Review: 2011 Ford Mustang RTR Vaughn Gittin Jr. Edition

Michael Prichinello is a contributor to BoldRide and owner of Classic Car Club Manhattan In the movie Drive, Ryan Gosling flicks around a Ford Mustang GT with relative ease during the chase scene with the Chrysler 300. The Mustang, obviously, handily outmaneuvers the 300 and that’s just a stock Mustang. Imagine if it had been souped up. In truth, the GT 5.0 is a fantastic platform for people to build a better car from. And they have. While there are a ton of those options out there, parked in our club’s garage is a 2011 Mustang RTR (Ready to Race) tricked out by professional drifting driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. It’s an insane beast. To get your own, you buy a stock GT, which you ship it to Detroit to Ford’s garage. And then it’s another $7,895 to add on the RTR package. What do you get for that extra cash? Vaughn’s signature on the dash, ‘RTR’ emblazoned no less than thirty times inside the car, a Ford race exhaust, Ford race intake, a short shift kit, HRE wheels, a stellar graphics kit, a better aero kit, about 18 more horsepower and just a better standing car; one built for drifting. It really is absolutely brilliant for drifting. The Coyote motor in a Mustang delivers power really well. For road cars, horsepower is completely irrelevant. Torque matters and the torque here is around 380 pounds per foot. While that doesn’t work well for a Mustang, it works really well for a Mustang designed by Vaughn Gittin Jr. That’s because it steps out very easy. A lot of people would load up the front with weight and then downshift, brake, and get into the slide. But in the RTR, all you have to do is feather the clutch a bit then you can break the back wheels loose at any time and drift this car. It’s funny because I’ve been with Vaughn in cars that he’s put sideways around the tracks before and it’s wild because everything he does while driving is to upset the car; everything I do is to keep it calm. Rounding out the list of things I love about the RTR is the fact that it can get about 28 miles per gallon on the highway – because of the amount of torque, the gearbox, the brakes, and that it simply sounds great. It emits a nice throaty growl that turns into a roar when you stomp the accelerator. The RTR is not without its downfalls. For example, I hate that it has a live rear axle. That’s dump truck technology that Ford, for some reason, will just not get rid of. They’ll probably tell you that’s the heritage of a Mustang, but I would tell you that’s 30-year-old technology they need to get over. Cars were once steam-powered, but we don’t use that anymore. When you go around a corner in the RTR, the back really slides out, causing you to oversteer all over the place. That’s because there’s only one axle that’s getting weighted up, meaning that if I make a right-hand turn, I’m applying all the weight to the left side of wheels. And the contact patch for the right side of the wheels is so miniscule - if it even exists - because it can’t level itself out. So you skid out. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be dangerous. It also doesn’t help that at 4,600 pounds, the RTR is 900 pounds heavier than it has to be. And my final gripe would be that the seats are made for the fattest people on the planet. They’re really more of a La-Z-Boy chair than a car seat, which is a problem when you corner and you’re flying all over the seat. All of that said, I do love this car. I don’t drive every car like a jerk, but this one feels like it asks to be driven that way. It’s supposed to be a bit of buffoonery; it’s supposed to be a hooligan. The Mustang has always reminded me of construction workers and, to me, it’s an American hero. Just know that if you own one of these, every 16 year old with a license is going to try to race you. But you’ll win every time. THE BASICS Make: Ford Model: Mustang RTR Vaughn Gittin Jr. Edition Year: 2011 Estimated Price (base when new): $30,500 + $7,895 RTR Package Engine: 5.0L V8 Horsepower:  421 hp Torque: 390 lb-ft Car Type: Muscle Car, Tuner THE MEASUREMENTS Overall length: 188.1" Wheelbase:  107.1" Height:  55.8" Width:  73.9" Curb weight:  3653 lbs. automatic / 3605 lbs. manual See more of the 2011 Ford Mustang RTR Vaughn Gittin Jr. Edition here, including a full gallery.