Ringbrothers Reveals 3 V-8 SEMA Builds, Including a Rolls-Royce

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  • Ringbrothers, a Wisconsin-based custom car builder, revealed this beautiful 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, which has a 640-hp General Motors LT4 supercharged V-8 under the hood.
  • The company’s second show car is a stunning burgundy 1965 Ford Mustang convertible, complete with a Ford Performance 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 crate engine producing 460 hp.
  • The most powerful creation was the 1969 Dodge Charger, which was fitted with the 1000-hp Hellephant crate engine built in limited quantities by Mopar.

Each year, Wisconsin-based hot-rodders Ringbrothers bring a slew of modified American metal to the SEMA show, but for 2023 they cooked up something different. The custom car builder pulled the covers off "Paramount" yesterday, a gleaming 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II with an American heart.

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Unlike some of the company’s other creations, Paramount keeps a traditional look. While the original bodywork was stripped to the bare metal to remove any imperfections before being repainted a pristine shade of white, the design was left mostly untouched. "They’re iconic and you don’t have to change things just to change it," co-founder Mike Ring told Car and Driver. Plus, Ring said, the buyer who commissioned Paramount was already in love with the swooping, elegant styling.

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Things are different, however, under the skin. While the V-8 engine is still a 6.2-liter unit—like the original Rolls-Royce powertrain—it is now a General Motors–sourced supercharged LT4 pumping out 640 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. This beefy motor is hooked up to a Bowler Tru-Street 10-speed automatic gearbox and a carbon-fiber driveshaft. The decision to stick an American motor into this British behemoth was easy. "We know people in GM," Mike Ring said. If any issues arise, help is just a phone call away.

Jim Ring, Mike’s brother and co-founder of the company, attested to Paramount’s performance credentials. "When you see this car go down the road, you think to yourself, this thing shouldn’t be doing what it’s doing," he said. They drag-raced it against the customer’s new Phantom, and it wasn’t even close. "It just squats and launches."

The Rolls-Royce weighs about 4800 pounds, and the body rests on a custom chassis with Fox RS SV coil-overs at all four corners. The 18-inch EVOD Industries wheels are shod in Falken Azenis tires and, like on modern Rolls-Royces, the gyro wheel center caps keep the logo facing right side up as the car moves.

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Inside, the wooden dashboard keeps the original layout but gains modern looking gauges and machined billet switchgear. Ringbrothers also fitted a "starlight" headliner, a popular option seen on modern Rolls-Royces, and the aftermarket version has over 1000 LED lights hand-sewn into the ceiling. Ringbrothers also freed up more space inside. The original Silver Cloud featured a glass divider at the B-pillar, separating the chauffeur from the passengers.

"There was no room," Mike Ring explained. "You had to be a jockey to drive it." To give the owner more space, Ringbrothers ditched the divider, allowing the front bench seat—which came out of a 1957 Chevrolet—to be shifted rearwards. But the modifiers didn’t forget about the rear passengers, refitting the fold-down tables onto the Chevy-sourced seat’s back.

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If you bleed red, white, and blue, don’t worry, because Ringbrothers still brought two American builds to this year’s show. This resplendent burgundy ’65 Mustang convertible is nicknamed "Uncaged," a follow up to the "Caged" Mustang that Ringbrothers created last year. Unlike the Rolls, which retained the original body, the only original part on Uncaged are the wheel center caps.

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The changes to the body aren’t obvious, but this ‘Stang is an inch wider on each side and has redesigned fenders, a custom front bumper, and sleeker side scoops. Modern LEDs have found their way into the classic three-stripe taillights, and even the Mustang logos are restyled with a chiseled, 3D look. The front grille sits two inches deeper, allowing air to reach a Ford Performance 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 crate engine generating 460 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque, linked to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. "It’s so smooth, it feels like a brand new car," Mike Ring said.

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The Mustang rolls on 18-inch wheels from EVOD Industries, wearing Continental tires and hooked up an independent rear suspension and coil-overs from Penske Racing Shocks. The cabin is upholstered in lush leather with brushed metal accents and is full of intricate touches like the bespoke steering wheel and latticework window cranks.

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The second American creation is dubbed "Tusk," a 1969 Dodge Charger that has been completely reengineered with the 1000-hp Hellephant crate engine from Mopar. Just 100 units of that supercharged 7.0-liter V-8 were built, and the motor sends 950 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a Tremec six-speed manual and carbon-fiber driveshaft. More carbon appears on the two-piece hood, and the motor is shifted 2.5 inches rearwards versus the original’s placement to improve the weight distribution.

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The Tusk is heavily restyled, with custom front and rear bumpers, a unique chin spoiler, lower rocker panels, and a carbon-fiber grille surround, giving it a low, sleek, and mean look. Gold accents pop against the black paint, particularly the HRE wheels that wear Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and are attached to Fox RS SV coil-overs. The front wheels have actually been shifted forward by two inches, with the extended wheelbase said to improve handling, and the Charger rides on a custom chassis. The cabin is decked out in carbon fiber and features a custom "pistol grip" shifter, a new steering wheel, and modern dials.

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All of Ringbrothers’ vehicles are commissioned by the owners, although the hot-rodders are pretty much given free rein over how they approach the build. While Mike and Jim Ring told Car and Driver that they tend to stick with what they know—classic American muscle—the Rolls-Royce process certainly expanded their horizons. "We’re working on a 1971 Aston Martin DBS next," Mike said, and revealed that there was lots of interest in doing more Rolls-Royces. We can’t wait to see what Ringbrothers cooks up for next year’s SEMA show.

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