There are more varieties of the Ford Mustang than coffee concoctions at Starbucks, yet enthusiasts always seem eager to embrace one more. Vaughn Gittin Jr., the driving champion most famous for his sideways antics in Formula Drift, developed the Mustang RTR as a dealer-installed appearance package and performance upgrade to the popular Ford coupe.

I spent some quality time in the Race Red two-door pictured above, a 2013 Mustang RTR Spec 2. Bundled as a complete RTR package, the $11,995 option (add it to the cost of the donor – in this case a $34,300 Mustang GT Premium) adds a Ford Racing engine tune, Ford Racing adjustable shocks, 1.0 inch or 1.5 inch lowering springs, RTR four-way adjustable front and rear sway bars, RTR strut brace, RTR adjustable Panhard rod, RTR rear chassis brace and a RTR axle back exhaust system.
  • The performance upgrades to the 5.0-liter V8 are limited to a Ford Racing Tune, K&N air filter and RTR exhaust. Combined, they add about 16 horsepower for an estimated output of 436 horses and 397 pound-feet of torque (with a 60 foot-pound boost on the low side of the tach!). The upgraded exhaust – complete with RTR-badged black tips – proved surprisingly enjoyable, adding a nice, deep note without droning on the highway. In stock form, the Mustang GT is plenty quick (4.5 seconds to 60 mph) so the minor engine upgrades are best considered icing on the cake.
  • High-performance Falken Azenis FK-453 rubber is wrapped around very attractive RTR 19- by 9.5-inch wheels (painted matte charcoal or silver with black lug nuts). The summer rubber sticks very well, but I found brake feel, and possibly stopping distances, suffered with the RTR cross-drilled and slotted rotors (keep in mind that the stock pads have less friction surface with this configuration). In my estimation, the factory Brembo brake upgrade is a much more effective performance upgrade.
  • Many aftermarket setups fail in terms of suspension tuning, but not on this RTR. The four-way adjustable suspension allows the driver to dial-in their own preference. It is stiff, but still comfortable enough to tackle LA's broken pavement (we found the 2011 Mustang RTR considerably harsher).
  • Inside the cabin, I found far too many RTR badges and logos – on the shift knob (a nice ball), the floor mats, speedometer, tachometer, 12v plug and on a numbered serial plate signed by Vaughn Gittin Jr. stuck on the passenger-side of the dash. Add those to another half-dozen RTR badges on the outside, and it was RTR overload.
  • The exterior cosmetic package is aggressive and clean – very nicely done. All-inclusive, it includes a front chin and rear spoiler, rear diffuser, rocker splitters, license plate surround with ducts, fender badges, rear deck appliqué and vinyl hood/side stripes. Unfortunately, I found the front splitter annoyingly low. Thankfully, despite being easy to scrape (even when driven with care), the unpainted polymer was flexible enough to take a little bit of abuse without cracking.
  • The rear windows on this particular vehicle, configured for the press fleet, were covered with an extremely dark film. Nearly opaque, it severely reduced outward visibility (so much for seeing any law enforcement in the rearview mirror) and made the cabin feel claustrophobic, even on a sunny day.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 46 Comments
      Bruce Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh boy "It is stiff, but still comfortable enough to tackle LA's broken pavement (we found the 2011 Mustang RTR considerably harsher)." If you guys really think LA's pavement is bad then I'm afraid you don't know what bad pavement is.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its very attractive, but at that price point, why wouldn't I just wait a little and get a C7 Corvette (or a deeply discounted C6 Corvette when the C7s hit the lot)? Needs to be much less expensive.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        The demographics that these two cars attract may be closer than they were in the past, but the Mustang and Corvette are still two entirely different beasts. One's a two seater, and "true sports car", while the other is a four seat, "muscle/pony car". The Corvette's always been more notable for its capabilities while the 2005 - current Mustang has been just as much, if not more, notable for its looks. Now, I'm not knocking the Mustang at all, just pointing out the differences I see between the cars and their buyers.
      audisp0rta4
      • 2 Years Ago
      If this package can be purchased in pieces, I would get the body kit and take care of the rest myself to get a more effective package for less money.
        Andrew Miller
        • 2 Years Ago
        @audisp0rta4
        you can just go to his website rtrmustang.com and you can buy everything
      thequebecerinfrance
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, looks really hot. Really spices up the Mustang without looking tacky at all. Nice job.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks handsome.
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love the look of my 2012 front better, however, thisRTR makes the fron less in your face. Nice
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      bubba_roe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another Mustang.... ZZzzzz.....
      Lucky Vanos
      • 2 Years Ago
      Billy Bob spent his food stamp money at the pep boys this week? Mustangs look tacky tacky tacky & a solid rear axle in 2012 on $40,000 + car,come on Ford.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lucky Vanos
        The only tacky Mustangs are see are that way because of their owners. In stock form, I would say classy and sporty are better words to describe their styling. In fact, I would call their styling conservative, in a good way, before I would call them tacky. This is especially the case with Fox Bodies and SN-95s, very conservative designs. The whole "live rear axle card" is way over played. For me, it's indicative of someone who is reaching for the "low hanging fruit" because they either have no argument, or just don't know what they are talking about. I have a 2006 GT, and have really had no issue it. I actually like that it still has a solid rear end for many reasons. If that's not your thing then wait 2014 as it's looking like the next generation will finally have that IRS you've all been screaming for, and then you will have to find something else you to not like about Mustangs.
      Alex Butti
      • 2 Years Ago
      We are in 2013 almost, and this car is STILL rocking a rear solid axle! Instead of spending $11K on the RTR package, why Ford (of Vaugh Gittin) couldn't change that and make it IRS?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Butti
        [blocked]
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          SRA is inferior which is why no other car company on the planet uses one. Even the new Camaro has finally come into the 21st century and given up that antiquated suspension technology. This is also why the next-gen Mustang, which will be here in about a years time, will finally drop the SRA for an IRS.
          Jonathan Ippolito
          • 2 Years Ago
          Well since the next Mustang is a world car and will be sold in Europe and Ford has stated that the next generation can't be sold in Europe with IRS Aparently all the European car buyers also agree that the car needs IRS !
      Michael Sexton
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many variations can they get people to buy before the new model debuts?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Michael Sexton
        [blocked]
          Michael Sexton
          • 2 Years Ago
          It does say dealer installed appearance and performance upgrade. That's close enough don't you think? Vaughn doesn't have a Turner shop doing the install do they?
        bubba_roe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Michael Sexton
        There is a lot of white trash in the US, so plenty of Mustangs are needed.
      bubba_roe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like a car Cleatus had the full Pep Boys catalog installed on.
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