It was a muscle car, yet not your traditional one. It was an anniversary, but not your everyday one.
Ringbrothers said, “For our 90th anniversary, we wanted to do something special. We wanted to build a car, so we approached the two guys that have been defying the norm their entire careers”. That is the basic back-story according to Prestone about why they approached custom car builders, Jim and Mike Ring of Ringbrothers, based in Spring Green, Wisconsin. And the Rings had just the car for Prestone: a 1972 AMC Javelin Defiant.
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Wait…build a custom Javelin? Well, why not!
“We have always loved the Javelins and we bought a clean car and hoped to someday pitch someone on building it,” said Mike. But Prestone told the Rings they wanted to build a Camaro or a Mustang. “We told them, you have to separate yourself from the crowd and nobody had done a Javelin as yet”. And when you say “Javelin”, they are going to immediately think of this car” he continued. “And I think it worked for Prestone because they wanted to get the point across that their products work in many different brands”.
The AMX had not been a family car, but it was close enough. The Rings lived in a small community of approximately 688 people. So when the car arrived in town brand-new, it became recognizable from the get-go. Mike grew up working on the Javelin at his father’s gas station. Changing the oil, and also washing it every Saturday morning. So, when the owner asked during a fish fry, “Hey, do you want to buy my car?” it was an easy “Yep!”
“Defiant” as Prestone named the car, became the “wildest” car the Rings had built to date. This is due to its unique combination of a powerful engine and custom carbon fibre body, a high-tech building process and a super-tight deadline. It had to be completed in just 12 months for the 2017 SEMA Show. “It was pretty crazy for as much work as we had to do,” said Mike. What took the longest? “Everything – the fabrication, the bodywork, the paintwork, the machining…plus it was their very first time ever designing and engineering a car with computer-aided design (CAD). Which meant scanning the entire Javelin before the tear-down, and also dealing with math and moulds.
This process switched from familiar manual labour to building pieces “in air and space”. They used Solidworks digital design tools to render the car’s new panels, which were then produced in their machine shop and carbon fibre facility. “It was a wholly different way from how we had done cars before,” said Jim. “No doubt, old school is a lot safer. Because, with all of the time you put into the design and concept on renderings on the computer, you still don’t know in the end how it is going to look. You can guess, but we are crossing our fingers that as the car was being put together, we hoped that proportionally it was correct”.
The Javelin saw major wheelbase modifications. The wheels were moved forward six and a half inches (the Rings did not like the amount of overhang), and the wheel arches were moved forward and re-created in carbon fibre to pair with a new hood, and front fenders and grille. Other custom details included taillights, bumpers, trim and engine-bay accessories, which were all machined out of blocks of aluminium at the Ringbrothers facility. The car also sports a Detroit Speed Hydroformed front subframe and Detroit Speed rack-and-pinion steering, front sway bars and RideTech shocks.
The Chevy 12-bolt rear end utilizes a custom four-link suspension built by the Rings. Under the hood, they bolted in a Wegner Motorsports 6.2 litre Hemi Mopar Hellcat engine, with motivation coming from a Whipple 4.5 litre supercharger (for a whopping 1,036 horsepower). The engine is mated to a Bowler automatic transmission, which is coupled to a QA1 carbon-fibre driveshaft. The distinct sound is thanks to stainless steel Flowmaster headers and exhaust.
Other enhancements are via a Dodge Hellcat radiator and fan assembly (no surprise; it features Prestone antifreeze), Holley Dominator fuel management system and wiring harness from Painless Wiring. HRE Performance wheels sized at 20×11” in the front and 20×13” in the rear, all wrapped in Michelin tyres sized 285/30/20 up front and 335/30/20 out back. Serious power needs serious stopping, which is handled by six-piston calibre Baer brakes.
The interior gained a Kicker sound system, Classic Instruments gauges, a Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum Evap Kit and custom seats by Upholstery Unlimited. Once the car was put together, the Rings had some concerns, as any perfectionists would. They chose to blackout the middle of the Javelin’s hood to make it appear lower from having a supercharger installed. They also thought the car still sat too high. The solution was to add custom lower valences with diffusers. The Rings like to get creative with colour schemes on each of their projects, and they certainly knew how to gain wows with the appearance: BASF Glasuirt “Jalop Gold” paint.
“People have restored Javelins and put nice wheels on and nice paint,” Jim said. “But as far as a restomod, we have never seen one that was taken to the extreme like this car was. Even though we changed it, it is still recognizable as a Javelin”.