Ringbrothers: The Producer

1965 Ford Mustang

Out of the blue one day back in 2007, Jim and Mike Ring got a call from Gary Bauers. He’d just bought an ’07 Shelby Mustang and loved the car, but wanted it to be nicer. He had run across the images of the Ringbrothers past projects online and wanted to ship the Shelby directly to them from the dealership. Jim and Mike agreed, and they transformed the Shelby into a more upscale version of itself.

Gary was exceptionally pleased with the results and enjoyed the car for a few years before he decided he wanted something more evil and more exclusive. Jim and Mike pitched him a concept they’d been rolling around for a while: they’d always thought the early Mustangs looked a bit too thin, so why not widen the whole car by a few inches? Gary loved the idea and told them to go for it. Problem was, Jim and Mike weren’t quite sure exactly how to do it yet.

Originally, the plan was to slice the fastback straight down the middle and add inches to the whole car. But after considering the logistics of doing so, especially keeping the shape and proportions of the roof line correct (not to mention the custom glass needed), the idea was scrapped.

They next duct-taped extra quarters, fenders, and doorskins onto the car, but shifted 2 inches outward, and spray bombed the whole thing black to get a visual estimate. The effect was perfect, so much so that Jim doesn’t think there will ever be another early Mustang built by Ringbrothers that isn’t widened. By the way, if you want your own, the doors, quarters, fenders, end caps, headlight buckets, front and rear fascia, hood, and trunk lid will all be available in carbon fiber and fiberglass. All you need is a rusty fastback.

After snatching up the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award, Jim and Mike brought the “Producer” (named after Gary’s oil industry supply company) out to MCOTY, running and driving it with the intent to win. The Producer was exceptional on all fronts with only a severe traction issue on the dragstrip hurting their final score, but high trap speeds told the tale. It is hard to hook an ultralight carbon-fiber and fiberglass fastback with 740 hp on tap!

“…they’d always thought the early Mustangs looked a bit too thin, so why not widen the whole car by a few inches?”

By the Numbers

1965 Mustang Fastback • Gary Bauers; Waynesburg, PA

Type: Dart-based Ford 436ci Windsor
Rotating assembly: Eagle crank and rods with 12:1 Diamond pistons
Cylinder heads: ported Edelbrock
Camshaft: Crane custom grind
Valvetrain: Crane roller rockers and lifters, T&D shaft rockers
Induction: Edelbrock intake with custom Ringbrothers air induction
Exhaust: Ringbrothers custom headers and exhaust
Ignition: Crane
Output: 740 hp, 700 lb-ft of torque
Built by: Keith Craft

Drivetrain Transmission: Bowler Performance T56, McCleod Racing twin-disc clutch with Hurst shifter
Rearend: Ford 9-inch with 4:10 gears

Front suspension: Art Morrison chassis with tubular control arms, Afco coilovers with 450-lb/in springs
Rear suspension: Art Morrision chassis with Watt’s link, Afco coilovers with 250-lb/in springs
Brakes: 14-inch rotors with Baer 6S 6-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels & tires: 18x10 and 19x12.5 custom Forgeline with 315/30 and 345/30 Michelin Pilot Sport tires


Drag average:12.683 seconds (12.626 at 116.69 mph best)
Speed/stop average:9.839 seconds (9.659 best)
Autocross average:54.033 (53.881 best)
Overall score:76.554

Top Privateer: Beautiful Brute

1971 Chevy Camaro

We tend to think of high-end, pro-level cars as things that require a full-on pro shop and a good deal of space and equipment to build. Once again, Bob Bertelsen makes us all look lazy. This ’71 Camaro, dubbed the Brute, is the second showstopper Bob has created out of his two-bay home garage. The first, a ’72 Trans Am known as Code Red, you saw here in PHR on the cover of our Dec. ’10 issue. That one is still in use, but Bob had more ideas he wanted explore. For the Brute, he wanted a similar ethos as Code Red: civil, comfortable subtle custom touches, and modern handling ability, but he wanted to dial everything else up a notch. We’d say it actually ended up being a few notches, as it barely missed being a finalist for the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year. Though he didn’t take that award, Bob did capture the Goodguys Muscle Machine of the Year award. Shortly thereafter, he also received the Renegade award at the Motorstate Challenge. And this is only the fourth car he’s ever built.

So how does Bob make it happen in a home garage? He believes in the theory that if someone else can do it so can he. Plus, he’s not afraid to ask questions and get advice from experienced builders like the Ringbrothers, DSE’s Kyle Tucker, Mark Stielow, and Brian Finch—all of whom Bob says have been very helpful and who are always willing to answer questions.

At the MCOTY competition, Bob was obviously enjoying himself and quickly used up all 10 of his possible runs on the dragstrip. The Brute did well, until the autocross course, where Bob said it felt rough and down on power. It wasn’t until later he discovered that a shredded belt had knocked loose one of the coil packs; he was running on seven cylinders. Once fixed, Bob drove the Brute three hours home since he’d loaned fellow competitor Ken Edwards his trailer after his engine failed.

