Bad Boy Porsches: R Gruppe Car Club

James Chiang

Resos -- seventy-eight-years young, with the craggy features and bushy white mustache of a Western desperado -- is a member of the Outriders, an elite SoCal hot-rod club that dates back to 1932. So, much to the consternation of Porsche pedants, he proceeded to turn his car into the ultimate 911 rat rod: Rally-style driving lights. Matte-black American Racing aluminum wheels. Fiberglass front fenders in white gel coat. Black fiberglass hood with period Shell and Hella decals framing a center-fill gas cap off a Porsche 904. Red body with plastic 911R door handles. R-style taillights. S-model fuel-injection head (with the fuel-injection ports plugged) on a Weber-carbureted '66 engine of uncertain pedigree. Zuffenhausen by way of El Mirage.

"It's not an R. It's not an RS. It's not an ST," says R Gruppe cofounder Cris Huergas, name-checking three of the rarest and most iconic of early 911s. "It's a car that's an extension of the owner, and it embodies the image and the essence of the sports-purpose Porsche. That's an R Gruppe car."

R Gruppe is arguably the most exclusive, the most polarizing, and the most influential car club in the Porsche universe. A small, invitation-only group dedicated to creatively modified and thoroughly personal versions of "early" 911s -- defined as long-hood cars built before the U.S. bumper regulations enacted in 1974 -- R Gruppe thumbs its nose at convention while offering a rough mechanical and philosophical template for owners looking to pump up the performance of their Porsches. The result is a fleet of sweet, esoteric cars that cherry-pick elements of crazy-expensive limited-edition R, ST, RS, and RSR models -- a ducktail here, a twin-plug motor there -- to create one-of-a-kind pieces of inspired mongrelization.

"We started with three criteria," says R Gruppe's other cofounder, former Porsche (and current Ford) designer Freeman Thomas. "The first ingredient was sports purpose -- cars that can be driven on the track on weekends and on the street during the week. Second was the SoCal hot-rod thing -- if it looks right, it is right. The third element was the Steve McQueen attitude -- great taste and the cool factor. We're not about screaming. There's a discretion that characterizes an R Gruppe car. It's about delivering more than it promises."

Brian Baston
Hi Two years ago I took possession of a 1976 Carrera Targa 3 litre right hand drive Porsche. I have looked on most sites but cannot ind any thing about how many of these cars are about or how much I should have it insured for, I have just had the engine rebuilt and the body ext is in very good condition not concourse but close. Can any one help me with this please.A lost sole.  Brian
Members of a particular club always think that other clubs aren't as good for whatever reason. The fact is, this group exemplifies what the original men in white coats who built the cars in the 60s would be doing today in their spare time."Driving in its purest form."

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