The Ringbrothers' "Bailout" '66 Mustang en route to a 14th overall finish at the Optima Ul
Hailing from Spring Green, Wisconsin, two enterprising siblings known simply as Ringbrothers have double-handedly re-tooled the approach to building radically altered street machines from the muscle car era. This effort was constructed to demonstrate show car workmanship with all-out handling prowess.
The biographical info for these brothers contains references like, "affinity for muscle cars and off-the-hook creativity." But as they strive to achieve unparalleled design, execution, and performance, Mike and Jim Ring continue to raise the bar. The ultimate goal is to produce a finely crafted machine, where key elements blend in harmony, but speak softly to the appreciative admirer, as opposed to components that sparkle and shout their presence. One of the first things Jim told us: "We don't exactly follow any rules with the cars we build. I figure, if you like it, fine. But if you don't, that's OK, too."
You probably remember "Afterburner," that graced our September '10 cover. Other projects include back-to-back ('07 and '08) Goodguys Street Machine of the Year winners "Reactor" and "Razor," which by sheer mention alone conjure impressions that are anything but tame.
The BASF Stimulus Blue base/clear finish could be termed "understated" for this project. N
As shown here, Ringbrothers creations exude a muscular road-race style, backed by ample performance attributes to match. That's as it should be, since today's enthusiasts demand brute power to back up the visible modifications and platform enhancements. Nonetheless, most car owners who commission projects like this don't really want to see their cars driven hard in order to prove they're road worthy. That's why Mike and Jim decided to take this project on themselves, with assistance from an admirable list of sponsors.
Following the design stage with renderings by Sean Smith, the challenge of fabricating this cruiser, dubbed "Bailout," commenced. Jim told us: "The donor car was gorgeous, and it really was a shame to cut it up. There wasn't a speck of rust on it and the floor was perfect. Basically, what we used was the main structure, the outer rockers, and the quarter skins. Everything else from the cowl to the taillight pans and everything between the rockers was removed."
Keith Craft Performance Engines supplied a powerful, yet sensible approach to moving this
Starting up front, Keith Craft Performance Engines developed the horsepower combination, using a Dart 351 block stroked to 427 inches. It produces 602 hp with 600 lb-ft of torque, and is protected by Royal Purple lubricants. It was initially started using Royal Purple Break-In oil and later was switched to XRP 5W30. Companion systems, including the transmission, differential, and power steering reservoir, contain Royal Purple's Synchromax, Max Gear, and Max Gear H.P. brands, respectively. Now, while many builders choose electronic fuel injection these days, this capable performer remains true to its old-school roots. Jim commented: "Our feeling is you can't get the same throaty exhaust bark with injection like you can with a carburetor, so it just seemed natural to go that route." As he works the throttle, Jim gets up to speed shifting a six-speed Tremec T56 transmission that came as a complete package from American Powertrain.
To aid balance, the engine is set back 6 inches, which puts the rear edges of the valve covers under the cowl. Jim pointed out some difficulty in using a front-sump oil pan, along with a NASCAR-style Woodward front-mounted steering rack, but one of his jobs is to create solutions so everything works. All along, the primary goal for this Mustang was to make it handle like no tomorrow. In part, that was achieved using highly modified '70 Mustang spindles with the steering arms relocated forward. This was accomplished while keeping the Ackerman principle correct, and optimizing steering geometry while reducing tire scrub and wear. The spindles were also moved up an inch to give the car a more sinister ride height.