Jim and Mike Ring, better known as Ringbrothers, are no strangers to the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show for the automotive aftermarket industry. The Wisconsin-based siblings first had a car displayed there almost two decades ago and they’ve regularly won awards for best build since. In 2022, they won SEMA’s ‘Battle of the Builders’ with ‘Enyo,’ a radically altered 1948 Chev Loadmaster that looked like a cross between a pickup truck and IndyCar racer.
While they didn’t enter Battle of the Builders at SEMA 2023, Ringbrothers still had three cars on display, including the 1969 Dodge Charger shown here that’s known as ‘Tusk’. Rebuilt inside, outside and underneath in the best Ringbrothers tradition, this is their third build based on a classic ’69 Charger, following ‘Defector’ in 2017 and ‘Captiv’ in 2021. While both those builds were comprehensive, they’re nothing compared to what went into this one.
As received by the Ringbrothers, Tusk had already been fitted with a limited-edition Mopar ‘Hellephant’ 7.0-litre (426ci) V8. This supercharged crate engine is capable of 1,000hp (745kW) and 950ft/lb (1,288Nm), but wasn’t producing it, so the first job was to get it running right. After that, the engine was fitted with customised valve and supercharger covers, a custom exhaust system and aftermarket engine management. Moving the engine 2.5 inches back in the chassis - and the front axle 2.0 inches forward - to improve weight distribution and handling required a new firewall and all-new front guards to be made.
Matched to a Bowler Tremec T56 six-speed manual gearbox, QA1 carbon fibre driveshaft and Strange Engineering Ford 9-inch diff, the all-aluminium V8 sits under a bespoke, two-piece bonnet with a large hump for clearance and machined billet vents at the rear. Ringbrothers fabricated this bonnet from carbon fibre, along with a unique front valance and a deep front spoiler. The grille surround is also carbon fibre, while the front bumper was narrowed and tucked into the body. A new, one-piece billet windscreen surround was fabricated, too
The factory faux scoops in the Charger doors were moved to those new front guards and made functional, meaning new door skins had to be fabricated, while extended sills cover a Roadster Shop ‘Fast Track’ Stage III chassis that stiffens the body and allows lower floorpans to be fitted. At the rear, the valance was lowered and end caps extended, while the rear bumper got the same narrowed and tucked treatment as the front. A subtler change was the addition of a second fuel filler in the offside rear quarter, mirroring the factory position on the nearside and giving Tusk a racing vibe.
Paint is BASF Glasurit’s ‘Black to the Future’, accented with gold R/T-style striping.
With the Fast Track chassis allowing IRS, Fox RS SV coilover suspension was fitted all round, along with endlinks out of a C7 Corvette and a front anti-roll bar. Baer Extreme 6S brakes with six-piston calipers sit behind special ‘Tusk Edition’ wheels – 19x10.5-inch front and 20x13-inch rear – that were created by HRE Wheels to a Ringbrothers design. Finished in brushed gold, these wheels have been fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Inside, a full custom interior was crafted by trusted Ringbrothers partner, Upholstery Unlimited, with the black leather trim accented with a carbon fibre centre console and pistol grip shifter. The steering wheel is Ringbrothers’ own ‘Murph’ model with a carbon fibre rim and gold 12 o’clock marker. Other gold accents inside pick up on the exterior highlights, while the factory gauges were upgraded to Dakota Digital units. Vintage Air Gen IV air conditioning and power windows were fitted, while a modern sound system, including a Retro Manufacturing head unit and JL Audio components, completed the interior makeover.
"The Charger's 'coke-bottle' body is the perfect canvas to push the limits of what we can do and showcase our in-house talent and capabilities,” said Jim Ring, revealing that Tusk took more than 5,000 hours to complete.
"Performance and design shaped this build," added Mike Ring. “It really shows what can be accomplished when cutting-edge techniques work in tandem with painstaking levels of detail and imagination.
“The second-gen Charger is one of those cars that's so iconic as the zenith of American muscle car styling and performance, and that's what we set out to replicate with this build.”
At SEMA 2023, other Ringbrothers vehicles on display included ‘Uncaged’, a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible and ‘Paramount’, a 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II saloon. For a detailed story on the Rolls-Royce, click HERE.