Inside Ringbrothers: It's All About the Details...And Horsepower
When faced with a three-hour drive, mostly on interstates that bore you to tears, your destination had better be worth it. That was my situation last weekend. Thankfully, the destination was very much worth it. My end goal was a tiny shop in the middle of Spring Green, Wisconsin— aka, Nowhere, USA. The population is only 1,600 people, and those people are far outnumbered by cows. It's a town where everyone knows each other, stores are closed on Sundays, and a 980-horsepower monstrosity terrorizes innocent townspeople. RELATED: See Photos of the 980HP Ringbrothers Chevrolet Chevelle Recoil
You can thank the Ringbrothers shop for that, founded and owned by brothers Mike and Jim Ring.
This small shop churns out some of the most audacious muscle cars the world has ever seen. There are a total of only six cars in the shop. Two are finished, three being worked on, and a they just bought a pickup— which they're still trying to figure out what to do with.
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With such few cars being worked on at once, it’s all about the details. Nothing is left untouched. Every single part needs to be differentiated in some way by the brothers' hands. Whether it’s the wiring harness that no one will ever see, or how they’ve installed the same type of anti-slamming kitchen drawer technology into the trunk. Each and every detail needs to makes sense per the car's character.
A prime example of that is Recoil— a 980-horsepower custom Chevelle that made its way to SEMA this year.
Initially, I wasn't sure if Recoil would be back in time for me to see it. Thankfully, it was, and seeing it just sitting under a clear cover gave me the chills. It’s almost like feeling like you're on a cliff, and there’s that small voice telling you to jump. You know it’s probably going to kill you, but you can’t help but feeling to want to let yourself just do it.
I opened the passenger door and jumped in like a kid on Christmas. The sound of that thing starting is awesome, but it doesn’t belie the monster under the hood initially. It almost sounds tame when just pooting along. There’s no bark, no howl, just the sound of a well-tuned, very healthy V8.
But then Jim Ring put his foot down. On some backcountry roads, salt and dirt aplenty, he unleashed the sleeping giant that was the 980-horsepower V8. The tires break loose all the way up to fourth gear. A tidal wave of power hits you square in the chest, and it didn't let up until he eased off the throttle. I couldn’t stop laughing 'til we got back to the shop, and when I got home, I felt like I had been kicked in the ribs. Totally worth it.
Recoil is an absolute monster, but it’s a monster that perfectly illustrates the attention to detail that these guys have. In addition to Recoil, they've got a 710-horsepower Mustang dubbed the Blizzard. It's got a NASCAR V8 and carbon fiber aplenty. It's an absolute monster. I sat shotgun in that one too and was able to take some ride-along video:
The Ring Brothers shop is small, which is the way they like it. It’s only big enough for a few cars at a time. The brothers told me they didn’t want a bigger shop because, “how can you devote all of your attention, all your passion into so many cars at a time? We drive all our passion into the car we’re building at that single moment.” That statement is the mark of true craftsmen. They’d rather not dilute that love and passion into a couple dozen cars, when they can imbue all of it into just a handful.
Stepping into the Ringbrothers' world is like stepping into a time long forgotten. They aren’t in it to make a ton of cash, or produce vehicle after vehicle just to get to their bottom line. They take pride in their artistry, and sweat all the details. Recoil, for instance, gets a fully detailed steering wheel.
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Nine out of ten builders would have just thrown on some aftermarket billet piece and been done with it. Not the Ring brothers. They built a completely one-off steering wheel that perfectly sets this car apart from every other custom Chevelle. If you’re going to drop a couple hundred thousand dollars into building a completely one-off creation, why not make sure that every inch of it is accounted for?
I’ve struggled to put into words both the hospitality, and sheer audaciousness that the Ring brothers offered. Both deserve better words that I can come up with. These two brothers — Mike and Jim — have managed to create a small family shop that turns out some of the most insane muscle car builds on the planet. Their creations inspire those that see them, and terrify those that experience the raw power firsthand.
Jim and Mike are the kind of guys you could just hang out with for hours. Having a beer, talking about cars, or just kicking around some crazy ideas. And trust me, they have them. There's a freakin' half-built, 1,000-horsepower, full carbon fiber Mustang just sitting in the corner of the shop. We'll have more on that once it's finished.
At the same time, both men are humble beyond reproach. Naturally, they get excited about the work they’ve done, but it’s all about the detail pieces for them. They are sincerely excited about the cars they build and the work they put into them. They don’t care about the accolades or awards, all they want to do is make the best car they can. And they do.
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Each car that comes out of their shop is a work of art, something that should be studied by other car builders everywhere. They strive for perfection, not for recognition, but because they demand it of themselves. The Ringbrothers are masters of old school, and their work speaks volumes.
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