Latest RTR-spec Mustang might be the best one yet

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Part of the Ford Mustang’s appeal lies in its ability to be easily customized. We’ve seen so many versions of the ‘Stang over the years, and there are a handful of them that are head and shoulders above the rest, including the Ford Mustang RTR. Created by Ford in partnership with Pro Formula Drift driver Vaughn Gittin Jr., the Mustang RTR stands tall as one of the sickest interpretations of the iconic muscle car. It’s essentially a Mustang on steroids, accomplished in part because Ford is always looking for ways to improve the car’s status as one of the best pony machines in the market today.

Those of you who are familiar with the RTR badge will know that it’s become somewhat of a tradition for Ford and Gittin Jr. to collaborate on this specific kind of creation. In fact, the past decade has given birth to a good number of Mustang RTRs, ranging from the subtle to the over-the-top. Hard to think of the 2014 Mustang RTR as anything but outlandish, but that’s the whole point on why the RTR badge has become synonymous with Ford’s legendary muscle car. This year, a new version of the Mustang RTR is set to make its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show, and really, where else would it do it? Ford and Gittin Jr.’s aftermarket firm are once again heavily involved in its creation, and the result is nothing short of our expectations. Improved looks, more power, and a seal of approval from one of the best race drifters in the world. This is what awaits us when we get a hold of the latest version of the Mustang RTR.

Updated 01/29/2019: We added a new set of images taken during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Continue after the jump to read more about the 2018 Ford Mustang RTR


  • Front lip spoiler
  • Sculpted hood
  • RTR signature LED grille lighting
  • RTR Appearance Package
  • RTR graphics
  • RTR 19" Tech 7 wheels w/ Nitto 555G2 tires
2018 Ford Mustang RTR
- image 818877
The RTR Design Package features a steady stream of design pieces meant to enhance the muscle car’s visual looks

If pictures painted thousands of words, the Mustang RTR is going to turn some serious heads. While it’s somewhat true that almost all of the signature elements from the last RTR remains here, the underlying appeal of the special edition Mustang still holds weight. The name of the game in this section is the RTR Design Package, which features a steady stream of design pieces meant to enhance the muscle car’s visual looks. The triangular-shaped LED accent lights on the grille count as one of the most distinct exterior features, but there’s also a new front splitter and a more sculpted hood in the mix now. Combine these aero parts with black accent striping on the hood and side profile and a new set of 19-inch Tech 7 wheels wrapped in Nitto 555G2 tires and you have the makings of a Mustang RTR that does its predecessors proud.

It’s admittedly not as flashy as some of the past Mustang RTR’s we’ve seen before, but remember, those versions Gittin Jr. created with the help of Monster Energy and Nitto tires were race-spec units of the RTR. This one, like the more subtle RTR-spec versions that have also come out, are road-production models. If you want to see the difference, check out the photos below.

2014 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Nitto Tire by Vaughn Gittin Exterior
- image 500929
2015 Ford Mustang RTR High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 575812

Note: Photos of the 2014 Ford Mustang RTR by Monster Energy, Nitto Tires, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the 2015 Ford Mustang RTR.


  • Recaro sports seats
  • Signed dash plaque by Vaughn Gittin Jr.
  • RTR shift knob
  • RTR floor mats
2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Interior
- image 702250

Note: Standard 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

There are some noteworthy pieces like the Recaro sports seats and the signed dash plaque by Gittin Jr. himself

Judging by what we’ve come to know about past Ford Mustang RTRs, the road-spec versions are lacking in terms of exclusive interior goodies. There are some noteworthy pieces like the Recaro sports seats and the signed dash plaque by Gittin Jr. himself, but for the most part, the most you can expect are throw-in items like the RTR shift knob and if you really want to go all-out, the RTR-branded floor mats.

That’s likely the extent of what we can expect from the RTR unit, though Ford may still have a few more surprises up its sleeve once the special edition Mustang makes its official debut at SEMA.


  • Three Spec options
  • Around 700 horsepower for the Spec 3 tune
2018 Ford Mustang RTR
- image 818873
Details about the Spec 1 and Spec 2 tunes are expected to be announced at SEMA

Specific details surrounding the power and performance credentials of the Mustang RTR are still shrouded in secrecy, we can at least expect it to hit the magic number of 700 horsepower. That’s the indication Ford has given us as it pertains to the Spec 3 state of tune that the Mustang RTR will have at its disposal. On the other end, details about the Spec 1 and Spec 2 tunes are expected to be announced at SEMA, so that’s two things we can at least look forward to. Regardless of their specific states, the 2018 Mustang RTR should come with noticeable power and performance improvements over its predecessor. Not by much, but still something worthwhile. My best guess would be that the Spec 1 RTR will simply be a design and aero-focused tune. That means it’s going to carry the same output as the stock model, or about 460 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque at the tilt.

