‘Patriarc’ Showcases the Past & Future of Car Culture

Ringbrothers latest Mustang proves craftsmanship will never go out style, and foreshadows the hobby’s next frontier.

Wisconsin’s Ringbrothers are unequivocal masters of the restomod. So it’s no surprise that their latest creation, a Mach 1 dubbed Patriarc, made a huge splash at SEMA this week. With 5,000 hours invested in the build, the attention to detail is predictably stunning, and this reimagined Mustang is sure to prove inspirational for legions of enthusiasts around the globe.

As a nine-time SEMA attendee, I’ve seen a lot of killer restomods, and I’m convinced that these modern takes on classic iron are the future of the automotive hobby.

Because while performance cars get crazier by the moment, all the advancements which make them so reliable, quick, and nimble also make them harder — if not impossible —  customize. For proof, look no further than the encrypted ECU of the 650 Mustang.

That said? It’s worth noting that the modern 5.2-liter V8 under the hood of Patriarc is the least impressive thing about it. Anyone with enough scratch can order one from Ford Performance, and suddenly have 580 horsepower on tap.

But, if virtuosos like the Ringbrothers have taught us anything, it’s that craftmanship and imagination will never go out of style.

Personally, I happen to love the sound a big V8, but I think restomods are the future of hot rodding; precisely because of how malleable the concept is. The restomod is a blank canvas, where nothing is off limits, and where any ideas about “purity” are off the table from the get-go.

Which, I think, paves the way (conceptually at least) to convert classics to electric power (I say this knowing it isn’t the most popular take).

Think about it — Ford and Chevy are already working on packages which would allow builders to drop in an electric motor with the same ease they could a crate engine. Now, for many enthusiasts, that’s heresy. But the surrounding bits of an electric project also allow for infinite customization, and in turn, an ability to show off both craftmanship and creativity.

Modern ICE cars, with all their electronics and sensors, will likely prove too tricky to convert to EVs.

So it’s the classic iron, from the mid ‘90s or so and back, which will be the best candidates to become green machines. For folks in states with strict emissions requirements, like California, such conversions will also allow enthusiasts the possibility to keep their cars on the road without illegal hacks or pesky SMOG checks. And the spirit of personalization and creativity which has define car culture from the very beginning will continue to thrive.