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Ford Ranger RTR Rambler concept review

By Matt Raudonikis | Photos: Cristian Brunelli, 29 Feb 2020 Custom 4x4s

RTR Ford Ranger Rambler concept review feature

Vaughn Gittin Jr. gave the Ford Ranger the RTR treatment for this SEMA Show stunner.

The huge popularity of the Ford PX Ranger both in Australia and abroad has ensured the aftermarket has jumped on board with plenty of hop-ups for the 4x4 ute. Whether it’s bolt-on accessories for off-roading, cargo carrying systems, or performance and styling upgrades, there’s sure to be the right products out there for your car.

Some forward-thinking companies even offer complete customised packages for the Ranger, and the better ones even have the support of the factory. Think about what HSV and FPV used to be to Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons, which HSV continues to do with its Colorado utes, and you have an idea of how far these partnerships between the vehicle manufacturer and the aftermarket company can go.

The Ranger hasn’t had the same impact in the USA since its launch there in 2019 as it had here, and it seems Ford Performance really wanted to push the midsize ute at the SEMA Show last year with half-a-dozen tricked-up versions on the main stage in Las Vegas. The show special that caught our eye was this stunning example by the guys at RTR – Ready To Rock.

RTR Vehicles is the brainchild of leading drift racer Vaughn Gittin Jr. who, after years of successfully campaigning Ford Mustangs as drift cars, saw the need for a complete style and performance package for the iconic muscle car, with the full backing of the Ford Motor Company. The first Mustang RTRs were built in 2009 and the following year RTR and Ford joined forces to make these specially prepared vehicles available through select Ford dealerships in the USA with full factory support.

The next vehicle to score the RTR treatment was the ever-popular Ford F150 pick-up and, now in 2020, you can buy a Ford Ranger RTR in America. The standard Ranger RTR’s extra kit starts with Fox Performance 2.0 coil-overs under the front, Fox shocks at the rear, and RTR 17-inch Tech 6 alloys wearing 265/70R17 Nitto Ridge Grappler rubber under RTR flares. A Ford Performance cat-back exhaust system is the only power upgrade to the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and 10-speed automatic transmission combo; the EcoBoost engine is the only option in US Rangers.

Style-wise there’s the RTR grille with its signature parenthesis LED lights, RTR graphics, fender vents, floor mats and a dash plaque signed by Vaughn Gittin Jr. Consider it a Ranger Raptor Lite package, remembering that the Yanks don’t get the Ranger Raptor there, yet.

“Being an off-road enthusiast and a lover of the great outdoors, I am in love with the way the Ford Ranger RTR can allow you to explore roads and lands less travelled,” said Gittin, who also competes off-road in a Bronco-based Ultra 4 racer. “The goal with the Ranger RTR is to inspire our customers to step out of the boundaries, get off the road, enjoy the outdoors and do some exploring!”

Worth Watch: Vaughn Gittin Jr drifts an F-150 around the Nordschleife

 

RTR built on this package for the SEMA Show to create the Ranger RTR Rambler; a fully kitted Ranger ready to take on any adventure. Starting at the cargo tub, a Yakima bed rack mounts a rooftop tent up top with snowboard mounts on one side and traction board mounts on the other. In the tub, a BedSlide supports a Rockland single drawer with jerry cans up top and an ARB Jack on the side. There’s also an ARB twin-pump air compressor mounted to the tubside. Utilising both the bed slide and roller drawer gives users easy access to what’s inside.

There’s more ARB goodness up front with a Ford Performance by ARB front bumper, which is another interesting collab between the OE and aftermarket. The steel bumper mounts a Warn winch, while the underbody protection and tow points come from the Ford Performance catalogue. There’s an extra LED light bar mounted in the grille which, when combined with the octet of Rigid Industries blasters up top, provides plenty of lumens for night-time escapades.

The Rambler boosts off road performance thanks to a Harrop/Eaton E-locker fitted in the front axle, complementing the factory locker in the rear differential.

The Ranger RTR and the Rambler concept show how well vehicle manufacturers and top-level customisers can work together to create special vehicles for owners’ needs. It’s not a new idea but is one we are only just starting to see more of in the 4x4 sphere, and we look forward to more of it.

As for RTR, “We are constantly evaluating new markets and options that would allow us to either create unique groups of parts, or new parts all together,” said Cory Justice, director of sales and marketing for RTR Vehicles. “At this time, the parts shown on the Rambler such as the limb risers, grille with the optional LED light bar, and potentially the snorkel, are in process.”

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