We will openly admit that not every SEMA build is our cup of tea. But this? A tastefully restored 1968 Mercury Cougar with a 460 hp Ford Mustang V8? Yes, this is right in our wheelhouse. Unfortunately there was no in-pwerson SEMA show in 2020 so we missed gems like this one. SEMA or no SEMA, the aftermarket goes on, and Ringbrothers co-owners Jim and Mike Ring (get it?) Saw no reason to waste their time and effort.
If they didn’t want to use build (see: 1,100-horsepower 1972 AMC Javelin AMX) or more subtle showcases (like this Cougar or their 2018 K5 Chevy Blazer from 2018), the folks at Ringbrothers are turning out factory reproduction parts, or for old-fashioned restoration – or modification purposes. While ’60s muscle cars are recurring building topics for the two, the Cougar was the first of its kind to tackle them.
To keep it in the family, Ringbrothers bought a Ford 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 and a 10-speed automatic (taken from an F-150 Raptor, incidentally) for construction. They didn’t stop at the drivetrain, of course. The suspension was overhauled with a little help from DSE and a set of HRE Series C1 C103 forged 3-piece wheels were thrown over upgraded brakes.
“We put our heart into every car we build, and this Cougar is no exception,” said Jim. “The finished product is mild and stylish, but any enthusiast knows right away that it is out of stock. I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they built the Cougar today.”
“While we couldn’t bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon,” said Mike. “We had never done a Cougar before, so this was a fun build. I love working with new shapes and coming up with new ideas.”
There is plenty to like about this Cougar, except for the mechanics. The finish is Augusta Green Metallic (courtesy of BASF), a factory color in 1968. You may know it by another name: Highland Green. There are a few custom exterior details, but they are quite subtle and styled to be period correct. The interior has also been restored and updated, and that’s where you’ll find the one thing we don’t love: that big, fat truck shifter. Despite the gearbox choices, it’s a bit of an eyesore. But considering how beautiful the rest are, we’ll try.