Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsCar Reviews
Reviewing RTR’s 2017 Mustang Spec 2
There’s an easy way to gauge the coolness factor of a Mustang. Drive it amongst normal folk and see how many eyeballs stay stuck to your sick stallion. The 2017 Mustang RTR Spec 2 is one that scores a 10 out of 10 on the coolness scale. But Gittin’s love for Mustangs was something that was just starting to blossom 12 years ago.
As a factory Falken Tire driver, he transitioned from his personal S13 Nissan 240sx to a brand spankin’ new S197 in 2005. “The transition was much easier than one would think,” explained Gittin. “The Mustang was an upgrade in just about every way. I drove with the same style I did with my S13 and the benefit of having some real power and stronger components showed results immediately. The wheel base and track width really loved high angle high speed drifts.”
Before the public saw Gittin’s 2005 competition car, he was already hooked. “When I saw the rendering of the S197 I thought it looked sick, and I also thought it would be awesome to bring some American muscle into an (then) import dominated sport,” reminisced Gittin. “Once I drove the car for the first time I fell in love and I saw how awesome the community is around the Mustang. It was the full package for me and I never turned back...and don't plan to.”
When the refreshed S197 Mustang hit in 2010, Gittin saw the opportunity for creating his own brand that closely followed his Drift Alliance mantra – Ready to Rock (RTR). “I wanted to introduce something that spoke to me and my generation a bit better than the traditional aftermarket approach to Mustang,” explained Gittin. “I had a vision and a dream. My team and I continue to work tirelessly to design and engineer products with a very unique approach.”
Gittin’s approach was simple: OE quality appearance parts like a flat black aluminum spoiler, side skirts, front lip, splitter, and rear side splats. The fit and finish was perfect and required no paint. This author can tell you from experience on his personal 2011 Mustang GT. Of course if you wanted a fully serialized RTR Mustang, that was available too and for a mere $10,000 over the standard sticker price. One hell of a bargain.
“While building bad ass turnkey vehicles is our passion and priority, we don't really steer [the consumer to] anything,” exclaims Gittin. “We let our vehicles, parts and the overall RTR brand speak for itself and let customers choose what makes sense for them […buying parts versus an RTR branded Mustang]. Not everyone will "get" what we are doing and that is fine. RTR was never meant to be for everyone. We know some people will want our full solution by way of a serialized RTR Spec 1, Spec 2 or Spec 3. We also know some people will want to pick and choose some of our parts. Either way, we are pumped to have them a part of the RTR movement!”
Then Ford decided to completely revise the Mustang for 2015…
When explaining his design theory behind the S550 RTR, Gittin went on to say, “We applied a very similar modern aggressive styling approach to the S550 as we have for S197 at a high level. A chin that gives a nice aggressive look; rockers and splitters that carry a unique design element from the front to the rear of the car; and of course our signature rear spoiler. For the first time we introduced grilles and even added integrated LED lighting which give our cars a very unique look that is unmistakably "RTR". We were also able to get pretty aggressive with the rear diffuser, taking inspiration from some exotics and applying it to the S550.”
When it came to rollers Gittin continued with mesh-style wheels but upped the ante a bit along with a new suspension package. “We got a bit more aggressive with our wheel line, adding some harder lines and more concavity. When it came to performance, we engineered parts and driving characteristics in-house. The RTR Tactical Performance Handling Package (standard on Spec 2 and optional on Spec 3) was developed to offer confidence to all levels of drivers as well as the ability to adapt to the drivers' activities of choice. Whether track days for grip or drift, some blasts down the dragstrip, or cruising the streets, there is a way to dial in the S550 chassis simply by moving the sway bar or adjusting the dampers. We developed our suspension to be very forgiving and fun to drive. It rewards you for good driving, but does not punish you for mistakes. We are very proud of where we ended up on all fronts.”
We have to agree with Gittin. The best part about the RTR Spec 2 is that it drives like a stock GT. Despite a fairly low and aggressive stance, the RTR seemingly glides over bumps and doesn’t snap your spine on rough roads. The Nitto NT555 G2 tires grip remarkably well and let you know if it doesn’t like what you’re doing. The springs, adjustable shocks, and sway bars are extremely balanced. Yes, this isn’t a fully built track suspension, but is possibly one of the best street/track suspension systems we’ve driven on an S550 that has the perfect balance of grip and ride comfort. Well done RTR.
Perhaps the only negative part about the RTR is its best feature – it drives like a stock Mustang. We love how it handles both rough roads and the turns but it’s simply too tame in the sound department. While we can appreciate the RTR coming with a police friendly axle-back, we felt a more aggressive sound needed to project from the sweet flat black RTR tips that better reflects the aggressiveness of the RTR’s styling. The exhaust coupled with a Ford Performance calibration bumps horsepower slightly to 460 on 91 octane and a reported 472 on 93. All in the Spec 2 package will set you back $11,995 on top of the stock Mustang’s sticker price. A very affordable way to set yourself apart from other Mustangs.
For all the Mustang faithful, don’t worry Gittin is here to stay. “When I started my own team it was not even a consideration to change platforms. I love all aspects about the Ford Mustang and I am proud to be pushing the limits and representing for all my fellow Mustang enthusiasts and owners. It's hard to explain but I am so connected to Mustang, that at this point it's like an extension of my body,” proudly exclaims Gittin.
Stay tuned for more from RTR.
RTR Spec 1 Package
RTR Grill w LED Lights
RTR Lower Grill
RTR Chin Spoiler
RTR Rocker Splitters
RTR Rear Diffuser
RTR Rear Spoiler
RTR Decklid Panel
RTR Serialized Dash Plaque
RTR Graphics Kit
RTR Lower Springs
RTR 19-inch Wheels
Nitto NT555 G2 Tires
RTR Spec 2 Package
ALL Spec 1 RTR Items Plus these RTR Upgrades
RTR 2-Way Dampers
RTR Axle-Back Exhaust
RTR Ford Performance Calibration
RTR Upgraded Sway Bars
20-inch RTR Tech 7 Wheels