The best cure for a Luftgekuhlt-6 hangover was to tear out of LA; heading North up highway 101 and PCH to Monterey, California for the kickoff of the 20th edition of R Gruppe Treffen. I was one of the fortunate few able to experience the back to back weekend of air-cooled excess referred to only as “The Double”. I rolled out of LA Thursday morning, to the mixed percussion of windshield wipers bouncing frantically and rain slamming down hard on everything around me. The rain eventually mellowed as I pulled into Santa Barbara for some top-notch tacos, and a rendezvous with road trip regulars: the father-son duo of Paul and Ed Krammer. We hit some back roads and checked out some “rare air” at a local Porsche collector outside of SB, who was nice enough to let us see behind the curtain at some of his special cars. We arrived in Monterey in time to enjoy some parking lot chatter and dinner downtown. Monterey had almost a small-town feel in the absence of all the traffic and chaos that is the norm during The Pebble Beach Concours. A wonderful meal and evening with rally veterans Randy Wells, Cameron Wayland, and Yale Evelev set the tone for what would be an amazing weekend.
Friday morning started with a visit to Bright Coffee in Monterey, and laid the groundwork for a great day of driving. Hwy 1 south with minimal traffic and endless coastal sights was simply incredible, keeping us on a nice flow all morning. It was a casual drive, and really allowed us to take in the scenic beaches, sheer cliffs, rocky outcroppings, and picturesque views. A few breaks for pictures and conversation, then on to lunch. Our lunch brought great burgers, and a box jump cliff-top challenge. After I nailed it, we continued inland and upward on Nacimiento-Fergusson RD. Twisty, twisty, twisty was the flavor once we turned off HWY 1, and it was great. Ripping back roads for the entire afternoon and rolling through Carmel Valley back into Monterey made for an unforgettable afternoon. Upon arriving back at R Gruppe HQ, we had 122 vehicles in the parking lot; a full on smorgasbord of 911 longhood-love. The parking lot scene stayed active until late, and many plans were laid out for the next morning. Coffee and a back roads cruise was on the docket.
Saturday everyone expected wet weather; the rain showed up early and stayed. We did sneak in a fun early drive, and a great Cars and Coffee event at Laguna Seca raceway based around the weekends Air-Cooled Porsche Cup races. It was a real treat to see some vintage cars bombing down the legendary corkscrew. Saturday evening the wet weather stuck with us, and we enjoyed the closing banquet. R Gruppe co-founder Cris Huergas spoke and had some great stories reflecting on the history and last 20 years. The rain really allowed for some extended conversations this Treffen. I think the California crew may have finally adopted this Carolina character who shows up, drives, and talks with a funny accent (southern charm) as I was fortunate enough to be awarded the prestigious GT badge at this years Treffen. The GT badge is presented to a few cars annually that best represent the R Gruppe.
20 years of R Gruppe Treffen. What started as a counter-culture group of drivers and misfits, grabbing cars that were not in the spotlight, nor of real value at the time, and placing their personal stamp on them—has grown and evolved, and is now represented across both the USA and Europe. The love for driving and putting a personal spin on your early 911 is going strong. Luftgekuhlt and Treffen are a testament of that very fact. So much good energy this weekend. A bit of a younger movement also seems to be in the works, to ensure the continued success and support of the R Gruppe for years to come.