Ringbrothers Recoil Chevelle is 1,000-hp Custom Masterpiece
The car that took the 2014 Battle of The Builders by storm
The 2014 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show ushered in a new trend in high-end Pro Touring cars, and Chris McPhie's 1,000 horsepower Ringbrothers Recoil Chevelle is the epitome. The hallmarks of the new Pro Touring trend are custom bodywork and intricately fabricated details throughout, with an overall look that is far from flashy. It's not all that subtle, though, because it still managed to broadcast its craftsmanship to anyone who set eyes on it; the closer this 1966 Chevelle is inspected, the more custom details it reveals.
The build began in 2012 when the car's 1966 sheetmetal got a thorough stripping. While a good portion of the sheetmetal was solid, sizable portions of the quarter-panels and floor had to go. That was fine because part of the plan was to widen the wheeltubs and flare the fenders just slightly. While it was still in metal surgery, the car lost its driprail as well as the factory dash. New wheel openings were shaped, extended aluminum rockers were installed to cover the pinch welds, and a custom dash, center console, and subwoofer enclosures were built for the interior. The hood, decklid, and bumpers were all replaced with carbon fiber and expertly fitted to the body with tight gaps. Once prepped, the exterior was finished in a blend of light-gray Sand Storm Glasurit waterborne paint and exposed carbon fiber.
The race-inspired interior is filled with texture, with ribbed aluminum floor inserts, dimpled perforated steel door panels, leather-wrapped door pulls, and a matte carbon-fiber dash fitted with billet aluminum trim and gauge bezel housing a Racepak dash. Then there are the fully custom seats made from steel tubing, dimpled aluminum sheet, and individual cushions wrapped in leather. They look like they're meant to rearrange your spine, although we can report that they are more comfortable than they appear. They only sort of rearrange your spine, and only when the thrust of the engine presses you into them. It's worth it.
Speaking of thrust, it's got plenty. A Wegner Motorsports engine started as an LS3 and uses a 4-inch Callies Dragonslayer crank and 4.070-inch 9.5:1 Mahle forged pistons to land at 416 ci. The block is topped by a pair of factory LSA cylinder heads ported by Wenger and fitted with Manley Extreme Duty valves and dual valvesprings actuated by a Wenger Motorsports Stage 2 camshaft and factory rocker arms upgraded with Comp Cams trunions. Combined with a Whipple supercharger that draws air in through a Holley throttle-body, the engine consumes atmosphere by the cubic yard, belting out 982.7 hp at 6,800 rpm and 862.6 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.
A Quicktime bellhousing and MacLeod twin-disc clutch link the engine to a Bowler Performance T56 Magnum six-speed built to handle the extreme twisting force of the engine. From there, an aluminum Dynotech driveshaft connects to a John's Industries Ford 9-inch that uses 35-spline axles and a 4.10:1 ring and pinion. It's mounted to a stiff, strong Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis that uses a four-link and AFCO coilovers to drop the rear 3.5 inches from stock. In the front, C5 Corvette front spindles and AFCO springs, shocks, and 1.25-inch sway bar are used to drop the car 4 inches. It's a fully functional ride height that allows plenty of travel while keeping the perfectly painted undercarriage as shiny and unscuffed as the bodywork.
The new chassis and huge wheeltubs—carbon fiber in front and widened steel in the rear—allow the midsize car to pack supercar-size wheels and tires. A set of three-piece Ringbrothers Recoil wheels from HRE measure 19x9.5 inches in the front with 275/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, while the rears use 345/30R20 rubber on 20x13-inch hoops. Combine the huge contact patches with brutal torque at just about any engine speed and it's the perfect recipe for acceleration. In our brief time in the passenger seat, Jim Ring drove us on some of the winding canyon roads that Southern California is known for. The sound-deadening was able to muffle the road noise, but nothing stopped the engine's dual 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust from roaring through the interior like a proper race car whenever the throttle opened up. It felt every bit like a 1,000hp car.
This story originally appeared on our TEN sister publication Hot Rod.