Ford and world champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. are paying tribute to American fighter pilots who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Gittin has been invited to pilot the one-off Eagle Squadron Mustang GT at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 12.

The Eagle Squadrons were three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF), formed with volunteer pilots from the United States during the early days of World War II (circa 1940), prior to America’s entry into the war in December 1941.

Co-created by Ford Performance and Gittin’s RTR Vehicles, the camouflaged, fighter aircraft-inspired Mustang GT fastback debuts at Goodwood before heading back to the States for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s largest fundraiser, The Gathering, on July 26.

The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT will be auctioned off at The Gathering to support the EAA’s youth education programs.

“Supporting young pilots through the EAA charity auction reflects Ford’s aviation history, tracing back to the company’s early days and the Arsenal of Democracy during WWII,” Ford Mustang design chief Darrell Behmer said.

“The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT build with Vaughn and the Ford design team is a great way to honour our heroes and keep the spirit of aviation alive for the next generation of American pilots.”

The one-of-a-kind Eagle Squadron Mustang GT features a 522kW 5.0-litre V8 with a Ford Performance supercharger, RTR carbon fiber wide-body kit and Tactical Performance suspension package.

Powerful and menacing, this one-of-a-kind beast takes its inspiration from World War II Royal Air Force Eagle squadrons that flew over the fields of Goodwood nearly 80 years ago.

The three Eagle Squadrons included a diverse group of American volunteer pilots who risked their lives fighting in the skies over northern Europe, including the British coast and France prior to the U.S. entering the war.

The car’s highest bidder will also receive an all-inclusive package for two to attend the 2018 Ford Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit in August to take delivery of the car, along with a plaque autographed by Gittin and members of the Ford design team.

Goodwood Festival of Speed will also see the debut of the Ford Mustang Bullitt, a highly anticipated special edition that celebrates the famous film’s 50th anniversary.

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Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.