The eager fight between the two brands has become legendary over the years and was even a subject of interest from producers in Hollywood, who got inspired and recreated this beautiful story in the movie “Ford vs. Ferrari.” In retrospect, Ford not only won the Le Mans competitions but also won the Manufacturer Championship because of their combined scores during the races and additionally obtained the Sports 50 title with the 289 GT40 because of their street version manufacturing.
Ruffian Cars is a vehicle customization shop based in Southern California, owned and run by one man only, Chris Ashton. Nothing is typical about him and his workshop. Actually, Chris is a videogame developer, and the fact that he works alone and in his spare time, at night and on the weekends, on creating world-class engineering masterpieces is even more impressive. He is well-known in the industry for some other notable builds, such as his widebody 1970 Mustang and Mazda RX7 or his twin-turbo, sequential transmission, sleeper C3 Corvette.
Chris has been working on cars for 30 years and, had been racing for the last 20. Each build he completes gives him more experience and confidence, and every time he starts from scratch, he steps up the challenge. The notorious Ruffian Mustang is the one that left him with the most expertise in designing, planning, and building a car from the ground up. This vehicle was also the one that shaped its workshop name. “Ruffian” was an American thoroughbred horse that won 10 consecutive races from 1972 to 1975 in such a smooth manner that it seemed like child play. This kind of attitude sits at the heart of every one of his creations.
Believe it or not, the Ford GT40 Mark 1 we are talking about was only supposed to undergo a routine engine and transaxle install. Faith made it that this apparently straightforward task transformed into a vast resto-mod project that commanded the new technological advancements in the realms of fabrication. The vehicle has been publicly unveiled at this year’s SEMA show, becoming an esteemed section of Toyo’s Treadpass booth.
The base vehicle is a licensed continuation car made by the guys at Superperformance, not an actual 1960s GT40 racing car. Being a videogame developer, Chirs has hands-on experience with 3D planning procedures. He put his high-tech expertise to good use, using 3D printers to fabricate custom parts after his own schemes or with the help of Kasim Tlibekov, a freelance automotive designer specialized in widebody car styling and the skilled guys at Competition Carbon.
The Ruffian GT40’s appearance is more of an evolution of the Ford racing legend. The bodywork has been completely redone using modern fabrication technology. It stars a carbon widebody kit and side skirts, a unique roof-scoop, a pair of 3D printed headlights, and flush-mounted door handles. Furthermore, the aluminum rear spoiler, custom fenders, and front splitter were designed by Tlibekov and built by Ashton himself.
Funny enough, the exterior color is the 2020 Toyota Cavalry Blue blend, but South County Autobody masterly executed the painting process.
At the heart of this machine sits the massive Ford Racing 52XS powerplant, a 5.2-liter crate engine producing 580 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque at a 12:1 compression ratio, which got mated to a Quaife 5-speed dogleg transaxle transmission. The fruity custom-made exhaust system is of equal length on both sides, highlights 180-degree headers and a pair of vacuum-operated bypass valves.
The steering system in the Ruffian GT40 is an electronically-assisted rack and pinion construction supplied by Flaming River. Contributing to this vehicle’s menacing stance is the lowered Blistein suspension featuring a KW front-end lift and the huge Signature THREE center-lock wheels enveloped by Toyo Proxes R888R performance rubber, 295/30/18 section front, and 345/30/19 in the rear. Stopping this performance machine is no easy feat when the Ford Racing unit goes flat-out, but the Wilwood braking system with its 6-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors does an excellent job at bringing this mad machine to a complete halt in no time.
The fact that this magnificent creation is the result of a mainly one-man job is more impressive than anything. Mr. Chris Ashton did an outstanding job reviving the true legend of the Ford GT40, in a modernized manner using some of the latest possible technologies in the industry today. A game-changing project for him and his workshop, the Ruffian Cars GT40 just set a new standard for the custom car building world, and we cannot wait to see what the future will bring next from the Californian two-car garage.