Despite some inspiration from Shelby’s classic ’68 GT500, the Ronaele is a whole new breed of Mustang. Thoroughly reworked to optimize performance, the Ronaele (pronounced, “ruh naw lee”) is a far cry from those body conversions that amount to merely a “sheep in wolf’s clothing.” No boy-racer, body-kit crapola here. It’s a completely reengineered, remanufactured automobile offering a supercharged V-8 and custom-lowered suspension. Those slick looks are more than skin deep. Nearly every area of the car receives some sort of enhancement.
Starting from the inside out, there’s a custom leather-wrapped steering wheel and embroidered seat upholstery, along with Ronaele dash logo and numbered certificate of authenticity.
Regarding the restyling of the body panels, as noted at the outset, the styling of the Ronaele captures some flavor of the Shelby GT 500, plus a dash of some other noteworthy tuner ‘Stangs. The front fascia has the 2007 GT500 look, mixed with the 1968 Shelby GT500 and “Eleanor” look, and then it flows to a Ronaele hood with 1960s-era hood pins.
The side skirts accept functional side exhaust like most of the 1960s muscle cars, and the upper and lower scoops were designed after the Shelby GT 500 look from the 1960s. At the rear, the fascia has no exhaust ports but a muscular curve that flows with the side skirts, finished off by a rear wing evoking the California-style wings from the 1960s.
This body conversion was initially developed by another company, but Ronaele took over the project and finished the design, making changes to the front bumper, side skirts, rear wing. Ronaele is said to be the first to come out with the molded-on upper and lower scoops for this particular model. The firm went through a painstaking and expensive R&D process to figure out what method of attachment would work best to prevent any type of stress cracking.
Up front is a carbon-fiber reinforced fiberglass hood which conceals the 4.6-liter engine boosted by an optional Ford Performance supercharger. (Originally Ronaele experimented with a couple different aftermarket units, such as the Procharger shown here, but after extensive testing has settled on the Ford unit.) Engine dress-up includes a designer plenum cover with Ronaele billet ID badge.
Pretty is as pretty does, so different levels of Ronaele are available, ranging from 320 to 520 horses. Even higher levels of output are available, as much as a mind-blowing 1100 hp on the 550R model, but that requires an entirely new drivetrain, and applying some of Ronaele’s breakthrough heat-treatment technology to the pistons, crank and rods (more about that shortly).
The version we drove boasted 500-plus horses at the flywheel, with boost coming from a Procharger unit. A T6 six-speed tranny divvys up the powerband for a wide range of driving scenarios, but the 4:10 rearend ensures plenty of scoot off the line.
Suspension mods come from the Ford Racing bin: lowering springs (1.25 inches), dampeners, control arms, sway bars, and camber/caster plates. To bring the Ronaele to a clenching halt, Baer supplied 14-inch, zinc-coated slotted and drilled rotors at all four corners, fitted with six-piston calipers, stainless steel brake lines and high-performance composite pads. Ronaele’s GT Legend 20-inch wheels are custom designed to fit the big brake setup.
After cracking the whip on this steed, we came away with an exhilarating addiction to the Ronaele’s rip-snorting performance. The hyper-tuned suspension, working in concert with low-profile tires, allowed us to gallop through the slalom like a Quarter Horse cutting around barrels.
The 50-state legal, side exhaust has grunty, guttural sound, befitting the car’s the muscular stance. JBA designed and engineered the side-outlet muffler system exclusively for Ronaele.
Getting back to that impressive list of upgrades, the entire car is painted at one time, ensuring no mismatched colors on individual aftermarket components, nor any vinyl sticker stuff. The color scheme shown here is Ford’s Torch Red with Performance White skunk stripes. All of Ford’s 2008 color choices are available for the Ronaele.
Additional details further tell the story: factory-spec brackets for supporting the halogen lights, double-sided stainless-steel hood pins with racing plastic-coated wire, and aircraft-grade aluminum in the billet grilles and ID badges.
Just how did the Ronaele come to have such an extraordinary degree of refinement? The answer lies in the background of the company’s founder, Edward Riggs Monfort. He began working with thermal dynamics and the effects it has on metals in the early 1990s, which led to connections at NASA, Pall Aerospace, Lockheed, BF Goodrich, Kennemetal, and Braddock Metallurgy. His work included proprietary treatments on turbine blades, thermal forming, and environmental chambers to create metals that can withstand extreme applications.
Recognizing the need to make metals stronger in a more cost-effective way, Monfort developed a patented process called “Cryogenic Thermal Cycling” that puts metals through wide temperature changes (-300F to +500F) within a 24-hour period. This procedure can take a normal heat-treated metal and turn it into a super metal, making it 300 percent more wear resistant. He points out that the process builds in a “memory” that won’t lose precision tolerance. Without it, the metal can lose its shape, creating friction, overheating and fatigue.
Monfort found a less expensive way to apply this sophisticated technology to automotive components, such as brake rotors to eliminate warping, and also internal components of high-performance engines. Reducing the cost of heat-treating in effect brings space-age tech down to earth. His invention and others in the works are intended to change the way we look at speed, performance and aerodynamics. He plans to build the fastest production car ever made using stronger metals, extreme tires, and a new technology that slices through the air.
While Monfort continues work on his supercar, Ronaele has plenty of other performance offerings already available, such as a Ford F-150, a Monoceros 700 R Mustang, and an all-electric Mustang. The latter has captured the imagination of performance and “green-car” enthusiasts alike, creating excitement in an eco-friendly vehicle that uses thermal dynamics to keep batteries cool and a programming processor designed by Monfort. That particular ride sells for $80,000, but the fossil-fuel Ronaele can be had for far less.
The 550R starts at $60K for a turnkey (using the Ford drivetrain and supercharger). If you bring your Mustang in for a Ronaele upfit, the cost ranges from $14K to $30K, depending on the package desired. A handful of authorized Ronaele/Ford dealers offer this service, but given the breakthrough technology in the works, we wouldn’t be surprised a whole lot more come on line in the near future.
8985 Crestmar Pointe
San Diego, CA 92121