Modified Mustangs & FordsProject Vehicles
1966 Ford Mustang Project Colt of Personality - Billet Upgrades
Ringing In A New Look - Customize Your Ride with Billet Ware from Ringbrothers
As purveyors of modified Mustangs and Fords, we’re always looking to change and improve every aspect of our favorite cars. Oftentimes people focus on the big-ticket items like paint and wheels, and considering the impact they have, it’s an understandable place to direct your attention. However, if you’re looking to take that fabulous paintjob to the next level, or you just want to make subtle changes that others will notice, then some billet aluminum upgrades from Ringbrothers may just be the option for you.
Over the years, Modified Mustangs & Fords has shown you a number of Ringbrothers creations, and if you take away one thing from any of their builds, it’s that no detail is left unmodified. Everything last inch of the vehicle, right down to the bolts that hold it together, is customized and while there is a definite style that runs through all of the Ringbrothers’ line of parts, it’s not something that will look out of place if you just add a few of those pieces.
When it came time to address the details on our Colt Of Personality ’66 Mustang project, we immediately saw the connection between the Mustang’s “personality” and the Ringbrothers style. With that, we called up and ordered a bevy of parts that will raise the car’s level of detail a notch or two. If you’re looking to do the same to your project, most all of the Ringbrothers custom parts that the company has created for its project vehicles are available, so you can add small touches or go big with major modifications.
While we did equip the Colt of Personality with a number of upgrades as you’ll see in the included pictures, there were a couple of items that we were not able to install just yet. When we first got started with the project, then tech editor, Mark Houlahan, ran into Jim and Mike Ring at a show and they provided him with one of their company’s trunk latch covers (PN 50656-2100) for our project. It’s a trick little piece machined from T6061 billet aluminum and features a carbon-fiber vinyl inlay for aesthetics. Since the car has been largely deconstructed for some time, we haven’t mounted it up for fear of it getting scratched.
As you may notice in the opening product shot photo, there’s a pair of Ringbrothers ’65-’70 Mustang hoodpins (PN 50650-5512). The company offers both rounded and teardrop designs, the latter of which we went with for its swept back design. They are available in natural and black anodized finishes, and retail for $250. To install the hoodpins permanently, you need to have the fender and hood gaps set, and we’re not at that point with the bodywork just yet. We’ll revisit the installation once we have progressed to that point in the body and paintwork.
And speaking of paintwork, astute readers will likely have picked up on the fact that our Colt is nowhere near painted or ready for final assembly. It’s important to test fit everything before you get to the paint stage, so if something needs to be modified, you can do it now rather than have to go back and paint something or buy additional parts that do fit. With the quality of work that goes into a Ringbrothers creation, we were expecting similar quality from its line of performance parts. We’re very happy to report that everything bolted on the car perfectly, with no modifications. It’s always a happy day in the garage when the aftermarket parts you bolt on go on the car just like a factory part, and that was the case here. Now we just need to ensure that the rest of the car is up to the same standards.
1. One look at the Ringbrothers hinges and you’ll be sold. The company offers two different styles of hinges; a solid style that takes well to polishing and painting, and this awesome Air Frame design that has been intricately milled for a very high-tech look. There’s an arguable amount of weight loss with these as well, but the looks are what we wanted. All hinges are available in polished or anodized black, and are offered with struts for either fiberglass or steel hoods/trunk lids.
2. We started at the back of the car and removed the factory trunk hinges first. The Ringbrothers trunk hinges are direct replacements for the originals.
3. Compared to the stock stamped steel pieces, the Ringbrothers hinges are far and away much better quality, and much better looking. The ’65-’66 Air Frame Trunk Hinge Kit (PN 50656-8012) retails for $585; the hinges are machined from durable 6061-T6 billet aluminum and are available in two styles, two finishes, and for fiberglass or steel decklids. Installation hardware and instructions are included.
4. Even the hardware that comes with the Ringbrothers components are of a high quality. The new hinges bolt in using the supplied hardware and factory nutserts.
5. Ringbrothers can supply you with struts for fiberglass and steel decklids, as the weight of each requires different struts for proper lifting operation. When installing them, snap the end of the strut with the body to the higher of the two studs.
6. Ringbrothers recommends having the struts mounted to the hinges to make it easier when you bolt on the decklid, as they will support the weight of the lid while you tighten the fasteners up so you don’t have to use your head. Just snug them up for now, and then slowly close the lid while looking at all of the gaps—you may need to stop early and readjust to make sure the lid does not contact the body.
