An R Gruppe Founding Member And His 30 Year Love Affair With His 911
Photography by Ted Gushue
I first came across Rolly’s longhood at this year’s Luftgekuhlt 3. It ticks just about every box you could hope to tick on a build like this. Understated performance parts, mismatched yet somehow coordinating panel work, fiberglass wherever possible, plastic R windows. It also had the look of a machine that’s been enjoyed for ages and ages. I snapped a photo of it and shared it in our original article and then moved on with my day.
A few weeks ago my inbox lit up with an email from a guy by the name of Rolly Resos asking if I wouldn’t mind forwarding the photo of his car over. I offered him one better, and we arranged a shoot the other day in Malibu. That was just the tip of the iceberg.
Ted Gushue: Rolly, tell me the story about how this ’66 911 entered your life and how you ended up being one of the founding members of R Gruppe.
Rolly Resos: Well, I was at a car lot called European Collectibles waiting for one of the owners to get off the phone. I had noticed the shape of the factory roll bar and some other stuff on one of the cars at the back of the lot so I went back to look at it. It had these earlier car seats in it, the factory roll bar, a dead pedal in it, and when I checked under the hood and it had the factory 100 liter fuel tank in it. I told them that I had a customer that would maybe like to buy the car. But because it was in the back of their lot, I wondered whether it ran. They said it did but they said they’d let me test it.
The next day I went to their shop and saw that they were pulling the seats out of the car. I told them that my customer wouldn’t buy the car if it was stripped, so they said that they’d put everything back in. But seeing as I still hadn’t driven the thing I would have to come back the next day when they’d put the seats back in. But the next day when I came back they’d put it on a dolly. Because the car wasn’t licensed they’d have to deliver it to my shop because if I was stopped the car would’ve been towed.
I agreed and they dropped the car off at my shop. But the car wouldn’t run. The battery was toast, it was dry. One of the carburetors had a couple of jets missing in it and a couple of other things. But I knew that is was a good car, maybe even a special car, so I bought it. That’s its history. After that I hung a lot of the R stuff on it, the fenders and hood and such.
TG: Were you able to do any research about why the car had a factory roll bar?
RR: You know, I tried to find out information on the car. I knew a lot of the people who had connections with the factory, but we were never able to come up with any of its history. Randy Wells did a article on the car for Excellence Magazine and there was some writing under the light switch. He had taken some shots of the interior of the car which were in the magazine. He said that it had some German writing under the light switch, but that somebody wrote into Excellence about a month later saying that it wasn’t German, it was Dutch or Flemish. It meant the same thing, light switch, but it was not in German. I think this car was possibly raced or rallied in Northern Belgium or Holland. There again, we can’t find a history on the car.
TG: What did you add to it in terms of R stuff?
RR: I put the fenders on it, the hood, and the R lights on it. It had the Marchal headlights on it. When I mounted the Oscars on the steel fenders, I drilled right through the bondoed up holes for the driving lights. It must have had those on the steel fenders at one time, but I haven’t changed much on the car. I put an R muffler on it, and the American mags on it. But when I bought it, it had deep sixes on it and it had long studs all the way around. The rear fenders are slightly flared. When I bought it on the steel bumpers, the notch for the tailpipe on the driver’s side rear bumper was filled, so it either had a sport muffler or an arm upper on it originally.
TG: You’re one of the founding members of R Gruppe. How did that start?
RR: I met Chris Huergas at the Quail, in the late ’90s and we just happened to bump into each other and started talking about our interest in the early 911s and what we would like to do to them, the sport purpose type of stuff, and it took off from there. Chris and Freeman organized the R Gruppe and one thing lead to another and I became one of the founding members of the R Gruppe.
TG: The R Gruppe has sort of almost mythological status within the Porsche community to a degree. It’s kind of mysterious. No one’s sure where it came from, or why it was there. Do you find that when people see the R Gruppe sticker they treat you a little bit differently?
RR: No, not really. I don’t think that’s a big deal. It’s just that it identifies the car as an R Gruppe car, and basically it’s the people that associate with that type of stuff that’s a fun deal.
TG: What was your background before you started driving Porsches?
RR: I was an art student. I graduated from Pasadena City College with an art degree. Then I went to Art Center for two years and then I finally got a degree from Chouinard Art Institute and went to work for Rockwell in their art department. I wound up a manager of their graphics department for their autonetics division of Rockwell. Then I quit Rockwell and with another one of the guys opened up our own art business. That’s my background. I’ve been in the art industry all my life.
TG: Very cool. That’s definitely inspired a lot of visual cues you’ve given this car.
RR: I just hung up all this stuff on the car and it worked! It’s been a really fun project over these many years.