In 2007, master car builders Mike and Jim Ring of Ringbrothers won the Goodguys “Street Machine of the Year” award with a custom Mustang called “Reactor.” In 2008, they became the only shop to ever win “Street Machine of the Year” (SMOTY) twice in a row, and they did it with an impeccable 1969 Camaro called “Razor.” “Razor” later starred at the 2008 SEMA Show where Drew Philips reported, “It’s impossible not to appreciate the workmanship on this car.”
The build-up of “Razor” reads like a “Who’s Who” of modern street-rodding. Well-known Wisconsin enthusiast Erv Woller is the patron who kept the team together and paid the bills. As he said at the time of the SMOTY presentation, “When you embark on a project like this, you become family with everyone involved in the car. It takes a lot of resources and countless hours.”
A work of art like “Razor” doesn’t just happen. Before the Ringbrothers shop started construction, Sean Smith of SS Design was hired to develop the basic concept. Steve Pearson of Upholstery Unlimited designed and fabricated the interior. Almost everything else was created from scratch in the Ringbrothers’ Spring Green, Wisc., shop.
Mike and Jim obviously started with a rust-free 1969 Camaro, but they not only massaged every inch of the body lines, they custom fabricated many carbon fiber components including the hood, decklid, rear bumper and brake duct air intakes. Ringbrothers sells custom billet components to other car builders, so in their own shop they were able to custom machine-billet tail light bezels, bezels for the one-off Classic Instruments gauges, shifter plate, ignition switch surround, rear fuel filler, wheelhouse vents and hood hinges.
Under the carbon fiber hood lives a legendary new engine, the Ram Jet ZL1. GM Parts sold just 200 Ram Jet ZL1 V8s. These sequentially numbered, limited edition engines are derived from the famous ZL1 big block first introduced in 1969 and feature all-aluminum block and heads, GMPP Ram Jet fuel injection, 10.2:1 compression ratio and a 640/598 solid roller cam. Output is conservatively rated 520hp @ 5,750 rpm, 493 ft/lb of torque @ 4,250 rpm.
To handle the wild horsepower from this rare collectible powerplant, “Razor” has a Tremec T-56 6-speed driving the rear wheels. The rear suspension is a Detroit Speed Quadralink, while the front suspension is Detroit Speed Hydraformed. Huge Baer BBK disc brakes nestle behind one-off five-spoke Budnik wheels shod with Goodyear tires. The front wheels are 18×10, the rear wheels 19×12.
One of the things that make “Razor” such a standout is the subtle two tone paint scheme of BASF RM Mineral Gray and a custom blend that harmonizes not only with the carbon fiber components, but with the Hunter leather interior, and the whole thing is set off by orange highlights. It’s much more tasteful than many garish street machine paint treatments.
“Razor” is an immaculate show car, but it is also a running, driving, street-legal performance car of almost unbelievable competence. From roughly 2004 to 2009, there was a boom in street rodding during which the best professionally built cars not only reached formerly unattainable perfection in design and construction, but also in handling, braking and steering.
“Razor” is the best of the best, a superb work of drivable art that is still as immaculate as the day it stunned spectators at the Goodguys PPG Nationals on July 12, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. In every way, “Razor” is far more than the sum of its parts, a larger-than-life masterpiece. You could say “Razor” is a customized 1969 Camaro, but that’s like saying the Mona Lisa is a painting of some girl.
– — By Rich Taylor