Ringbrothers, a Wisconsin-based custom carmaker, has revealed its latest restomod: A 1968 Mercury Cougar, affectionately called the “Coyogar.” The restoration covers all the usual modifications and upgrades that Ringbrothers are known for. When they’re not creating outlandish customs like the 1100-horsepower 1972 AMC Javelin AMX) or more modest build such as their 1971 K5 Chevy Blazer from 2018, Ringbrothers makes factory replica parts for restoration and modification.
While ’60s muscle cars are frequent build subjects for the two, the Cougar was the first of its kind they embarked on. Jim and Mike Ring (Co-owners) were able to salvage a Ford a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 motor from a Ford F-150 Raptor; they didn’t stop with the driveline, of course. The car got a frame-off restoration with new floor pans and a transmission tunnel.
Very Close To The Original Cougar
Ringbrother’s 1968 Mercury Cougar is outfitted in an Augusta Green Metallic finish, courtesy BASF. In 1968, the paint was a factory finish and went by the name Highland Green. Ringbrothers added period-correct details to the exterior of the vehicle to give it authenticity. Badging, bumpers, grille, and grille are all aftermarket parts used for this project. A fine detail of the Mercury Cougar was pop-up headlights, hidden behind covers that were visually integrated with the grille, and Rinbrothers of course kept it.
The interior looks plush, as Cougars from the late 1960s were. The period-correct theme spreads to the cabin, where a wooden tiller and fancy wood appliques accentuate the predominantly leather-dressed cabin. The shag carpet looks appropriately deep, the leather suitably supple, and the wood-and-aluminum steering wheel sufficiently sporty.
Inside the cabin, the only oddity is the giant, heavy gear shifter. It is a large, heavy piece of plastic that blocks the beauty of the peanut butter interior. The guys are not to blame. They had to use the modern truck’s shifting lever. Modern computer-controlled automatic transmissions do not offer custom shift levers. This is especially true when the buttons for upshift and downshift are right there on the knob, like Ford.
There is no problem with the gear shifter, but it is a little annoying. These are not the old days when your gear knob was attached to a rod that went straight into the transmission case. Any knob with the correct threads could be used as an alternative. We’ll give it a pass, considering the beauty of the rest.
Coyote V8 Under The Hood
The Coyote V8 makes upto 460 hp used by Ringbrother’s in their Coyogar project. Instead of standard manual transmission, they opted for a Ford 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that drives the rear wheels.
New Baer Pro+ brakes are peeking from behind with the fresh set of HRE Series C1 C103 three-piece forged alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin tires bring the chassis up to the task of handling that 21st-century power. The car’s suspension was also overhauled with the help of DCE (Detroit Speed & Engineering). Ringbrothers also included a Flowmaster exhaust system in the Coyogar build.
Although the Coyogar was initially meant to be displayed at the 2020 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the coronavirus pandemic forced them to cancel their plans. Ringbrothers, however, was happy to present its project online as most automakers now do. Although the final product is less slick than other Ringbrothers projects, it is still identifiable as their very own work. It combines classic looks and all the modern technical aspects.
“We put our heart into each car we build, and this Cougar is no exception,” Jim said. “The finished product is mild and classy, yet any enthusiast instantly knows it’s not stock. I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they were building the Cougar today.”
“While we couldn’t bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon,” Mike said. “We had never done a Cougar before, so this was a fun build. I love working with new shapes and coming up with new ideas.”
The Ford coupe has always been aimed at the young and the restless (reckless, maybe?). The Cougar was always the more grown-up and stylish sibling to the Mustang. When it shared mechanicals with the Mustang, the Cougar was how you got pony car performance in a three-piece suit. Aggressive but restrained. Athletic but refined. And the latest Ringbrothers build nails that equilibrium.
Ringbrothers’ final product looks like a 1960s Cougar. But underneath that era-specific appearance is a modernized mechanical part that can destroy other performance rides that underestimate its capabilities. Another slam-dunk build is the Coyogar, a custom tuner that is very best at what it does.
It is thrilling to see that the latest build is a swagger Mercury Cougar rather than the usual Mustang—and it’s the first Cougar the Ringbrothers have gotten their hands on, too. However, they didn’t yet give any information on the price of this vehicle.
The Mercury Cougar is an iconic car, and there are many things that even motor experts don’t know about this model.
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