Up close and personal with the incredible Ringbrothers Recoil Chevelle pro-tourer

Photographers: Drew Phillips

PRO TOURING cars are all about embracing classic style with modern performance and, if you’re searching for a poster child for the movement, you don’t need to look beyond Ringbrothers’ latest masterpiece, a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle named Recoil.

Wisconsin-based siblings Mike and Jim Ring have used exquisitely crafted details to turn their builds into some of the best, most inventive pro touring machines ever seen. Recoil is their latest and wildest build, unveiled at SEMA 2014 to a stunned crowd.

While a 1000hp A-body Chevy doesn’t seem all that radical today, the detail work and engineering in this car actually bridges the gap between custom street machines and hand-built boutique European hypercars like the Pagani Huayra or Koenigsegg Agera R.

That is no accident, as the initial goal for owner Chris McPhie was for an ultra-high-performance, super-focused machine in the spirit of a modern race-ready exotic car.

“Chris was really clear in what he wanted; a race theme that was simple,” Mike Ring says. “He didn’t want it about the colour or anything, he wanted it about the work we did on it. He wanted a completely hand-fabricated interior. He wanted it minimal, but cool.

“Listing details is really hard because some of them are so subtle I’ve almost forgotten; I almost need to go over it piece by piece! We did things like extending and lengthening rockers, cutting guards off and even tweaking the shape of the wheel wells to give them a better shape.

“There is also a lot of carbon work in Recoil, including the bootlid, the bumpers, the spoiler, the bonnet; plus the dashpad, headliner and pillars in the interior are all carbon.”

That carbonfibre is not the stuff you’re used to seeing on Nissans parked at McDonalds on a Thursday night, though. Sourced from Composite Envisions’ Mirage line, the 2×2 twill-style weave is a high-end hybrid product that uses silver-plated copper to reinforce the aerospace-grade carbon weave. Hybrid CF is used on proper high-end production cars because race-quality raw carbonfibre is generally pretty rough and ratty looking. The wire forms it up much nicer and makes it a uniform pattern without waves or rough edges.

What hasn’t been left in raw carbon has been coated in a creamy custom BASF Glasurit mix called Sand Storm. It’s a move away from the lurid hues used in previous Ringbrothers builds, and the pale grey colour matches the industrial finish of the car perfectly.

The experimenting with finishes didn’t stop there, however, as Mike explains. “Something new for us is that we made the whole interior and boot out of aluminium. We then hydro-dipped it and cleared over the top to give it a unique texture that blows people’s minds and didn’t need any material to go over the top.”

The boys certainly went over the top when it came to the engine, however. Packing a Whipple twin-screw supercharged LS7 by Wegner Motorsports, Recoil stomps out 980hp and will turn the massive 20×13-inch HRE wheels with ease in third gear.

“Yeah, it’s an animal,” Mike laughs. “I’ve had one ride in this car and that’s enough, especially with my brother driving! Jim is a light switch and you can’t mash it, even at 130km/h, as it’ll just come loose. There is a limit to horsepower and I think we’ve reached it on this car.”

While it might be a tyre-frying brawler, that doesn’t mean the engine bay hasn’t been detailed to the nines. Custom carbonfibre inner guards, Ringbrothers’ patented billet pieces (including gas-assist bonnet hinges, custom fuel rail covers and oil and coolant tanks) and that amazing air intake all stand out on first glance.

Given Recoil’s animal nature, Mike knew they could play with the design of the air feed. “We wanted to bring the air filters through the front without having to run ducts everywhere to keep it as cool as we can. It’s probably not going to be driven in the rain so we’ll get away with that!”

The interior is a lesson in track-ready restraint, using plenty of aero inspiration and matte finishes rather than gloss. Along with custom Recaro buckets designed to look like jump seats, the switchgear is all typical billet Ringbrothers beauty, while a Racepak digital dash negates the need for dozens of gauges. There are motorcycle grip releases, high-tech touch-start system, integrated rear-vision mirror and Vintage Air a/c to keep the two occupants cool.

The motorsports interior isn’t just for show, with Recoil packing serious military-grade handling hardware under its silky body. Riding on a custom chassis from The Roadster Shop, the front suspension is C5 Corvette, with a Roadster Shop four-link in the rear, rack-and-pinion steering, Ididit column and Afco shocks all ’round. Baer six-piston brakes hide behind the custom HRE Ringbrothers II wheels, spanning 19×9.5 in the front and 20×13 out back, wrapped in high-end, corner-carving Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.

Amazingly the lucky owner of this amazing machine, Chris McPhie, didn’t have a clue what the finished product would look, sound or go like until the covers were whipped off during the 2014 SEMA show.

“Chris hadn’t even seen a picture of this car ’til it was unveiled at SEMA,” Mike says. “For a year and a half he just sent cheques, thank God! The unveil was pretty nerve-wracking because, as big as the crowd was, the bigger worry was we had to reveal a car to a guy who’d never seen it and hope that he’d like it. If he didn’t like it, he must be a great actor!”