We'll openly admit that not every SEMA build is our cup of tea. But this? A tastefully resto-modded 1968 Mercury Cougar with a 460-horsepower Ford Mustang V8? Yeah, this is right in our wheelhouse. Sadly, there was no in-pwerson SEMA show in 2020, so we missed out on gems like this one. SEMA or no SEMA, the aftermarket carries on, and co-owners Jim and Mike Ring of Ringbrothers (get it?) saw no reason to let their time and effort go to waste.
When they're not building wild customs (see: 1,100-horsepower 1972 AMC Javelin AMX) or more subtle showcases (such as this Cougar or their 1971 K5 Chevy Blazer build from 2018), the folks at Ringbrothers crank out factory reproduction parts, whether for old-fashioned restoration or modification purposes. While '60s muscle cars are recurring build subjects for the two, the Cougar was the first of its kind they tackled.
Keeping it in the family, Ringbrothers sourced a Ford 5.0-liter "Coyote" V8 and a 10-Speed Automatic (lifted from an F-150 Raptor, incidentally) for the build. They didn't stop with the driveline, 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 each car we build, and this Cougar is no exception," Jim said. "The finished product is mild and classy, yet any enthusiast instantly knows it's not stock. I imagine this is what Mercury designers would have come up with if they were building the Cougar today."
"While we couldn't bring the car to the SEMA Show, we hope it can be shown to the public soon," Mike said. "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's plenty to appreciate about this Cougar apart from the mechanicals, too. The finish is Augusta Green Metallic (courtesy of BASF), which was a factory color in 1968. You may know it by another name: Highland Green. There are a few custom exterior touches, but they're quite subtle and styled to be period-correct. The interior was also restored and updated, and it's where you'll find the only thing we're not fond of: that big, fat truck shifter. Gearbox choices notwithstanding, it's a bit of an eyesore. But considering how gorgeous the rest is, we'll give it a pass.