The SEMA trade show brings out some of the best builds of the year, and those of us who are fortunate enough to cruise through the many halls and corridors get to see some of those builds, and often we get to meet the builders. In the Royal Purple booth this year, there was a Pantera unlike any other Pantera we have ever seen, and the credit for that build went to none other than the Ring Brothers, Mike and Jim.
We got a chance to talk to both of them, and it was great to chat with a couple of guys who have been impressing us for years with their skills and wild builds. We had a few questions about the car itself, and the first one that came to mind was “why a Pantera”? Most of the time, customizing a Pantera means wide wheels and tires, doing something with the exhaust, or adding big brakes, and not much more than that.
This Pantera build would be far more than just a few mechanical modifications, though. As Jim Ring put it: “We probably only used about two square feet of the original sheet metal,” and looking over the car it doesn’t even look like that much, as every panel seems to have been modified.
Customizing the Pantera was something that the Ring Brothers decided on because, as Mike states: they aren’t in the restoration business. They had one criteria that had to be met, and that was that the owner wanted the car to be yellow. With that solitary condition, the brothers went to work on the car they call “ADRNLN”.
The 1971 Pantera didn’t start out at their shop, as we were told. It came to them in pieces, and it needed a lot of work. The car had been sitting at another shop, unfinished, and the build was never close to being completed.
The owner and his wife had taken it to the previous shop, but sadly the car owner had become ill and he passed away – losing his battle with cancer. His wife, Cheryl Brickle, knew that he would have wanted to finish the build, and decided to bring the car to Mike and Jim, and asked that they complete the car – with that one condition of it being yellow.
We asked Mike about the cabin, and the reason for the special treatment for the driver, and the lack of attention to the passenger area. “Oh, that was all Jim’s idea,” Mike said. We took the bait and asked, and since it was to be a driver’s car they decided that not much time, attention, or cost would be spent on the passenger’s side. Jim had a more colorful expression, but we’ll let you ask him about that one.
They even told us that a couple inches of elbow room was stolen from the right side to provide the extra space for the driver. While the general consensus is that the passenger side is dull, or boring, we’d willingly take up the space anytime.
Motivating the Pantera is something that might make a few in the Blue Oval crowd cringe: between the rails sits and LS3 engine that’s just as custom as the car itself. The Ring Brothers tell us that the car was never a Ford to begin with, so they don’t feel too bad for replacing the original engine with the Bowtie LS.
The LS3 is breathing through a Flowmaster exhaust system, and for getting the fuel to the combustion chamber, the Ring Brothers relied on another partner – Aeromotive – to get the fuel system plumbed. The custom fuel tank utilizes Aeromotive’s Phantom Stealth fuel systems to get the fuel from the tank to the fuel injection system. These in-tank pump kits are quiet, and fit a wide variety of applications where an electric, in-tank fuel pump was never considered.
Another partner on this build, however, was one of the odder partnerships that we don’t often see. Sitting atop the Pantera for most of the week was a pair of Nike running shoes, with a matching yellow highlight. This partnership began a couple of years ago, and the Ring Brothers teamed up with Nike on this build, and they say Nike loved the interior “driver’s car” theme.
They say at SEMA you can see almost anything, and this custom Pantera powered by an LS3 with mismatched interior and matching Nike shoes is proof. But it’s the interesting facts and continued partnerships that make builds like this completely possible, and taking the time to talk with the Ring Brothers proved just one more thing about SEMA: it’s a great place to meet some great people and make new friends in the industry, and it’s pretty cool to add Jim and Mike Ring to our list of friends.
To see more of ADRNLN, check out the gallery of pictures below, from the SEMA 2013 Trade Show.