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1965 Ford Fastback Mustang - Snowball Effect
Gary Bowers' '07 GT500 and a meeting with Mike and Jim Ring bring us the Producer
So why does Gary Bowers, a self-proclaimed "non-car guy," own one of the baddest restomod Mustangs on the planet? For that answer we have to turn the way-back machine to 2007. Gary, who had been busting his rump for the last two decades to grow his business into something that would allow him to afford the finer things in life, was doing just that. He had a small collection of Harleys and a nice bit of property, but had literally never owned a car in his life. He's always been a truck man, and a Ford truck man at that. Gary has been behind the wheel of an F-series pretty much since he got his license and currently drives an Expedition, so why the Mustang? Gary's companies, Producers Supply Co. and affiliates, buy a lot of trucks--a lot! We're talking 106 F-series Super Duty trucks in 2008 from his local dealer, Fox Ford. Needless to say, Fox Ford has treated Gary right. One day, Mark Fox from Fox Ford called Gary and mentioned they had just taken delivery of an orange Shelby Mustang GT500 and he thought Gary might be interested in it since Producers Supply Co. logo and accent color is a bright orange and their trucks have this logo and orange bumpers.
"I didn't know much about the GT500, but told Mark to deliver it to the house. When I got home that night and opened the garage door I wasn't too happy," Gary explained. Gary felt the orange wasn't quite right, and certainly didn't feel a car of this stature should have tape stripes. Plus he hated the stock wheels and the quarter windows of the S197 body (hey, we said Gary was a truck guy!). He took it for a drive nonetheless and was further unimpressed. He felt it should have more power, though. Not realizing the traction control was enabled probably didn't help matters. Gary wanted to make the GT500 into his vision of what it should be and started combing the Internet for ideas. He came across photos of the Ringbrothers' Reactor Mustang along with their contact information. Thinking the Reactor was one of the most "badass" Mustangs he'd laid eyes on, Gary called up Mike and Jim Ring and asked about them working their magic on his GT500. "They said, 'Sure, bring it up,' so I went out and bought a car trailer and hauled the GT500 to the Ringbrothers' shop in Wisconsin," Gary explained. He told them his budget and what he didn't like about the car. Four months later the car was done and back in Gary's garage with fresh paint, painted stripes, new wheels, and more power under the hood.
The next year, Gary and some friends were in Vegas for the NHRA event and decided to attend the 2009 SEMA show. There, Gary bumped into Mike and Jim Ring and their latest creation, which was the Afterburner Ford Fairlane build. Gary told the guys to stay in touch and just a few months later in early 2010, Gary got a call from Jim Ring. They had a rust-free car from the West Coast--a '65 fastback--that they were looking to build and wanted to know if Gary had any interest. Having enjoyed the GT500, he thought a sister vintage car would be cool too. Gary was adamant the fastback should be orange to tie into his business (and hence the car's name, which is the Producer), but Jim Ring wasn't too sure at first. It took some convincing from his brother Mike and to say they pulled it off perfectly with the custom BASF paint is an understatement. Like the majority of high-end builds today, the Producer sits on a custom full frame: in this case an Art Morrison chassis with tubular A-arms and coilover front suspension, and a Watt's-link-fitted 9-inch out back. Gary and some of his buddies paid Mike and Jim Ring a visit mid-build and the conversation turned to possibly widening the car for a better look with the huge rear tires.
"Man, I just love these cars, but they look so narrow," Jim Ring explained. Mike and Jim agreed with Gary and his buddy Chuck about widening the car from the sides versus cutting it down the middle to preserve the critical lines like the front grille, and the interior. They started off by duct taping old quarters on and widened the car with duct tape to see what it looked like. "We stood on our shop's four-post lift and had us raised into the air so we could look down at the mock up from above and we just loved it! To be honest, if we have anything to say about it at all, all future '65-'66 Mustangs coming out of our shop will be widened," Jim stated. The widening of the Producer's skin was tackled with custom metal panels, but Jim tells us that they'll be offering formed panels in a kit for those who want the look; they'll be offered in steel as well as carbon fiber. The Ringbrothers are by no means new to carbon fiber, having used the material on just about every Mustang they've built to date, including the Producer, which has a carbon-fiber roof skin. "Everyone wants super-light powerful cars, so we're offering hoods, trunk lids, fenders, doors, roofs, and even quarter-panels in carbon fiber now," Jim added.
The widening of the car (by adding on to the outer skin) proved to be the right answer for the Producer build. The stock '65-'66 grille shape is a part of Mustang history, and to widen that and make it look "comical" doesn't pay the Mustang the respect it is due. With all the mods done to the Producer, it is a stock '65 grille sitting between the widened headlight buckets. The carbon-fiber roof skin was already designed and built too, so cutting the car down the middle meant the roof skin wouldn't work and the carbon skin was an essential visual element to the build, as is much of the traditional Ringbrothers billet goodies like the quarter vent inserts, hoodpins, and hood hinges. Under the hood lies a Keith-Kraft-built Windsor stroker stuffed with a solid roller Crane cam and all the steel goodies to allow it to twist to the skies without a hiccup. As such, a dry sump oiling system is a key part of the engine's support hardware, as is the external-mount cooler visible in the lower front valance. The naturally aspirated stroker has plenty of compression to make 740 hp; requiring 110-octane fuel to keep it happy. Backing the stout road-race-spec mill is a T-56 six-speed trans built by Bowler Transmissions, which is coupled to the 4.11 geared 9-inch by a Dynotech driveshaft.
The Producer took a year and a half to build and the budget was raised three times to cover all of the changes and additions that happened along the way. Except for the one visit Gary made to Mike and Jim's shop, Gary never saw it again during the build up--he simply trusted the brothers Ring to build his dream. As usual for Mike and Jim Ring, the annual SEMA show becomes their launch pad for each new creation they build for a customer. The 2011 SEMA show would be the Producer's debut. Gary took a trip out to Vegas to see the car and when he got to the show floor, there was just a big shape with a cover on it. "They wouldn't let me see it before the unveiling, so I had to wait and see the car for the first time with everyone else. When they pulled the cover back here's this orange car, 4 inches wider, and badass," Gary explained. Since the debut at last year's SEMA show, the Producer has been racking up awards left and right, including Street Machine of the Year at the annual Columbus Goodguys event where Gary actually got some seat time in his car for the first time at the Popular Hotrodding magazine handling challenge held immediately afterwards. The Producer is still on the show circuit, where it'll be at this year's SEMA show in the Optima Batteries booth and then it'll be heading to the Optima Challenge the Saturday after SEMA to compete in their annual event. Once the Producer hits a few last events in December it'll finally head home to Gary's garage in Pennsylvania to be alongside its modern day twin, that '07 GT500 (which went back to Ringbrothers for a second update for more power and now is a visual twin to the '65 fastback) that started the snowball effect.