Wanna Have Fun?
Vaughn Gittin Jr. builds a new F-150 designed for sliding, jumping, and ultimate fun
By Steve Turner
Photos by Stacy Stangz and courtesy of Mustang RTR
If you paid attention to the antics taking place at The SEMA Showâ€™s Ford Out Front display, you undoubtedly saw Vaughn Gittin Jr. sliding around the parking lot. That he was entertaining the crowds and thrilling his passengers is no surprise. It is what Vaughn does. However, that he spent part of his time doing it in an F-150 rather than a Mustang was noteworthy.
Of course, if you are regular visitor to our front page, we previewed the truck for you, but seeing the real truck, dubbed the Ultimate Fun Haver, doing its thing in Vegas was an eye-opener.
Watching Vaughn jump, slide, and generally burn rubber in a 2015 EcoBoost F-150, with an automatic no less, was quite impressive.
If you missed it, be sure to check out his All The Rad video from the show:
Seeing it inspired us to catch up with the man himself and get the story behind this unique pickup. We touched base with him while he was out having fun in China.
â€œIâ€™m not sure if you know this or not but I love to have fun (Like many of the SVTPerformance crew and readers Iâ€™m sure!),â€ Vaughn Gittin Jr. said. â€œIn fact I am a self-proclaimed professional fun-haver! Personally I am all about challenging the norm and trying new things, that mindset is where many success in my lifeâ€”including RTRâ€”started and I have a passion to try things that might be viewed to not be possible.â€
Having known Vaughn, or JR to his friends, for many years now, we could not argue that he loves to have fun. He is living the life most automotive enthusiasts could only dream of, but he lives that life because he has the car control to win drifting championships and the marketing moxie to make a name for himself and the brands that support him. Clearly he has done well for the Ford Mustang, and the company wanted to see what he had up his sleeve for the companyâ€™s prime-moverâ€”the F-150.
â€œFor the Ultimate Fun Haver I wanted to build something different, something so far against the norm or what is expected of me given how much I love Mustang. The vision was to build something that could support every bit of fun that I could ever imagine, something that could support my adrenaline and smile addiction all in one easily adjustable functional setup,â€ he added. What is this fun I dream of? Jumping, drifting, carving canyons, and cruising the streets. I absolutely love trucks and fell in love with the new 2015 F-150 at the design studio a couple years ago.â€
Lurking up the sleeve of his driving suit was the concept for a wild, cross-genre pickup that could perform in all the venues of his dreams.
â€œSo, once I learned the new F150 was eligible for SEMA builds I submitted a proposal for a four-door EcoBoost F-150. The plan was to put a custom suspension on it that could support all the fun, so I went with a custom Air Lift Performance setup for ride height adjustability and King shocks to control whatever abuse I wanted to toss at this thing,â€ Vaughn said. â€œI had the unbelievable crew at Kibbetech complete the build including design a custom front and rear suspension that offers 12 inches of travel. And, of course, you have to share fun so we put five Recaro Sportsters and Takata Harnesses in to keep everyone from bouncing around the cab while I get crazy behind the wheel.â€
To ramp up the power needed to throw this big truck around, Vaughn turned to some familiar names.
â€œWe installed a K&N intake and Magnaflow made us a custom side-exit exhaust and my man Adam (Browne) from Revolution Automotive worked his tuning magic to get the throttle and transmission to react exactly how I wanted it,â€ Vaughn said.
However, despite increasing the truckâ€™s output, he wasnâ€™t looking to measure the gains on a racetrack or a dyno. He wanted a more human measurement for the truckâ€™s modifications, but thatâ€™s not to say Vaughn doesnâ€™t have big plans for the truckâ€™s performance.
â€œPerformance was to be measured by the amount and duration of smiles that the truck offered,â€ Vaughn said. â€œSo far, just from SEMA, I think all expectations were surpassed as my face hurt from smiling so much and the many passenger were having a blast as well.â€
It sure seemed like everyone was having fun at the Ford Out Front eventâ€¦
â€œOn a serious note, it had to drift, jump, perform off-road and be able to drive on the street as a daily. We achieved all of those goals and we are looking forward to continue developing it,â€ he added. â€œPerhaps we will take a cruise to Baja (for fun not competition) once we dial it in a bit better. I am most excited about turning up the power a bit. I hope to get 500 to 600 lb-ft of torque out of that 3.5 EcoBoost soon!â€
Knowing that Vaughn has a line of Mustang RTRs, we couldnâ€™t help but wonder what the UFH F-150 means for the future. Could we see him bring All The Rad to the world of trucks? Could an RTR F-150 be in the offing?
â€œWell, damn! Talk about putting me on the spot. Letâ€™s just say this project might have had a little bit of underlying â€˜market assessmentâ€™ to it and response has blown my mind,â€ he confessed. â€œFor a while I have felt that trucks are not just for working job sites and hauling stuff anymore. Perhaps in the future it will be time to challenge the norm when it comes to the expectations of a Ford F-150.â€
The Mod List
â€¢ Air Lift Performance air bags
â€¢Â Camburg Racing front upper and lower control arms
â€¢ Kibbetech custom suspension offering 12 inches of travel
â€¢ King Shocks dual bypass front/triple bypass rear shocks
â€¢Â King Shocks air bump stops
â€¢ Exterior RTR custom flares (built by Auto Explosion Custom Auto Body)
â€¢ Nitto Tire Terra Grappler G2 35×12.5×18-inch tires
â€¢ Raptor Retrofit custom lighting
â€¢ RTR custom 18×10-inch wheels
â€¢ XPEL protection film wrap
â€¢ V-LEDS light conversion
â€¢ Autosport Dynamics handbrake
â€¢ Recaro Sportster seats
â€¢Â Takata Racing harnesses
â€¢ K&N Filters intake system and oil filter
â€¢ Full Race intercooler
â€¢Â Magnaflow custom exhaust system
â€¢ Revolution Automotive custom tune