Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
October 17, 2012

Ask any craftsman whose work is in demand how hard it is to create something for his/her own pleasure and enjoyment. The quality plumber always has the house with the leaky faucet and the in-demand wood worker usually has the broken shelves, so finding time to build that walk-in shower or hardwood entertainment center is extremely tough. The same can be said for those that build custom cars for a living. Quite often we see exquisite works of art rolling out of custom shops all over the country, but the shop owner(s) drive beat up pickups or half-finished projects due to lack of time to build something of their own to enjoy.

Mike and Jim Ring, the brothers known coast to coast as the go-to shop for high-end classic restomod-style Mustang builds through their Ringbrothers shop in Spring Green, Wisconsin, know all too well about leaky plumbing and broken shelves. However, they were bound and determined to finally build a classic Mustang in their now famous style just for themselves to enjoy. Starting with a clean '66 Mustang fastback body, the brothers started out by tearing the car down to a bare shell.

"We built this Mustang out of our heads, with nothing on paper," Jim Ring told us. Sean Smith, who helps Ringbrothers with conceptual drawings and taking their wild ideas and tweaking them to fit/work with the body lines, did weigh in a bit on the project, but all in all, the build was largely an open canvas conceived over many "what if" and "how about" comments (and presumably a decent amount of alcohol).

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The build followed many traditional Ringbrothers build elements with their sponsors, including huge Forgeline wheels, a Keith Kraft–built small-block under the hood, Royal Purple lubricants, Baer brakes, and more. However, the brothers Ring also used the fastback as a full-scale template to create many new parts off of (so while building their own car was the impetus, the fastback did help to create more items for the Ringbrothers parts catalog as well). This fastback is the first use of their new carbon-fiber roof skin, carbon-fiber trunk lid, and carbon-fiber hood liner. The CNC machine stayed busy whittling out new taillight bezels, door handles and other pieces for the fastback as well. All of these new parts, and much of the fastback's build style actually became the basis for the Producer Mustang (seen elsewhere in this month's issue) with the main difference being the Producer's wide-body fabrication and slightly different interior and under hood treatments.

Mike and Jim love a car that handles, and makes sure that every one they build doesn't just look pretty sitting under the lights at the SEMA show or a Goodguys event. The Ringbrothers creations have power, handling, and braking to match, making them all-around competitive vehicles--be it a show field or a road course. While building their Mustang, which they named Bailout for its somewhat aviation-themed looks, they certainly made good on their build style. That Keith Kraft small-block we mentioned earlier is a 427ci stroker putting out 600 horsepower. It's set back 6 inches, far enough that the firewall and cowl had to be modified for clearance (all in a day's work for these guys). Custom suspension was added using Total Control Products as a starting point to give the fastback plenty of suspension travel and to allow ample tuning of said suspension for various track conditions. Incorporating a hidden rollcage assembly is what led to the design of the carbon-fiber roof skin (the 'cage is installed first and then the roof panel is bonded into place with a metal bonding adhesive called Fusor). Under the custom floorpan inserts is a double-wall floor with the 'cage and frame sandwiched between; the lower portion also acts as a full belly pan for the chassis.

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Finally, the Ringbrothers put their typical touch on the body, tweaking the front and rear wheelwells for tire clearance and to make the car appear lower. The rockers were extended, and plenty of Ringbrothers signature billet items, such as cowl vents, taillight bezels, door handles, and more were added to the mix. You'll note that things like vent window frames and side glass trim are simply painted/coated to minimize the classic shiny bits without going to the expense of custom cut glass or trying to reinvent the wheel. All in, Bailout took seven months to complete, and this was during the build of a customer's Mustang at the same time for the 2010 SEMA show. While Bailout went to SEMA that year as well--displayed in the Flowmaster exhaust booth--Mike and Jim declined to enter it in any of the traditional SEMA show competitions or design awards. They felt, being that it was their own car (plus having a customer's car on the show floor as well), that it shouldn't compete.

However, that didn't stop the brothers from taking Bailout to the annual Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge held at nearby Pahrump, Nevada's Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch the Saturday after the SEMA show. With just over 50 cars participating in the annual event, the Challenge staff judges the entered rides on several aspects including a road course event, acceleration and braking, street driving, autocross, and a performance/design competition. While Bailout came in 15th overall out of the whole pack, true to the Ringbrothers design's world wide appeal, Bailout took the top honors in the performance/design aspect of the competition.

Shortly after the 2010 SEMA show and Optima events had wrapped, a friend of Mike and Jim Ring told his pal Tom Chinn of Longview, Texas, all about Bailout. Chinn, an avid collector of performance cars with a converted department store housing his collection, spoke to Mike and Jim about Bailout and came to an agreed price to add it to Chinn's vast collection. While Mike and Jim Ring hated to see their own personal Mustang build drive off into the sunset, they knew that another Ringbrothers creation would come from their build experience (just look at the Producer to see that indeed held true). And don't worry, a little bird has told us that another personal Mustang build is in progress right now in Wisconsin, rolling all of their great products/creations into one mean stallion that they're calling Carbon Copy. We can't wait to see it!

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