November 29, 2023

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Why This Custom Ford GT40 Replica Is The Daft Punk Of American Sports Cars

Why This Custom Ford GT40 Replica Is The Daft Punk Of American Sports Cars

The MK 1 Ford GT40 is a legend. This American sports car is nothing short of an icon in the automotive world. A real example of this incredible machine is worth a fortune these days. But if you are a “build it rather than buy it” kind of person, you can still own a replica of the first gen GT40. And that’s precisely what Chris Ashton did. He bought a Superformance GT40 and turned it into a one-off masterpiece that’s downright amazing!

He slapped on several custom bits on his replica GT40, which might piss off purists. But his creation is unique and looks like something that’ll fit straight in a Daft Punk video. And that’s not only because of how it looks but also what it stands for. It brings back the retro vibe packaged beautifully in the cocoon of modern technology with the soundtrack of a howling V8 in the background.

Related: This LS3-Powered Toyota GT86 Set New Standards For Custom Car Builds

3D Printing Helped Make This GT40 Replica Accurate And Awesome

Ashton was clear on what he wanted to do with this 1966 MK 1 GT40 replica. And that was to turn it into something unique. As he tells in the video above, shared by the Speedhut Custom Gauges YouTube channel, he had already set the theme of his build even before he bought the rolling chassis from Superformance. He wanted to use modern technology and other high-tech stuff to turn the car into a widebody GT40.

Ashton was used to working on metal. But the replica had a fiberglass shell. So he had to use a completely different set of techniques to get the result he was looking for. And for this, he 3D scanned the entire car into the computer. This process allowed him to design all the panels he would need for his widebody GT40.

Ruffian GT40 Front Top View
Speedhut Custom Gauges – YouTube

The fenders, the nose piece, and the headlight housing on this car were all designed using CAD technologies. And then they were 3D printed. But Ashton’s job didn’t end there. Once these panels were hot out of the 3D printing press, they had to be sanded down and required final finishing touches.

Most of these custom-built panels look very neat. But the one that particularly stands out is the headlights. Ashton had to scan the housing from multiple models and design them into one piece that fit perfectly according to his design. Interestingly, the headlights use electronics and lenses from a Harley-Davidson, while the vertical turn signals are from a Toyota Avalon.

Ashton has given several other unique touches to his custom GT40, like the front wings and the massive scoop at the back. The wings are made of aluminum, while the rear scoop is made of carbon fiber. In fact, the side skirts and the chin spoiler also use this lightweight material.

The Interior Of This GT40 Is Incredibly Neat

Ruffian GT40 Interior
Speedhut Custom Gauges – YouTube

The interior of this custom GT40 is also elegant. It is mostly stock Superformance, but Ashton has added a few unique touches. He made it a right-hand drive but kept the shifter on the right too. The shifter has a custom surround with a Titanium lever and a knob forged in carbon. All the dials and gauges come from Speedhut. Ashton says that the brand offers a complete GT40 set which he has configured according to the theme of his build.

Just like the exterior panels, the custom paint scheme of blue, bronze, and red colors continues in the cabin too. The dials are all red save for the tach, that’s bronze but have the red Ruffian logo, which represents Ashton’s fast-growing brand. To give the cabin of this GT40 a unique touch, he also 3D printed the switch labels, which look fantastic!

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Ruffian GT40 Packs In A Mighty And Faithful Ford V8

Ruffian GT40 Engine
Speedhut Custom Gauges – YouTube

Besides Ashton’s stellar craftmanship on this custom GT40 replica, the show’s star has got to be the mighty mid-mounted Ford Aluminator V8. The 5.3-liter motor pumps out a healthy 580 horsepower with 445 lb-ft of torque. It uses the same block and headers as a GT350. The only difference is that this engine has a cross-plane crank instead of a flat-plane one.

With its overhead value setup, this motor red-lines at 8000 rpm. And the power goes to the rear wheels with the help of a Quaife transaxle with a 5-speed Dogleg shifter.

Ashton has put in his unique touch in the motor too. He has built a custom exhaust setup that uses 180-degree headers. What’s remarkable here is that all the pipes are of equal length. As Ashton explains, these pipes crisscross each other, allowing for an equal pulse resulting in more power and a more aggressive sound.

Ruffian GT40 Rear Three Quarters
Speedhut Custom Gauges – YouTube 

Ashton has built quad exhaust tips in his GT40. The top two are in play when the exhaust goes through the muffler, which is best suited for the street. The bottom two are used when the exhaust comes straight out of the headers, which Ashton uses on the track. He makes the switch through a clever vacuum-operated solenoid setup, allowing him to switch easily between the track and street modes.

It took Ashton almost two years to finish this build. He worked on it in his two-car garage. But this is not his first custom car. Ashton has also created the stunning Ruffian Mustang, which is as spectacular as this GT40. And with the help of these two masterpieces, he is already earning a lot of praise in the custom car scene here in the United States.

Source: Speedhut Custom Gauges – YouTube / Ruffian Cars