Since he’s sure the car is faster than his driving skills currently allow, Bob plans to run a lot of SCCA events, as well as Run Through the Hills, LS Fest, and hopefully the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. You will see this car a lot in the coming year!

“So how does Bob make it happen in a home garage? He believes in the theory that if someone else can do it so can he.”


Drag average:13.149 seconds (13.047 at 113.16 mph best)
Speed/stop average:9.663 (9.561 best)
Autocross average:55.771 (55.287 best)
Overall score:78.583

By the Numbers

1971 Chevy Camaro • Bob Bertelsen; Columbiana, OH

Type: 427ci GM LS7
Rotating assembly: Callies forged crank and H-beam rods, 11.4:1 Mahle forged pistons
Cylinder heads: Mast Motorsports CNC LS7
Camshaft: Mast Motorsports custom grind
Valvetrain: stock LS7 with Mast nitrided dual valvesprings and chrome-moly pushrods
Induction: Chevrolet Performance LS7
Exhaust: DSE headers with 1.875-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors, Flowmaster Super 44 mufflers, custom exhaust by Bertelsen
Engine management/ignition: Mast Motorsports 120 ECU
Output: 675 hp at 6,700 rpm, 575 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm
Built by: Mast Motorsports

Transmission: Bolwer Performance Tremec T56 Magnum, Spec clutch
Rearend: Moser 9-inch with Truetrac diff and 3.89 gears

Front suspension: DSE hydroformed subframe with tubular controls arms, JRI coilovers with 450-lb/in springs, rack-and-pinion, DSE spindles, and splined sway bar
Rear suspension: DSE QuadraLink with JRI coilovers and 250-lb/in springs
Brakes: 14-inch rotors with Baer 6S 6-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels & tires: 18x10 and 18x12 Forgeline with 275/35 and 335/30 BFGoodrich KDW tires

Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop: No Poser!

1966 Chevy II Nova SS

It’s not hard to look at a car built to the extremely high level of show car execution and detail that Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop (JHRS) turns out. Alan Johnson is famous for making the undercarriage as perfect as the top—which is the way it should be when the car is a potential contender for Goodguys’ Street Machine of the Year award. So surely it couldn’t perform as good as it looks, right? After all, it’s an unwritten rule that you have to sacrifice some things in the name of style. Apparently Alan Johnson never got that memo. This gorgeous little Chevy II does everything well, especially cone carving. What’s the secret? Historically Chevy IIs never posted great numbers in the handling department since they had very limited upgrades available, but DSE’s recently released front subframe and suspension and QuadraLink rear suspension changed all of that in a hurry. So not only could Johnson give this Chevy II that oh-so-low, nicely raked Alabama slamma stance that’s a signature of his cars, but he didn’t have to give up one bit of handling potential along the way.

We caught a sneak peak at the car’s potential on the Goodguys Columbus autocross, but we got the full picture on our high-speed SCCA-designed course at the MCOTY competition. The Chevy II was impressively easy to throw around and garnered a Third Place finish just behind DSE’s ’65 Mustang and Kevin Miller’s ’69 Camaro. Considering that both of those cars are purpose-built track cars with nowhere near the same show-winning detail, the JHRS Nova was arguably the most outstanding vehicle in attendance. Quite a few competitors were surprised to say the least.

The Chevy II had traction issues off the line on the dragstrip, which kept the e.t.’s a bit higher in the quarter-mile than they should have been, but the JHRS Nova made up for it in the speed/stop challenge. All averaged out, the Chevy II just barely missed a podium finish, earning Fourth overall. That’s still impressive, considering the decidedly aggressive competition.

“…it’s an unwritten rule that you have to sacrifice some things in the name of style. Apparently Alan Johnson never got that memo.”

By the Numbers

1966 Chevy Nova SS • Nathan Powell; Chelsea, AL

Type: 383ci small-block Chevy
Rotating assembly: forged stroker crank and rods, 10:1 pistons
Cylinder heads: Edelbrock aluminum
Camshaft: custom grind by Automotive Racing Specialists
Valvetrain: COMP Cams
Induction: Edelbrock intake, Holley carb
Exhaust: custom headers and exhaust by JHRS
Ignition: MSD
Output: untested
Built by: Automotive Racing Specialists

Transmission: Bowler Performance TKO600 five-speed manual, Spec clutch
Rearend: Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop 9-inch with Detroit Truetrac differential and 3.30 gears

Front suspension: DSE subframe with tubular control arms, DSE/JRI aluminum coilovers with “Detroit Tuned” valving, DSE power rack-and-pinion, splined sway bar, C6 Corvette spindles
Rear suspension: DSE QuadraLink with DSE/JRI aluminum coilovers, 1-inch Sway bar
Brakes: 14-inch rotors with Wilwood 6-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels & tires: 18x9 and 18x10 one-off from Evod Industries with 255/35 and 285/40 BFGoodrich KDW tires


Drag average:13.807 seconds (13.68 at 106.47 mph best)
Speed/stop average:9.674 (9.633 best)
Autocross average:53.371 (53.090 best)
Overall score:76.853