The 2014 SEMA show was seemingly overrun with the highly anticipated 2015 Ford Mustang. Countless vendor featured builds stood proudly on the red carpet in various states of tune – from the ultra high performance, to mild versions with nothing more than excessive visual changes. But just outside the massive Las Vegas Convention Center’s climate controlled halls cracked the fury of 500 screaming horsepower, smoking tires and the unmistakable glory of 8,000rpm blasts. Yeah, it was Vaughn Gittin Jr. behind the wheel of RTR’s latest creation.
The wild, yet completely in control feeling you get while watching Vaughn Gittin Jr. masterfully pilot a car through a drift course is very much the same feeling you experience when looking at his Mustang RTR Spec 5 Concept. Much more than just a set of cool over-fenders and a vinyl wrap, this car is purpose-built from the ground up, and not a single corner was cut during the process. Like the rest of the world, we’ve fallen in love with the RTR Spec 5 Concept and sat down with the man himself for the inside scoop on his vision of the perfect Mustang…
What was your initial vision for the Spec 5 Concept? Did this vision ever change?
This project was the first in which we were able to dive into the amazing new 2015 Mustang without any sort of box. Since we were debuting our production based Mustang RTR Spec 2 at the same time, for the RTR Spec 5 Concept, I wanted to turn the aggressive and modern styling, as well as the smile-inducing performance RTR is known for, up to 11. We wanted to accentuate the lines of the new design, but at the same time push it much farther to make a car with a rebellious spirit and the crazy performance to back it up. We wanted to introduce something that from 25 feet away looked like an aggressive streetcar, but upon further inspection, clearly was much more. The overall vision and goals remained on target for the entire build. Of course, like most all projects of this caliber, many things from paper to reality had to be adjusted to get there. There was many nights during the last weeks of the build in which I was at the shop at 3AM on a “Facetime” call with my design team to get some of the aesthetics 100% dialed.
Function, form and feel – where do these fall on your list of priorities when putting something like this together?
Function and form are pretty equal on the priority list. I am not really into compromising on either of those elements. If I am not getting into something that puts a smile on my face as I walk up to open the door and then backs it up with confidence inspiring raw performance behind the wheel, then I am not really interested. I have found that when you achieve this proper mix of function and form, overall presence and “feel “ fall into place.
How many sketches were done before deciding on the final design?
I am very lucky that my lead designer and I see eye-to-eye just about 100% of the time. For this particular project, he killed it on the sketch right out of the box. It was not until we got into CAD and started moving the car around to see different angles that the fine-tuning began.
How long was the process from start to finish?
It took about three months to lock the aesthetics of the car.
Did all of your dreams come true with this build? Or were there certain ideas that you couldn’t achieve? What was the biggest headache during the process?
I can honestly say that 100% of the dreams came true for this project. There was a lot of challenges and hang-ups, however I am a very lucky guy and am able to enjoy working with some of the best in the business. Between my RTR team, ASD Motorsports, and MA-Motorsports, it seems that nothing I can dream up is impossible.
The biggest headache was that this was a brand new car and we were developing everything from scratch, while also trying to accomplish this unique build. Many hand-fabricated one-off parts were required which obviously takes significant time.
Is there anything that you wish you had done differently?
Not really anything off the top of my head. There are a few dumb things that I nitpick now that most people would never see. I guess its because I am so close to the project and nothing is ever perfect to me. I might have a problem???!!!
Extra special bells and whistles you’d like to point out?
In addition to our 2015 RTR appearance parts, especially the RTR signature grill lights, a few of my favorite parts on the car include the wide-body panels that we created, and our the new RTR by HRE “Tech 7” three-piece wheels in which both are available for our customers to install on their cars. I love the custom CNC front lower control arms that are modeled off of my racecar to give proper geometry and a ton of steering angle. Also, the handmade rear firewall with the RTR logo bead rolled into it. The Bosch Motorsport DDU7 dash has some really cool photos of friends and family that you can see when scrolling through the screens; this was something really cool that Ray from MA Motorsports worked with my wife to do behind my back to surprise me with. In all reality though, my absolute favorites are the pedal on the right and the wheel that I put my hands on.
How do you plan to top the Spec 5? What’s next?
Any unique info you can share with us?
We didn’t want to follow the norm and just build a car to sit on the floor at SEMA; we really wanted to debut a SEMA build in a different way. We did just that via door-to-door demos at Ford Out Front. In addition to the demos, I was even able to put some smiles on SEMA attendee’s faces as they were given some 8000RPM screaming Nitto Tire slaying rides.
Our industry is filled with knock off artists and idea “borrowers.” How would you feel and react to someone taking your design cues?
It is very flattering to inspire people and projects. That is what makes the world go round and many epic things have been achieved from people being inspired. I have been inspired throughout my life with many things, but there is a line where inspiration of design cues becomes a blatant copy of a product or overall style. We have seen it for years and it’s just the nature of the space we play in. Of course I get bummed when I see products on the market that are a “borrowed “idea of ours. But simply keeping the positive mindset that imitation is the highest form of flattery keeps me sane and allows me to roll with it without reacting. From what I have seen, true enthusiasts choose to support the right people.
2015 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5 Concept
Ford Racing 5.0 Aluminator XS
Ford Racing Aluminum radiator
Ford Racing close ratio 6-speed transmission
Ford Racing control pack
MagnaFlow custom racing muffler
K&N air filter
Driveshaft Shop 9″ conversion with 4:56 gears
Bosch 044 Fuel pump
Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft and axles
Revolution Automotive custom tune
ASD Motorsports custom front lower control arms
Wheels & Tires
Nitto NT05 Tires
RTR by HRE Tech 7 3-piece wheels (20×10 front, 20×11 rear)
Spec 5 wide flare panels (50mm front, 75mm rear)
3m 1080 film wrap (matte silver) by Speedesign
RTR chin spoiler with carbon splitter
RTR upper grill with integrated lighting
RTR lower grill
RTR rocker splitters
RTR rear diffuser
RTR rear spoiler with gurney lip
RTR composite hood, fenders, doors and rear decklid
Bosch DDU7 Motorsports display
Recaro Racing seats
ASD Motorsports hand brake
Takata Racing harnesses