There are a lot of hot rod shops all around the country that build show cars for SEMA, but none of them grab attention quite like the Ringbrothers. Based in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Ringbrothers was founded by brothers Mike and Jim Ring.
They’ve made a name for themselves as world-class car builders, and I had the priviledge of checking out one of their creations at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. This is their take on a 1964 Ford Fairlane 500, which they have nicknamed “Afterburner.”
As a seasoned attendee of SEMA, Barrett-Jackson and other car shows, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at resto-modded muscle cars. I can tell you that Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chevelles, Novas, GTOs, Chargers, and similar cars are by far the most popular models that people restore. At these events, a car like a first-generation Mercury Cougar would be a real stand-out for the sheer novelty of being something different that you haven’t seen a hundred times before.
This 1969 Mercury Cougar convertible scores points for originality and hits a home run for being an extremely well done build. Nicknamed the “Cool Cat,” it was built by Hot Rod Express out of Blue Springs, Missouri.
The world of kustom kulture as we know it today began as an offshoot of the Southern California hot rodding scene. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, guys like George Barris, Big Daddy Roth, and Gene Winfield were coming up with wild new custom cars that had radically chopped roofs, slammed suspensions, shaved bodies, and custom pinstriping to show off their vehicles.
The allure of the kustom kar scene went out like a shockwave across the country, where it reverberated strongly with Jack Walker of Belton, Missouri. Jack was your typical hot rodding teenager, until he decided to start building cars for show. The first vehicle he displayed was in 1970, and it was called “The Condor.”
1963 was a very special year for the Chevrolet Corvette because it was the one and only year the car came with a split rear window. This oddity makes 1963 model years highly desirable to collectors. However, this ’63 Corvette is special for another reason: it holds the official title of “World’s Fastest Street Legal Car.”
Looking at the car with its roll cage, huge Mickey Thompson tires, and the two gigantic turbochargers sticking out of the cowl hood, it certainly doesn’t look like a street legal car. However, it has opening doors, power windows, turn signals and a horn, and even a cupholder! In its “street trim,” this car ran the quarter mile in 6.75 seconds at an incredible 209.96 mph!
Carroll Shelby will forever be remembered as the man who put Ford V8 engines into AC Cobras in the 1960s, and as the man who souped up Mustangs and other cars for auto manufacturers. For most of his career, Shelby advised or improved upon other people’s projects. What if he set out to design a car of his own? What would it look like? Ladies and gentlemen, the Shelby Series 1 Convertible.
This car has the distinction of being the only car designed, engineered, and built from the ground up by Carroll Shelby. It’s kind of an odd-looking car, though you can tell by looking at it that the fit and finish are too good to be a kit. Only 249 of these vehicles were produced, making them extremely rare. This luxury roadster originally cost $180,000 when it came out in 1999. This particular car belonged to Jamie Navarro, pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers.
While walking around at Barrett-Jackson 2014, I spotted this ’65 Mustang Fastback nicknamed “Bad Apple.” Honestly, it looked so good I thought it was a Ringbrothers car at first glance. The shaved door handles and no side mirrors give it a really sleek, streamlined look. As it turns out, this car was actually built by Jim Green’s Performance Center in Monroe, WA.
On the one hand, this is a really nice build. The work that has gone into this car is first rate and I truly believe that it was a $200,000 build, as mentioned in the auction notes. On the other hand, this car exemplifies just how ridiculous the muscle car world has become.
One of my favorite things about Barrett-Jackson is coming across all of the weird, limited-production, boutique cars that you just never see anywhere else. The Mosler Raptor GTR is a perfect example of this.
Started in the mid-1980s, Mosler Automotive has been the side project of hedge fund manager Warren Mosler. Unfortunately, the company seems to have dissolved in 2013. The Riviera Beach, Florida-based company made a variety of cars for the street and for the track, and one of these was the Raptor GTR.
The history of the automobile in America is filled with dreamers who saw an existing car or idea and thought to themselves “I can do better.” People such as Henry Kaiser, John DeLorean, Malcolm Bricklin, Henrik Fisker, and countless others held that dream for a short time, only to watch it slip through their fingers. Starting a car company is really, really hard to do – even for those who are blessed with talent, ideas, money, and a whole lot of luck.
Enter Jeff Lemke, an entrepreneur from Holly, Michigan (a small town about 50 miles outside of Detroit). Lemke has years of experience in building aftermarket parts for Dodge Vipers. In 2009, he decided he wanted to do his own car and started a company called Falcon Motorsports.