Bad Boy Porsches: R Gruppe Car Club

James Chiang

Ironically, Thomas hadn't been able to afford a Porsche while he was working in Stuttgart. But since returning to the States, he'd bought a 911E and was giving it a Huergas-style makeover. During the course of their first hours-long phone conversation, Thomas and Huergas discovered that they were Porsche soulmates. After meeting at several car shows, they realized that the existing car clubs -- PCA, the Early 911S Registry, and so on -- didn't really fit their hot-rod ethic. So in 1999, they created R Gruppe with twelve charter members. The late Steve McQueen was given membership #001.

The club has no formal entrance requirements. The cars tend to be discreet early 911s modified with period-correct parts, but this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, and there's no shortage of backdated chassis and look-at-me graphics. The club mantra is: "There are no R Gruppe cars. There are R Gruppe people." In other words, Porsche diehards who regularly exercise their cars and attend several events a year. Joining the brotherhood entails a lot of hanging with other members and hoping that -- like a fraternity pledge -- you're judged to be R Gruppe material. As Thomas puts it: "There's just enough structure so that things don't fall apart."

The Treffen, I discover, is a perfect example. The only items on the agenda are a visit to Bruce Canepa's killer shop/showroom/museum and a Saturday night banquet. Other than that, there are informally organized drives, an impromptu visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, casual meals, and, mostly, adult beverages and tire-kicking in the Porsche-only parking lot of the Hyatt in Monterey. On Friday, around midnight, I hear a couple of guys still arguing out there in the dark over whether that's a '67 or a '68 rocker panel.

During daylight hours, I ride shotgun with Chuck Miller, an old-school hot-rodder who's got 212,000 miles on his '73 S with an RS look and engine. Later, I buzz around with Bob Imamura, another SoCal hot-rodder with another fast ducktail coupe, in his case a '70 S with a 3.0-liter engine out of an '81 SC. Next, I buckle into the houndstooth sport seat of Dave Eck's reworked '72 T, whose subdued exterior hides a mind-boggling array of goodies -- twin-plug flat six, RS flares, RSR distributor, 930 Turbo brakes, '86 suspension bits, etc.

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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