Ron The Restomod Bramlett - The Restomod Guy
Ron Bramlett Loves All Mustangs, But He's Made His Mark With Restomods
MM: We tend to think of a restomod as an early Mustang, '65-'73, but we understand that the MCA has to look beyond that.
Ron: Resto means restore so the new cars are kind of exempted. For the MCA's restomod class, they've had to figure out what years apply. It gets back to the terminology. Do you call it restored and modified or restored and modernized? If the term is modernized, putting a fuel-injected engine into a restored '84 Mustang would make it a restomod.
MM: We suppose it makes a strong statement about the MCA that they have a restomod proponent as their treasurer.
Ron: The MCA is trying to make a place for everybody who has a Mustang, not just people with concours show cars or just for early models. It gets back to the fact that there are so many different ways to enjoy Mustangs. Restomod is just one category of many. You've got the stock and original people who put time, dollars, and effort into their cars. Anybody who thinks it's easy to do, they haven't done one. We also build cars and take them to the track. That's something I really enjoy. I've owned our #4 track car since 1983. It still wears the Grabber Green paint we put on it in 1986. It's been to probably 200 events. It's also been a test-bed for parts, springs, and handling kits. We put them on that car and make a determination if it's too stiff for the street or not stiff enough. That car has generated a lot of parts that people take for granted today. It's another way to enjoy Mustangs.
MM: What do you think about the Mustangs built by the Ring Brothers?
Ron: Mike and Jim have a different kind of passion for Mustangs. To them, the car is art. The Ring Brothers give us neat things to shoot for. When they do these cars, they always come up with something they can produce and sell to Mustang owners. We carry the billet hood hinges they created about four years ago. That's what the hobby is all about, about moving forward. If the hobby was just about restoring cars back to original, then the only moving forward would be reproducing or making available every part to put cars back to stock. With restomod, the sky is the limit. The Ring Brothers, and the Jillian Brothers up in Chicago, help push the boundaries and move the hobby forward. As long as it moves forward, it won't die.
MM: In the mid-1990s, you built a Mustang roadster called The Ronster. Would you consider it one of the first restomods?
Ron: To the best of my knowledge, the Ronster was one of the first street rod Mustangs. Ford provided us with a fuel-injected engine. Ron Morris, who was a tech at a Ford dealership at the time, helped us sort out the wiring harness. Ben Smith, who was the designer and chief engineer for the '57-'59 Ford Skyliner Retractable and later worked on a '65-'66 Mustang retractable prototype, helped with the tonneau over the back seat. During the build-up, everybody kept calling it "Ron's Roadster," and eventually it got shortened to just Ronster. We sold a few of the Ronster kits so there are several running around out there.
MM: What do you think about the new Dynacorn bodies?
Ron: Those cars are the future of the hobby in a lot of ways. The MCA has even made a class for them. By definition, they don't fit the by-laws, so there's a bit of an issue there. But they're making a class for them so people can build them and bring them to the shows.