You can’t swing a custom, billet-hewn Cougar emblem these days without scratching up a few high-dollar restomods. There’s an entire spectrum out there, ranging from the crate-motor-and-decal jobs to the Singer types. Ringbrothers is no Singer, but its builds are certainly special. We’ve seen a number recently, and all embody some fundamentally interesting idea. Whether it’s a 1,080-hp, Hellcat-powered AMC AMX or a ’48 Cadillac with ATS-V oily bits, the Ringbrothers folks like exploring the boundaries. That’s why we’re excited that the latest build is a swaggering Mercury Cougar rather than the typical Mustang—and it’s the first Cougar the builders have gotten their mitts on, too.
It’s not the most powerful build Ringbrothers has done recently, but the delicious 5.0-liter Coyote pumps out 460 horsepower—way more than even the burliest original offerings. It’s backed up by a 10-speed automatic swiped from an F-150 Raptor—an interesting, and completely competent choice.
The basis is an XR7 hardtop given a frame-off restoration and a host of performance parts beyond the driveline swap. Suspension is courtesy of DSE, the wheels are forged three-piece units from HRE, and modern rubber from Michelin means this Cougar shouldn’t fall over in a corner.
It’s finished in a delicious dark green over a tan interior. The shag carpet looks appropriately deep, the leather appropriately supple, and the wood-and-aluminum steering wheel sufficiently sporty. The retention of the modern shifter is strange and unsettling, a rare off-note in this build—why not stuff its guts into something that looks vintage? On that note, a retro engine cover would do a better job of selling the 5.0 underhood than the vast slab of plastic hiding the good stuff. Details, details … it’s still a fantastic and creative build.
And we’re sad there was no in-person SEMA show to gawk at it during, considering the interminable pandemic. The photos are one thing, but this is the sort of creation that deserves a close-up look to appreciate.