I recently had the opportunity to chat with longtime automotive enthusiast and NASCAR television personality Rutledge Wood. I always enjoy interviewing like minded folks with the same way of thinking when it comes to cars and the like. We talked industry trends, his tenure with Top Gear, and his RWB 911. I’ll touch on the career highlights with BBC of America and NASCAR, but really want to spotlight his gorgeous, green, air-cooled work of art.
Most of you will recognize Rutledge from Top Gear America where he bumped shoulders with Tanner Foust and Adam Ferrara, but after a six season run he transitioned to the analytical side of NASCAR full time. It just so happens that not only are Rutledge and myself big time P car enthusiasts, but the Fatlace brand and RWB are practically synonymous. After a few phone calls between Rut, Akira Nakai, and the big wigs at Continental Tire, this 1986 Carrera 2 began to take shape.
Rut picked up a relatively clean ’86 to start with and wanted to create his childhood dream car that most of us never get to build outside of our nightly REM cycle. Once Rutledge and Continental Tire figured out exactly what direction they wanted to steer their SEMA project (no pun intended) they contacted Nakai and got him on a plane. The 911’s hips and shoulders were hacked and ready to fit with it’s new clothing. Massive flares adorn the classic sports car and unlike other RWB’s, this particular build was kept on the relatively conservative side.
The bodywork actually looks right at home and pays homage to late 70’s to mid 80’s GT style. While the exterior is considerably tame in comparison to other examples, this build turns the tables once you pop the bonnet. There were alot of Porsche purist’s feathers ruffled when the OEM 3.2 flat six was yanked in favor of a Chevrolet LS powerplant. The traditional mechanical rasp and clatter was ditched for the snarling growl of an American push-rod V8 and regardless of what die-hard Porsche folks think, the motor and owner’s personality go hand in hand.
Once the bite matched the 911’s bark in terms of form and function Rut’s crew began sorting the interior bits.
The plaid upholstered Recaro buckets look down right factory in the cockpit and the matching door cards compliment the interior theme quite well.
Overall Rutledge’s Porsche is the perfect blend of period correct and aggressive Porsche styling with the artistic twist that Akira Nakai puts into every RWB that he creates. Rut drives the car semi frequently as any 911 should be and aside from tinkering with alternative wheel choices he will not be altering the car whatsoever. He had a goal and a dream. With a little help from some close friends in the industry he was able to build the car that he had only dremt about as a kid. Hard work pays off and this 1986 Carrera is a testament to that. Catch Rut calling a Sunday Cup race or hooning in one of his many unicorn cars and stay tuned for what the Bearded Lady has in store next. We’ll be waiting.