of factory Ford black paint. These two color combinations have proven quite popular, and Roush will also be releasing a third color option: Yellow over factory Ford black.
The California Roadster's looks do not stop with just a new paint job on a Roush Stage 3. A set of 18-inch Smoothie II wheels adorn the four corners, and their timeless five-spoke looks are the perfect touch. Up front, the wheels check in at 18x9 inches and are wrapped with BFGoodrich 265/35ZR18 tires. In the back the team decided on 18x10 inch wheels with 295/35ZR18 BFGoodrich skins to add a tougher stance.
The leather interior has been custom stitched by Classic Soft Trim, and the Boyd Coddington logo is proudly embroidered on the front seats. The driver keeps track of the engine through a set of white-faced gauges in the stock cluster. Boyd Coddington has signed each gauge package, giving it an authentic look. Verifying each California Roadster is a custom ID plate that has been machined from 6061-billet aluminum with its identifying number. The speedster tonneau cover is custom-built for this application.
Visually, the California Roadster has been influenced by the Coddington tradition, but underneath the skin the Roush team showed its talents. The suspension is standard Stage 3 fare, with Bilstein monotube shocks and struts that are custom-valved to Roush specifications. The factory front sway bar was yanked, and in its place is a 35mm unit to alleviate body roll. The stock springs have been tossed and replaced with a new set that lowers the Mustang 1.5 inches in the front and 1 inch in the back. The lower center of gravity helps this Mustang stay planted when cornering. Under the hood of 75 California Roadsters will be a naturally aspirated 4.6 engine, while the other 25 models will have a Roush supercharger added to the mix.
The two companies involved decided to debut their prototype at the 2002 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Its reception there pushed the Roush and Coddington teams to begin offering the California Roadster in April 2003. Within a few short months of the release date, they had sold almost 30 of the limited run. If you want your copy, it requires a payment of $42,000 for the non-supercharged unit. If you elect to have a bit more power on tap then expect the sticker price to read $48,000 for the supercharged version. Not a bad price for a Mustang designed and modified by two of the most exciting companies in this industry.