Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 15, 2011
Photos By: Alastair Richie

We never know what to expect next from the Ring Brothers, the Wisconsin siblings who have transformed the way we look at Mustang restomods. Ever since they stormed onto the street machine scene in 2004 with their cutting-edge '66 GT-R Mustang convertible, Mike and Jim Ring have been setting new standards for custom Mustangs with attention to detail that goes above and beyond what we normally see from modified Mustangs. Best of all, with a Ring Brothers creation, you still know it's a Mustang, only crafted into a piece of art.

At the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, we always know that we can look forward to the latest Ring Brothers masterpiece. Last November, their new '70 Mustang fastback, "Dragon," was not only the talk of the show, it drove away with the prestigious Mother's Shine Award. Presented each year by car-care company Mothers, the Shine Award honors uncompromising excellence in vehicle design. It's an honor just to be selected among the 12 finalists, but in 2010, the Dragon took the top spot, as selected by an international panel of respected members of the automotive industry. Judging is based on overall appearance, fit and finish, attention to detail, integration of custom and stock elements, creative vision, and execution of concept.

The Dragon has plenty of all.

The build was commissioned by car owners Alex Stoner and Jayne Roorda, who had been watching and admiring the Ring Brothers' work over the past decade. "Alex has followed their work for many years, so he knew about the cars they had built," said Roorda. "We felt very honored that they would take on our project."

The Dragon nickname has a dual meaning for the Mustang. The burgundy paint is BASF Dragon Blood Red. However, according to Roorda, the couple came up with the Dragon name before they even knew about the paint. "Alex is fond of dragons and medieval things," Roorda explains. "And he has a big dragon tattoo on his back."

The Dragon features a Roush 427 IR crate engine, five-speed Tremec TKO transmission, Forgeline three-piece wheels, JME front suspension, Detroit Speed Quadralink rear suspension, Baer brakes, and a custom interior by Custom Upholstery Unlimited. But the real delight comes from inspecting the attention to detail. Mike Ring says it's like an Easter egg hunt-you have to search for the goodies, like the four-point racing seatbelts that attach to a custom-made billet aluminum brace that juts out from the rear seat. The logos and emblems are fabricated from either aluminum or carbon-fiber. Basically, nothing on the car remains untouched by the Ring Brothers.

Even underneath. "It's the most elaborate suspension we've put under a Mustang," says Mike Ring. "It's clean too. It's one where we're not embarrassed if someone crawls underneath it. The bodywork and finish on the bottom is as nice as the top."

After scooping up their third Mother's Shine Award at SEMA, the Ring Brothers headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Dragon's first foray into Goodguy's Rod & Custom Association competition. Jim and Mike have already won Goodguys' coveted Street Machine of the Year award with their "Reactor" '67 Mustang fastback in 2007 and plan to spend 2011 on the show circuit with the Dragon.

The owners were looking forward to the Arizona visit. "We live in the Phoenix area," says Roorda. "We hope to have the Mustang in our possession for at least a couple of weeks while it's here."

Dragon Specs

Drivetrain

  • Engine: Roush 427 IR
  • Induction: 8-stack fuel injection
  • Radiator: BeCool
  • Exhaust: Flowmaster Super 44 mufflers
  • Ignition: Crane
  • Horsepower: 550
  • Transmission: Tremec TKO 5-speed
  • Rearend: 9-inch Factory with 3:73 gears

Suspension And Brakes

  • Front springs: JME
  • Rear springs: DSE Quadralink
  • Shocks: AVCO
  • Steering: ididit
  • Brakes: Baer 6P
  • Wheels: Forgeline 18x10 front, 18x12 rear
  • Tires: BFGoodrich

Paint And Body

  • Paint: BASF Dragon Blood Red
  • Paint and graphics: Chad Hagerty, Ring Brothers
  • Body mods: Sean Hildebrandt, Ring Brothers

Interior

  • Seats: Recaro, recovered by Custom Upholstery Unlimited
  • Steering wheel: Momo
  • Gauges: Classic Instruments
  • Seatbelts: Custom Upholstery Unlimited
  • Carpet: Custom
  • Sound system: Alpine

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