Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 22, 2012

Mike and Jim Ring

Mike and Jim Ring have been building award-winning vehicles for nearly two decades. Known for their outrageous classic Mustang builds, they've been known to put their specific style into GM and even Mopar projects (and a late-model Mustang or two). By far, though, their classic Mustang builds are what put the Ringbrothers shop on the map, into countless magazines, and stocked its shelves full of awards.

Like other pros have stated, building the car around the tire and wheel package is a must. Jim Ring told us the first thing they do is work with the owner to determine the wheel and tire package and stance of the project. The chassis and body are then built around that look. This is another reason why a concept drawing or digital rendering is so important.

"Lots of people overlook the exhaust. Many times we've seen builds where the builder must think, ‘Where the hell are we going to put the exhaust?' You need to mock up the exhaust right away," Jim Ring tells us. "Using a fully welded muffler, like a Flowmaster, you can move the inlet and outlet where you want to fit the muffler. Fit the body of the muffler where you need it in the chassis and then put the inlet and outlet where you need to," Jim shared.

The Ringbrothers shop also tries to build things that could have been a factory prototype or concept; even down to custom decals to give it an OE look. Taking away the polished/chrome accents and trim of a classic gives it a warmer and more OE feel. Play with textures for certain things like the floor (instead of carpet) and things like door panels and headliners.

"Make sure they use their trim to fit and bodywork the car, placing the clips where they need to be, test fitting the stainless, bodyworking the car so it fits right. There's nothing worse than a painted car and finding out the stainless fits poorly. Nobody bodyworks the car with door and trunk gaskets installed. We use two sets of gaskets. One set to bodywork and fit the panels, the second set for final assembly," Jim explained on fitting panels and setting gaps. Fit adjoining panels together before fully welding—quarters to trunk lid, quarters to rear valance, and so on. Making your own gaps is something that is often necessary, bodywork the whole side of the car for a better finish, not panel by panel.

"Spherical rod ends offer a much harsher ride, and some people don't like that. Bushings will get you a better feeling car and require less maintenance," Jim stated when we asked about thoughts on suspensions. "Tightening the suspension in place with jackstands is a common problem. Tightening in the air and then the car sits too high. Tighten the suspension with the car on the ground, especially with rubber bushings" Jim added.