At the same time the American automotive industry began seeing an influx in popularity of modern muscle cars visually-inspired by vintage models, the custom building world started experiencing a marked increase in genuine old-school American muscle transformed into modernized track-weapons, receiving contemporary componentry, modern powertrains, and full suites of one-off bodywork, often made for carbon fiber.
And this trend is perfectly encapsulated by Chris Ashton’s 1970 Mustang project — photographed here by Drew Phillips — that’s been christened the “Ruffian” — after the champion thoroughbred American racehorse. The aim of the build was to create a vintage TransAm-style race car that Ashton could drive to work. This meant crafting new bodywork with flared fenders, custom front intakes, front and rear splitters, tacking on LED headlights, and completely gutting and redoing the interior, which now resembles a full-on race car. At the heart of the build is a 427 Boss crate engine that’s been tuned to a cool 625hp. Once complete, the Ruffian debuted at the 2019 SEMA Show at the prestigious Toyo Treadpass booth. For more info on the project or to commission your own build from Ashton — who now works under the banner of “Ruffian Cars” – you can check out the Southern California shop’s website linked below.