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
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”