Jerry Heasley
April 13, 2006

Perhaps most revealing was the CNC machine operating under the supervision of Todd Milanowski. "He's one of our partners," Mike explained. Todd was watching the CNC machine bore out another hood hinge from a block of solid aluminum. "See that row of aluminum blocks? That's $2,000 worth."

Billet aluminum is not cheap. Dissatisfied with stock Mustang hood hinges, the Ring brothers built one of their own. After careful consideration, they paid big bucks for a CNC machine so they could carve out copies of this beautiful set of hinges that make hood alignment precise and smooth as silk. The owner of the '67 Mustang currently under construction wanted a set of hinges, at $600 a pop, for his 289 Hi-Po coupe.

In the break/conference room, we noticed an ink sketch of a '67 Mustang fastback propped up on the window ledge. A noticeably un-bling green, this 'Stang is the next project. Kona, unlike the first two Ring Mustang modifieds, also started out as a sketch.

"This is the first time we had somebody help us draw the car. That was Shawn Smith out of Los Angeles," Mike explained. "He's a designer for Honda, so it's kind of nice to bounce some ideas off him. Hopefully, we can cut down on hit and miss."

Apparently, the Ring brothers are gearing up. Fabrication-wise, their first two cars were hit and miss. Jim would build a part basically from scratch, and if he didn't like it, he tossed the metal in the scrap heap and started over. Such trial-and-error designing and building is very time-consuming.

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As we approached Kona in the corner of the shop, the car appeared cool, although not in the style of a vintage Shelby re-creation or any other classic we'd ever seen. Those sidescoops had something inside them. On closer inspection, we could see they were B&M transmission oil coolers. In addition to cooling the Performance Automatic C4, the radiators channel air via a big, custom box that catches the air and funnels it back through the wheelwells to cool the rear brakes.

The scoops in the front valance are unlike anything we've seen hung on a Mustang before. The taillight housings are also brand-new, another Ring fabrication, popping out of a custom carbon-fiber taillight board. A large R in the flat pop-open gas cap matches the R offset in the blackout grille. The R, of course, stands for Ring.

The metal inserts in the tops of the fenders are extremely cool; ditto for the metal fixtures in the sail panels of the fastback roofline. Obviously custom-built, they are metal and have an OEM look about them. Even the rocker panels are custom-built and made of steel.

Todd bored out hood hinges in the CNC machine less than 50 feet away. The Ring brothers are moving towards being car builders, and Todd could machine any one of these custom parts for installation on other Ring brothers builds, or if the market is there, on other custom Mustangs.