7. When Ringbrothers builds a project, there’s always a way to customize even the smallest of details. Such is the case with these front fender bolts (PN 50650-5010). While the 5⁄16-18x1 stainless steel socket head cap screws are nice enough, Ringbrothers takes it another step by including these machined collars that act as a washer, and they dress up the engine bay a little further, too. The billet washer is available in natural and anodized black finishes. The fender bolt kit fits ’65-’70 Mustangs and sells for $90.
8. To ditch the shoddy prop rod that is holding up our fiberglass Shelby hood, we opted for these trick Air Frame hood hinges from Ringbrothers. Part number 50656-1012 fits ’65-’66 Mustangs and obviously we opted for the sweet black finish. The pair of machine 6061-T6 billet aluminum hinges retails for $650, and unlike factory hood hinges that are prone to flex and bow, when you close a hood with these, it places your hood in the same position every time. Ringbrothers offers these in two finishes, two styles, and for both fiberglass and steel hoods.
9. The included strut is attached prior to installing the hood, as it makes it much easier to hold the hood up when bolting it to the hinges.
10. Just like with the decklid, you’ll want to snug up the bolts and then slowly close the hood while checking your hood-to-fender and hood-to-cowl gaps. We only needed a couple of minor adjustments and we were set.
11. While there is adjustment at the hinge-to-hood and hinge-to fender apron mounting locations, there’s an additional adjustment on the hinge itself. This adjustment will lift the hood up and slightly forward.
12. If you’re going through all of the trouble to clean up your engine bay with a hot powerplant, finished fender aprons, and perhaps a bit of body-colored paint, then you’ll do all of that work a disservice by simply bolting the stock hinges on. And if you have a fiberglass hood, it’s quite possible that those aftermarket springs don’t quite hold it up, or you’re using a prop rod. There’s a better way, friends.
13. If there’s one part to our classic Mustangs that hasn’t seen much in the way of updating or options in the aftermarket, it’s the doorsill plates. Ringbrothers decided to whittle its own out, and we ordered the logo versions (PN 50658-7155). These fit ’65-’68 Mustangs and sell for $360. The sills are machined out of billet aluminum, anodized black, and machined again for a one-of-a-kind look.
14. Installation of the doorsill plates is just two screws—the rigidity of the aluminum will keep the plate and the carpet beneath it in place.
15. When you leave no detail untouched, you’re not going to keep the stock door striker after laying down the billet sill plates, so Ringbrothers has a solution. The company’s door latch striker kit (PN 50656-2150) sells for just $65 and the pieces are machined from durable stainless steel. They fit ’65-’66 Mustangs and include shims and installation hardware.
16. The striker is easy enough to bolt to the car, just make sure to slowly close the door when you go to check the fitment. Once you’re sure it is at the correct height, then you can adjust further to set the door-to-fender gap.
17. One of the things you touch the most on your car is the exterior door handle. Ringbrothers has it’s own billet machined handles that bring a sharp and modern look to the old standby. Available in a textured black powdercoat or a chrome finish, the handles fit ’65-’70 Mustangs and are a direct bolt-on with the included gaskets—the new handles use your original, stock linkage. Part number 50650-2051 retails for $290.
18. If you haven’t already removed the old handles, you’ll need to dive into the doors and first remove this nut; it’ll be reused with the new included studs.
19. Next, you’ll need to pop off both of the rods. Just lift the clips up and slide the rod out. Now you can go out to the doorjamb and remove the remaining bolt and take out the handle assembly.
20. The lever mechanism for the push button is swapped over to the new handle.
21. For the ’65-’66 model Mustang application, you’ll need to make a couple of modifications to the button mechanism. First, you’ll need to remove this sleeve.
22. Next, you’ll need to trim both sides of the bracket as noted in the instructions.
23. With the bracket modified, secure it to the new handle and then test the action. Better to make sure it is operating smoothly before you go through the trouble of mounting it back in the door. Now would also be a good time to oil up the mechanism, as it’s likely pretty old and crusty from the 40-plus years of service it has provided.
24. The door handle kit includes these studs that are screwed into the pushbutton. The short ones are for the ’65-’66 and the long ones are for later Mustangs.
25. Per the instructions, you may need to open up the doorjamb bolt hole. It doesn’t take much, and you can test-fit as you go along to ensure that you don’t remove an excessive amount.
26. The Ringbrothers door handle kit includes new gaskets to keep the elements out. You can also see the provided studs that have been screwed into the new handle. Be sure to test-fit the handle before peeling the paper off the sticky side of the gaskets.
27. Custom touches can make a big difference whether or not you have a flashy paintjob. Looks like we might just have to weld up the keyhole now!