We’ll openly admit that not every SEMA build is our cup of tea. But this? A tastefully restored Mercury Cougar from 1968 with a 460 hp Ford Mustang V8? Yes, that’s exactly in our wheelhouse. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an in-person SEMA show in 2020 so we missed out on gems like this one. SEMA or no SEMA, the aftermarket carries on and Ringbrothers co-owners Jim and Mike Ring (got it?) Saw no reason to waste their time or effort.
When they’re not building wild customs (see: 1972 AMC Javelin AMX with 1,100 horsepower) or more subtle showcases (like this Cougar or their 2018 1971 K5 Chevy Blazer), the folks at Ringbrothers are turning out factory replica parts, whether for old-fashioned restoration or change purposes. While muscle cars from the 60s are always construction projects for the two, the Cougar was the first of its kind that they tackled.
Ringbrothers kept it in the family and procured a Ford 5.0-liter C8ote “Voyote” V8 and a 10-speed automatic (lifted from an F-150 Rtor, by the way) for construction. They didn’t stop with the powertrain, of course. The suspension was overhauled with a little help from DSE and a set of forged 3-piece HRE-series C1 C103 wheels was thrown over improved brakes.
“We put our hearts into every car we build and this Cougar is no exception,” said Jim. “The finished product is mild and noble, but every enthusiast knows immediately that it is out of stock. I can imagine that Mercury designers would have come up with this if they had built the Cougar today.”
“While we weren’t able to bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon,” said Mike. “We’d never made a cougar before so this was a fun build. I love working with new shes and coming up with new ideas.”
There is also a lot to appreciate about this cougar art among mechanics. The finish is Augusta Green Metallic (courtesy of BASF), a factory color from 1968. You may know it by a different name: Highland Green. There are a few custom exterior details, but they’re pretty subtle and designed to be timely. The interior has also been restored and updated, and here is the only thing we don’t like: that big fat truck gear stick. Regardless of the gearbox selection, it’s a bit of a thorn in the side. But considering how beautiful the rest are, we give it a pass.