As far as Spec 2 is concerned, the previous road-spec version of the RTR carried over with a 30-horsepower increase from the standard unit so given what the 2018 Mustang has at its disposal, somewhere in the territory of 500 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque is a possibility. The incremental gains will likely be credited to software upgrades.

2018 Ford Mustang RTR
- image 818880
Adjustable sway bars and a sports exhaust system should also be featured elements.

Last but not least is Spec 3. This is where a supercharger and a few other fun bits, including an intercooler and an upgraded fuel injection system, were thrown into the mix and the result of that on the last Mustang RTR was an output of 670 horsepower. If Ford decided to adopt the same approach using the Mustang’s new engine configuration, 700 ponies is definitely attainable.

On the suspension side, lowering springs are a lock to be included, owing to the fact that they’re included in the RTR Design Package. That said, adjustable sway bars and a sports exhaust system should also be featured elements.


2018 Ford Mustang RTR
- image 818875

Ahh, yes, The question that trumps all manner of features and oddities for each and every car. How much is it? Well, Ford hasn’t released a price tag yet, but we were hinted on the likelihood that the Mustang RTR will carry a price tag of somewhere in the neighborhood of $65,000.

That figure came to our attention because of a giveaway being sponsored by American Muscle. Yep, one lucky Mustang aficionado will win one of the first Mustang RTRs to come out of production. The drawing isn’t taking place until April 6, 2018, but the giveaway did mention that the special edition Mustang carries an “approximate retail value” of $65,000. It’s far from a slam dunk that the figure is the exact price, but at least it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of that.

Those who miss out on the giveaway will still get a shot at owning the car as it’s scheduled to become available at select Ford dealerships sometime in the spring of next year.


2018 Ford Mustang RTR
- image 818880

It’s Ford. It’s Vaughn Gittin Jr. It’s the new Ford Mustang RTR. Really, what could go wrong? I certainly don’t expect any hiccups as far as the new ’Stang RTR is concerned. We’ve seen what the protagonists are capable of in the past so there’s no reason to believe that this new version is going to be a letdown. Regardless of what we see at SEMA, I fully expect the new Mustang RTR to be a hot-ticket item when it goes up on sale next year, as it should since Ford and Vaughn Gittin Jr. have been doing this racket for almost a decade now with no let-up in sight. Seems like they’re doing something good so why mess with that?

  • Leave it
    • Not much happening on the interior
    • Expected bigger and more profound improvements from previous version
    • Availability could be limited


Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
- image 702950

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

2014 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Nitto Tire by Vaughn Gittin Exterior
- image 500924

Read our full review on the 2014 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Nitto Tire by Vaughn Gittin.

2015 Ford Mustang RTR High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 575812

Read our full review on the 2015 Ford Mustang RTR.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Press release

After extensive testing and design development, the new 2018 Ford Mustang RTR focuses on style, drivability, performance and aerodynamic styling, making it the most dynamic, powerful and expressive Mustang RTR yet. The 2018 Mustang RTR will be available soon through select Ford Dealers globally, offering turnkey packages with up to 700 horsepower.

“The new 2018 Ford Mustang is the most technologically advanced and arguably the best Mustang ever on all fronts,” RTR creator Vaughn Gittin Jr. said. “It’s amazing what Ford has been able to accomplish with the 2018 Mustang in terms of performance and overall refinement, but the RTR team and I just couldn’t leave it alone! With our unique styling across the entire RTR lineup, available multi-purpose adjustable suspension components and power upgrades that our customers have grown to love and use to push their RTRs to the limit! I am confident, and many will agree, that this is one of the most fun Ford Mustangs ever to hit the street!”

As in years past, the 2018 RTR will be offering a Spec 1, Spec 2 and Spec 3 version of the Ford Mustang. Every RTR includes the RTR Design Package, signature lighting and graphics kit, and dash plaque signed by Vaughn Gittin Jr. New aerodynamic styling such as the front bumper turning vanes and the forged Aero 7 wheels offer aggressive styling and purposeful additions to the Ford Mustang.

The 2018 Mustang RTR, will debut at SEMA in the Ford display. RTR’s new production offerings, optional equipment, pricing, order details and exact horsepower figures will be announced soon.

Joining the RTR Vehicle lineup is the 2018 Ford F-150 RTR Muscle Truck, inspired by the incredibly popular Ultimate Fun-Haver F-150, will also be revealed at the Ford SEMA display. More details coming soon.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release

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