In­side the Rough­neck Brigade

They’re quite pos­si­bly the most com­pelling Porsche col­lec­tive on the planet right now, but what do we know of the Rough­neck Brigade? To­tal 911 spends an evening with the self-styled flat six mis­fits

Total 911 - - Roughneck Brigade - Pho­tog­ra­phy by Rich Pearce

Stock­holm, Swe­den. We’re in a leafy sub­ur­ban street, parked cars lin­ing ei­ther side of the road in front of quiet town­houses. There are all man­ner of cars kerb­side: fam­ily SUVS, small hatch­backs, beat-up sa­loons, all bear­ing the scars of city traf­fic. Dot­ted among them, though, are three air-cooled Porsche 911s, the sim­ple, el­e­gant curves of Butzi’s cre­ation con­trast­ing beau­ti­fully against the jut­ting lines of mod­ern pressed metal.

What’s im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous though is that th­ese three 911s aren’t fac­tory spec. A black-on-black 1987 3.2 Car­rera with black Fuchs, its chas­sis hug­ging the floor, sits op­po­site a 911 SC with a Ruf-style front bumper and colour-con­trast­ing hood and deck­lid. Around three cars down, a Mid­night blue 993 with what we’d soon find out is a Cup engine sits pa­tiently, await­ing its next hoon. The three cars are all clearly dif­fer­ent in their style, but a bronze skull cog badge proudly af­fixed to each deck­lid hints at some­thing a lit­tle more co­or­di­nated. Th­ese are some of the cars of the Rough­neck Brigade, and we’re in town to join them for a ge­lato and an evening drive.

The man re­spon­si­ble for the Rough­neck Brigade’s very con­cep­tion is David Campo. Sport­ing long hair, ca­sual cloth­ing and plenty of tat­toos, there’s a def­i­nite Cal­i­for­nian vibe to David’s per­sona – even his ac­cent sounds more like it’d be more at home on the beaches of Socal than the sprawl­ing ar­chi­pel­ago of what he col­lo­qui­ally calls ‘Stock­town’. A Nordic Mag­nus Walker, per­haps?

Def­i­nitely not. Whereas the Ur­ban Out­law is happy to em­brace the lime­light, Campo is more of an in­tro­vert. Meet­ing us down on the street, he shows us around to his stu­dios where fel­low Bri­gadiers Daniel Sved­berg, Pa­trick Se­lestam and Ja­cob An­der­s­son, own­ers of the cars out­side, are wait­ing. They’re a jovial bunch, clearly pleased to en­gage with us and talk Porsche. Many top­ics are cov­ered, in­clud­ing the his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance of the Swedish ter­ri­tory to Porsche, and val­ues of air-cooled cars, be­fore I ask what Rough­neck Brigade is all about. True to form, Campo is happy for his com­rades to do the talk­ing. “It de­fines a group of Porsche en­thu­si­asts who like to hang out and en­joy their cars. We don’t care about val­ues; we like to re­ally drive our cars and share th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences with like-minded peo­ple,” Pa­trick beams. So where did this all start?

“The whole thing hap­pened pretty organically,” David says as we take a look around his stu­dios, cur­rently home to a quin­tet of air-cooled 911 projects in­clud­ing a freshly im­ported 1969 E from the US, and a gor­geous 912/6R resto­mod build. “I de­signed this badge for my­self back in 2011 and stuck it on my car. Pretty soon a few friends were ask­ing where I got it from and if they could have one for their Porsche,

so I had more man­u­fac­tured, and just like that, the Brigade was born,” he says.

Of­fi­cially founded in 2014, Rough­neck’s vi­brant In­sta­gram page alone boasts more than ten thou­sand fol­low­ers. How­ever, mem­ber­ship to the Brigade is by in­vi­ta­tion only, though any no­tions that this is an in­wards-look­ing, cliquey group are wide of the mark. “The only real stip­u­la­tion is that you have to own an air-cooled 911, and that’s purely be­cause that’s the core pas­sion of our group,” says Daniel, who’s Bri­gadier num­ber 39. I’ll ad­mit, as an owner of a wa­ter-cooled Ne­unelfer, that ba­sic cri­te­ria comes as a bit of a blow. So en­thu­si­as­tic is the group about Porsche, not to men­tion so gen­uinely po­lite and wel­com­ing, it’s all be­come to­tally in­fec­tious. Very quickly I find my­self yearn­ing to be a part of it all.

Rough­neck has grown sub­stan­tially in the years since, with more than 70 mem­bers now dot­ted all over the globe. There are now chap­ters of the Brigade in nine dif­fer­ent coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US and UK (of which To­tal 911’s own Gina Pur­cell is a mem­ber), where mem­bers ar­range to meet up for more lo­calised Porsche so­cial­is­ing.

After a wan­der down the road to grab a lo­cally made ge­lato, we de­cide to head out for a city drive; David un­earths his out­law-style 911 SC, com­plete with duck­tail, twin stripes and beau­ti­fully off­set Cam­pag­nolo wheels. Drives are of course a big part of the Brigade, spear­headed by an an­nual trip away, this year dubbed the ‘Too Cool To Cruise’ week­ender to Aarhus, Den­mark. Bri­gadiers from all over Europe were in at­ten­dance, though the Stock­holm chap­ter reg­u­larly meets for mid­night runs and Tun­nel Raiders events in as­so­ci­a­tion with Nezumi Stu­dios, an au­to­mo­tive lifestyle brand based here in Stock­holm, of which David is also founder of.

We fire up the flat sixes and head out into the city, its jun­gle of ring roads and tun­nels pro­vid­ing an apt play­ground for the Bri­gadiers and their 911s. Free of the evening traf­fic, much fun is had be­fore we turn off the high­ways and pull into the quiet lo­ca­tion of our pho­to­shoot.

It is at this point you’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing what the magic in­gre­di­ent to the Rough­neck Brigade is. What’s so unique about this group who dub them­selves the flat six mis­fits?

You might be sur­prised to learn there isn’t one. Re­fresh­ingly, it’s the sim­plic­ity of it all that makes the Rough­neck Brigade so suc­cess­ful as a club. There’s no aura of self-entitlement, no pres­ence of snob­bery to­wards oth­ers and not a mod­icum of thought wasted on look­ing at th­ese cars as in­vest­ments.

In­stead, the club’s very fi­bre is merely a bunch of en­thu­si­asts who come to­gether to share their pas­sion for driv­ing air-cooled Porsche 911s. A mil­lion miles away from the flipper-fest sur­round­ing GT

991s, Rough­neck Brigade em­bod­ies the very spirit of Porsche own­er­ship with which we should all strive to ad­here to. It is col­lec­tive in­di­vid­u­al­ism at its finest.

Then, as we leave, comes the crown­ing mo­ment. “As soon as you have an air-cooled 911, you’ll be a Bri­gadier,” David says. I’m stoked. We leave the city lights of Stock­holm be­hind and I’m soon brows­ing air-cooled projects for sale on­line, such is my ex­cite­ment to be a part of this thor­oughly ex­cel­lent col­lec­tive which, only hours pre­vi­ously, I knew very lit­tle about.

“A mil­lion miles away from the flipper-fest sur­round­ing GT 991s, Rough­neck Brigade em­bod­ies the very spirit of Porsche own­er­ship with which we should all strive to ad­here to”

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