Three generations make auto restoration shop truly a family affair
Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.
DUNNELLON -- Father and son Ron and Brent Bringle were dragged back into the automotive business by a 1969 Mach I Mustang.
“We were operating a construction company when we found a 1969 Mach I Mustang around 2004 on the Internet and bought it through eBay. We took it completely apart and returned it to factory original. It has a 351 Windsor engine and, we painted it the original lime gold color,” said Brent Bringle, 29.
The project inspired Brent and Ron Bringle, 58, to open R&B Auto Restorations & Repair, a family auto repair business which works on all cars but focuses on “resurrecting” older cars.
Although Ron and Brent maintain a carpentry business, automotive work has been a central theme for the Bringle family for three generations.
Don Bringle, 78, Ron’s father and Brent’s grandfather, served as a Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealership service manager in Springfield, Ill., in the 1970s, and Ron Bringle worked as a factory trained ASE certified General Motors mechanic at a Chevrolet dealership before entering the construction business and moving to Ocala in 1979.
Don Bringle still helps out at the shop at times. When a 1954 Buick showed up for repairs, a call went out to the senior Bringle.
“I’ve tried to pass along information, especially about working on the older cars. I do a lot of the electrical wiring for the shop,” Don said.
Ron Bringle said finding parts for the 59-year-old car presented some unique challenges.
“I needed an oil pump for the ’54 Buick, and I saw a television show about a big salvage yard out West called Desert Valley Cars, and I thought I’d look them up and call,” Ron said.
“I ordered the pump and they actually pulled one off a car in the yard and shipped it out here, still covered with oil,” he said.
Two of the seven cars at R&B are customers’ classic rides.
Ocala’s David Stone had engine, transmission and other mechanical work performed and most recently an air-conditioning unit installed on his bronze 1963 Thunderbird.
The car has an original exterior, with some high-performance enhancements to the stock 390 engine.
“The engine has a different four-barrel carb and high-rise intake manifold and modified exhaust,” Ron said.
“Ron paid attention to what I wanted. I’m pleased with the work,” Stone said.
The other customer car is a rare, white 1975 Hurst Olds 442 T-Top still owned by the original buyer.
“We had to send the upholstery to Captain Tom’s Upholstery in Ocala. The seats are a very unusual reversible black and white center style,” Ron said.
The other five cars at the shop are current or future restorations found by Ron and Brent.
“Dad never wants to let anything we store go,” Brent said with a laugh.
Ron is already debating keeping the Road Runner when it is complete.
He pointed out a classic Mustang on a rotisserie lift in the shop.
“This is a 1970 Mustang convertible we found at an old downtown Ocala dealership near First Street. I understand there were about 1,490 of these models made, and this has the factory grabber blue with black interior,” Ron said.
The 1970 Mustang is totally disassembled now.
A 1969 Ford Torino 428 Super Cobra Jet sits outside the shop awaiting its turn for a re-make.
“We found that in a barn in Brooksville where it had been stored since 1978. Roosters were still crowing in it when we offered the man $1,000,” Ron said.
Ron said he expected the restoration to cost about $35,000 and resale would be in the $60,000 to $70,000 range.
Brent said a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner recently shipped to the shop from Texas came in a lot of pieces, including the sought-after “beep-beep” horn, which was sealed up for shipping.
“The car was running and the timing belt was going to be replaced. The owner didn’t make the repairs and ended up putting all the loose parts in baskets,” Brent said.
But not all the searches net a diamond in the rough, Brent explained.
“We went to Gainesville once to look at a vintage 428 Cobra Mustang, which we understood was near a bar. When we got there we found it with a fairly large tree growing right up through the trunk,” Brent.
“The owner wouldn’t let anyone cut the tree or the car so we had to leave it there,” Brent said.