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The youngest of seven children, brothers Jim and Mike Ring took an interest in all things automotive early on in life while hanging out at the family shop. “My dad owned a Skelly station in a small town, so we always liked the smell of gas and oil,” Jim says with a laugh. “Growing up, we’d tear apart lawnmowers – and anything else with engine – just to figure out how it worked.”
Today, Ringbrothers is a name that’s synonymous with meticulous craftsmanship in the restomod scene thanks to award-winning custom builds like Defiant!, a Hellcat-powered 1972 Javelin AMX and Adrnln, an LS-swapped 1971 De Tomaso Pantera, among numerous other projects. But what makes these cars show stoppers isn’t their modern performance or their real-world usability, it’s the incredible level of fabrication and attention to detail that the brothers pour into these machines. Their efforts yield automotive works of art that manage to retain the aesthetic identity of these iconic vehicles while also producing something wholly unique.
The carbon fiber body wears a coat of BASF Glasurit waterborne paint called “TOTOPKG Green.” The car rolls on custom HRE wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires.
“Early on we’d sort of throw ideas at the wall to see what stuck,” Jim says. “Sometimes we’d try something and realize it was a mess, and we’d have to do it three or four times before we got it where we wanted it. There were also times where we’d spend forty hours doing something and then just toss it and start over.”
Since then the Ringbrothers have gotten a bit smarter with their time, and Jim notes that joining forces with automotive designer Gary Ragle was a turning point for the company. “Gary has had a hand in everything we’ve done over the past ten years or so. With ideas going back and forth between us, he’s been able to get it down on paper so we can actually see where we’re going with an idea before we do it.”
He adds that successfully bringing these ideas to life ultimately comes down to the fundamentals. “I think we’ve always had a pretty good sense of how to bring the proportions together; it’s a great team of guys here that really get it, and really enjoy what they do.”
The Camaro has been widened by three inches at the front and five inches in the rear, the latter of which allows the 345mm rubber to tuck under the fenders.
But Ringbrothers doesn’t shy away from bringing modern tech into the mix, either, utilizing in-house 3D printing and CNC capabilities to create the one-off components that they need in order to bring these ideas to life. “The fact that we can manufacturer pretty much anything we need right here has been a godsend for us,” Jim says. “If something isn’t right, we can tweak it until it is. I don’t think you can rely on the ‘catalog’ to do builds like these – it would really limit our creativity. You have to have the ability to make changes while you’re moving.”
And the Valkyrja Camaro is the embodiment of the Ringerbrothers’ overall build philosophy. “In my opinion, it’s one of the most iconic cars that GM has ever produced – it’s just timeless,” Jim says of the 1969 Camaro. “We knew we wanted to change it completely, but we also wanted it to be 100% recognizable as to what the car originally was.”
The wheelbase was extended by moving the front wheels forward 1.5 inches. “It made it a little more of a snub nose – gives it a little more of a BMW vibe,” Mike says.
The team tackled the design from all sides as they sought to ratchet up the visual appeal while making strategic alternations to modernize the aesthetic. “So we looked at the hips – let’s make those more voluptuous, and let’s move the front wheels up an inch and a half to give it a bit more of a late-model look. There’s a lot of subtle things going on, but we really wanted to hold true to what the ’69 Camaro originally was.”
Dressed in a full carbon fiber body, the Camaro has been widened by three inches up front and five inches in the back. The laundry list of one-off machined parts includes the aluminum grill, fuel caps, intake vents, taillights, headlight buckets, turn indicators, badging, exhaust brackets, interior gauge bezels, control knobs, shifter, and visor brackets, but Jim sums up the breadth of modifications with a concise statement. “The door glass is the only part on the car that would still fit on an original ’69 Camaro.”
Based on a GM Performance LS9 block and cylinder heads, the 416ci LS is topped with a 2.9-liter Whipple blower and dishes out 890 horsepower. The grunt is sent to the rear wheels through a reworked Bowler six-speed T-56 Magnum transmission with a 26-spline input shaft and a 31-spline output shaft.
Mike Ring also offers his perspective on the team’s approach to the build. “To me, the shape of the original grill and the tail lights were important to retain. Front ends and back ends are what people recognize different vehicle designs by, so I think that’s key.”
Under the hood is an 890 horsepower 416 cubic-inch LS3 built by Wegner Motorsports that’s outfitted with a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger and a Holley Dominator EFI system. “We use the Dominator in every single car that we build,” Jim explains. “And the reason we do that is because the Holley system is so tunable, and easy to work with in general.”
Like the exterior, the cabin of the Valkyrja Camaro is comprised largely of one-off components like the custom-fabricated shifter, gauge bezels, and the HRE steering wheel, while Upholstery Unlimited has reworked the interior appointments from top to bottom. The four-point harnesses come from Impact Racing and are hooked up to a custom roll cage.
The mill is also outfitted with a custom Flowmaster stainless steel exhaust system with titanium exhaust tips. “This exhaust on this car is particularly cool because of those twin four-inch tubes that dump out of the Flowmaster mufflers,” says Mike. “This car lives in Europe, and because of the way the European license plate is shaped – narrow and long – it really worked well to put it in the tail light panel. If it was an American-style plate, it wouldn’t have worked. This setup kind of gives it that old Triumph look.”
The Valkyrja Camaro originally debuted at SEMA back in 2019, where it won the Battle of the Builders, SEMA’s Car of the Year award, and a Good Guys Gold award among numerous other honors before it was shipped off to its new owner in Belgium. “Honestly, we were a little embarrassed,” Mike says. “There were 8000 cars there, and it’s hard to believe that one car can get that much attention. But we just felt really honored that people liked it.”
The stainless steel Flowmaster exhaust system feeds into a pair of four-inch titanium exhaust pipes that exit through a cutout in the rear bumper. The Ring brothers tell us that it’s a design feature which was made possible by the shape of the European license plate that the Camaro wears in its new home country of Belgium.
While the Valkyrja Camaro is a very unique machine, Mike tells us it may soon have a sibling. “We’ve got the ability to pull one more set of parts out of our molds. The molds were really only designed to pull one part out of them, but we got two, so we’re actually building another car similar to this one. The next one won’t be quite as cut up, but it’s all the same body panels and a lot of the same parts, and this time around we’re really going to follow more of the original style. For instance, we’re going to build wheels that look the original Rallye wheel but also, you know, don’t look like original Rallye wheels.”
Meanwhile, the team has a roster of killer projects in the hopper that include a Hellaphant-powered ’69 Charger, a 1,200 horsepower ’72 K5 Blazer, and a build which the brothers describe as the lovechild of a ’48 Chevy pickup and a Formula One car. “We’re going to have several cars at SEMA this year, including that one,” Mike says of the motorsport-infused truck. “It’s the most ambitious project that we’ve ever taken on.”
The Camaro is underpinned by a Detroit Speed chassis that’s outfitted with QA1 MOD Series coilovers and Baer six-piston calipers at all four corners, so goes just as well as it shows.