SEMA 2014: Ringbrothers Spring Recoil On Everyone – Including Owner

recoilleadartAt this year’s SEMA Show, there were hundreds of cars that pushed the limits of custom car building – and then took those limits just a little bit further. One of those vehicles that pushed the envelope a little further came from the Ring Brothers, Mike and Jim. “Recoil” was the name given to this 1966 Chevelle and what a fitting name because this car can definitely set you back on your heels.

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When you’re the Ring brothers, you can get away with just about anything – including change the fender lines.

Usually, when a custom build like this comes along there are a few Easter eggs incorporated into the car. Most of them never get noticed, while some of them are only caught by the keenest of enthusiasts; someone who knows the car inside and out and can detect that there’s something different about it – above and beyond everything else that is different. But probably the most interesting Easter egg was that this car was built without much input – or knowledge – from car owner Chris McPhie.

McPhie is a repeat customer to Mike and Jim Ring, so he’s no stranger to the extremes that Ringbrothers’ builds receive. This time around, however, McPhie had just a couple of requests: caliper color and that the seats were made from scratch – and metal-looking. It might sound like an odd set of conditions, but McPhie told us that he was pleasantly surprised with the car after seeing it for the first time at SEMA.

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Special HRE wheels gave Recoil its own unique look.

The paint is non-traditional and something you don’t see often: Custom Sand Storm BASF Glasurit Waterborne paint covers this amazing ride. “It’s the most horrible beautiful color I’ve ever seen,” McPhie told us. “I knew I wanted nickel-plated calipers, and I wanted them to build the seats, I wanted something different,” he said, “I wanted something that I could drive, not something that is too custom.”

Although the entire car wasn’t build around just the seats and the calipers, Mike Ring said that the seats played a big part on providing McPhie with a build that would blow him away. “We started with a basic Recaro and used those dimensions to create seats that were made entirely from scratch,” Mike Ring said. Early teaser photos that were sent out highlighted those very seats, showing that they were a huge part of the concept itself.

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There was so much that was right with this car, and people couldn't get enough of it.

Easter Eggs

When one refers to a custom car as having unique clues that most don’t notice, it’s often referred to as an Easter egg, and Recoil has a few of them. Purists might notice that the fenders are cut slightly different from the original, and that the rocker panels are lowered about an inch to cover up the frame rails, which typically extend far enough to be seen. That new line on the rockers was extended through the quarter lower panel to maintain that line.

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The scoop for the oil cooler looks right at home under the sculpted front bumper.

The line at the front door where it meets the fender is another one of those Easter eggs. “It just didn’t look right, so we changed the line to match the windshield pillar,” Ring told us. They also built a one-piece aluminum rear panel to house the custom machined 5th gen Camaro tail lights. The entire floor was done in a water transfer design on aluminum panels, and then clear coated to protect it.

The steering wheel was scratch built, as was the pod for the Racepak gauges. Under the hood, the the twin-screw Whipple supercharger received extensions that make the supercharger look a bit bigger than standard, and up front the bumper was extended to the wheel opening below the fender. The oil cooler scoop was built into the lower panel and bumper to help keep the LS7 cool.

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If you can't find the right steering wheel, you make it yourself.

As with any build on a popular classic car, however, there will be some negativity. We saw that with ADRNLN, the LS-powered Pantera that Ringbrothers debuted at SEMA 2013. But, “Negativity is not entirely negative,” Mike Ring said. “People who complain do more to promote than anything else.” How profound that statement truly is in the world of custom car builds, or almost anything for that matter. We see it all the time when someone on a forum complains about what was done to a car to “ruin it” and just about everyone wants to see it for themselves.

In restorations, it’s all about what’s wrong with a car. But with a modified custom build, it’s about what’s right with it. -Mike Ring

Ring feels that people prejudge way too much, and we tend to agree. Ringbrothers won’t go and cut up a numbers-matching classic to create a build, they do have a lot of respect for the history and the legacy that these classic musclecars have left behind. But as in the case of Recoil, it was a six-cylinder Chevelle that needed lots of work. It took Ringbrothers 1.5 years to complete, and even Mike admits that the whole surprise factor of presenting it to McPhie for the first time at SEMA was a little unnerving.

Mike and Jim have become immune to the negativity surrounding some of their builds, though. As we’ve mentioned before, they don’t do restorations, they do custom builds. “We just don’t have time for restorations and all that comes with a restoration,” Mike said. “In restorations, it’s all about what’s wrong with a car. But with a modified custom build, it’s about what’s right with it.”

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Under the hood is where the business end of this car takes place, and it's typically just as clean as the rest of the car.

Potent Power

The Wegner Motorsports LS7 was built with some serious hardware. Topping off the RHS aluminum block is a pair of RHS aluminum heads. Between them is a Whipple twin-screw supercharger helping the combination pump out 980 horsepower at the crank. A Meziere intercooler pump helps keep boosted temps a little cooler, and the Holley fuel injection system keeps the whole combination running at it’s peak.

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Looking more like something out of the Terminator movies, the front seats look like they belong there.

Mating up to the blown LS7 is a custom Tremec transmission built by Bowler Performance Transmissions, putting that power to the John’s Industries Ford 9-inch rearend with 35-spline axles via a Dynotech Engineering driveshaft. A complete Flowmaster exhaust system includes modified Flowmaster headers that force the spent gasses through a stainless exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers.

All this power wouldn’t make it to the ground without the help of some serious hardware beneath it. The custom Roadster Shop chassis sports a C5 Corvette IFS and a 4-link rear suspension with AFCO coilover shocks. Keeping the car level during hard cornering is a set of Roadster Shop sway bars, and keeping the wheels going in the right direction is a power rack-and-pinion steering system. Keeping the car rolling in style is a special set of HRE/Ringbrothers Recoil wheels, with 19×9.5-inch rollers up front and 20×13-inch in the rear, all wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires – a wide 275/30R19 in front and the steamroller-sized 345/30R20 out back.

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Even the rear view mirror didn’t go untouched.

Inside, Chris McPhie also had one more request, and one that perhaps had Ringbrothers a little reluctant, but the customer is always right. McPhie needed a sound system, as he loves his tunes. So in addition to the Classic Instruments boost gauge on the dash and the Vintage Air AC system under it, a Pioneer head unit sending the low-level tunes to a Kicker setup in the trunk keeps McPhie happy. Keeping the power to all that sound and making it reliable is an OPTIMA battery mounted in the trunk.

Recoil is all about making a statement, and that statement is that you don’t have to love it, and you don’t have to hate it. The bottom line is that it just doesn’t matter because this car was built by Mike and Jim Ring for Chris McPhie, and that alone is what is right in this world: that a car can be built from a thought and the one single person who has to like it really does like it. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters, but as it turns out, some others seem to like it, too, because Recoil brought home three awards: Goodguys Gold, Mothers’ Choice Award, and Best Chevrolet for SEMA 2014. Not bad for a car that began life as a six-cylinder and was built around a couple of unique ideas.

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Chris McPhie spent a while discovering things he hadn't noticed, the smile on his face said he loved it.

About the author

Michael Harding

Michael is a Power Automedia contributor and automotive enthusiast who doesn’t discriminate. Although Mopar is in his blood, he loves any car that looks great and drives even faster.
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