The R Gruppe, a club for early air-cooled 911 enthusiasts, embodies a long tradition that goes back to old-school 356 owners hopping up their cars. Its 300 passionate members drive their ’69 to ’73 long-hood 911s modified in the spirit of Porsche’s Sports Purpose program of that era. Most of these cars are interesting, some are very good and a few are near perfect. Our featured car happens to be one of the latter.
This 1971 911T was commissioned by Martin Brauns, a well-known West Coast 911 racer and an R Gruppe member. But why is this car—known as Red—so good and not just another RS replica?
“I liked my Spec 911 race car and decided to build a street version,” said Brauns, “and I really like the R Gruppe aesthetic. My goal was to build a car that was as fast as my friend’s ’74 RSR race car, yet comfortable enough that—after driving 300 miles—my wife would still want to come home with me.”
Here’s why Red is such a special car:
Red is magical to drive
I recently got behind the wheel of Red for some hot laps at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Sears Point Raceway and Infineon Raceway) in Northern California. After feeling the car out in the first few corners, I set up for Turn Three A, a blind uphill righthander with a crest just past the apex. Immediately after turning in, I lifted off the power, which made the supple rear suspension unload and rotate faster than the front.