The Ringbrothers latest Camaro creation, this customized 1969 model, dubbed G-Code, elicits responses like no other car we've featured in recent memory. For example, in the short afternoon we spent riding around Southern California we saw several thumbs-up from fellow motorists, were gawked at while at a filling station, and were, completely unsolicited, informed the effect the car had on a passerby's state of arousal. We were also joined in admiring the Camaro's bodywork by members of the local constabulary; complete with firearms drawn. Granted, the later event didn't have anything to do with the Camaro in particular, but the patrolmen did seem impressed.
Mike and Jim Ring's shop, Ringbrothers, is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and builds several high-profile and high-quality custom muscle cars each year while producing their own line of custom parts. Looking at their recent creations, fellow Wisconsinite Don Atkinson knew he'd found the right shop to build his ideal vision of a 1969 Camaro. Of all recent Ringbrothers builds, the G-Code Camaro is the best example of fully customizing every aspect and panel of the car without losing any of the character and identity that comes with such an iconic design, exactly what Atkinson was looking for. Speaking of the difficulty that entails, Jim Ring noted another iconic one-year-only body style, "How do you improve on the beauty of these cars? They're like a '32 Ford."
From nose to tail, every part and panel you see on G-Code is custom and the methods used to design and modify the sheetmetal was every bit the same as altering a classic hot rod: panels were subtly reworked, highlights were accentuated, and the blemishes necessitated by mass production were smoothed away. The most obvious change is the grille. Rather than pivoting open like a factory RS grille as you'd expect, lights shine through what at first appear to be opaque covers. They provide plenty of light on their own to serve as driving lights, but so do the running lights mounted low in the valance. They serve double duty, as amber LEDs in the center are the blinkers.
So many small modifications were made on G-Code that we couldn't pick up on all of them immediately. After studying the front fenders we noticed that the '69 Camaro's signature bodyline that extends from the top of the wheel openings is extended, now reaching farther forward and also including a noticeable horizontal component that highlights the fender's transition as it turns under. At the cowl, the fenders reach farther back and the windshield is flush mounted, removing all the clutter of stainless trim. At the leading edge of the fenders, the cut line was moved so that they each reach in past the now-rounded hood cut line and instead line up with the edges of a carbon fiber hood insert. Another unique touch, the insert allows for different center sections to be interchanged without removing the hood and without upsetting the panel gaps. In the outer edges of the hood, in the painted surface, is a one-inch bump that subtly adds more under-hood clearance without relying on a tall cowl. Instead, a two-inch cowl allows clearance for the supercharged engine below. Matching the chin spoiler and leading from the fender to the quarter panel is a carbon fiber rocker panel that also forms the forward edge of the rear wheel opening. The quarterpanel is stepped in so that the kick up in the carbon fiber rocker completes the lip of the wheel opening. The characteristic quarterpanel gills are carried into the carbon fiber, but reversed to curve in the opposite direction.
When we asked Jim and Mike Ring how the warm caramel interior came to be, they answered, "These cars morph." It wasn't entirely planned, so when the color swatches came out there was room to play. When the right palette was selected, Upholstery Unlimited covered the seats, center console, and door panels in leather with honeycomb perforated accents. The dash, while all new, is very much 1969 Camaro and is topped with black leather to match the tops of the doors and seats. Vintage Air climate controls are located just ahead of the shifter and below the Kenwood Excelon head unit. Classic Instruments gauges were mounted in custom bezels cut from billet aluminum, as was the steering wheel, which required nearly 300 hours of CNC machining.
Bound for highways and back roads, with no grand racing plans in sight, G-Code doesn't really need a tremendous powerplant. It got one anyway. A 416ci Wegner Automotive LS3 fitted with a dry sump oiling system and a burly Whipple supercharger is more than capable of propelling the Camaro through the streets. While hard, full-throttle shifts might be rare, the car still had to be built to survive, so Ringbrothers selected a Tremec T-56 six-speed prepped by Mark Bowler. It uses a Centerforce clutch and a QA1 driveshaft to send power to a 9-inch rear axle suspended by a Detroit Speed Quadralink. Serious wheeltubs were required to tuck 20x13-inch HRE wheels with 335/30ZR20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires into the quarterpanels. The front uses a Detroit Speed hydroformed front subframe to mount 19x10-inch HREs with 275/35ZR20 Michelins. All four corners wear Afco shocks and use six-piston Baer brakes with 15-inch rotors in front, 14-inches in the rear.
After the typical SEMA rush to complete the car, the Ringbrothers had little time to dial it in before it was rushed off to Las Vegas for its SEMA Show debut and then it made the rounds in Southern California. Still, it held up to the heavy right foot of Jay Leno before we got to experience it. The engine's initial tune put 952.8hp to the crank but when we got our ride, it was sporting a bit more boost and delivered it almost immediately off idle. Even the horsepower hungry Rings agreed that it was just a bit twitchy. Now that it's finally ready to be enjoyed by Atkinson, it is back to Wisconsin and back to "only" 950hp.
What does G-Code mean?
G-Codes are inputs for CNC machining, instructing the machine which direction to move and for how long, for example. Don Atkinson, the car's owner, is a machinist, and considering how much CNC machining he's done and how much programming went into building the car's bespoke parts, it was a fitting name.