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Image courtesy: Kenny Lam

b500 magazine


ROCS Motorsports / Studio RG Art

Artist, designer and custom car builder, Rich operates ROCS Motorsports in New Jersey, a custom house founded in 1995 reimagining and personalising vintage Porsche cars. The same space houses Studio RG Art from where his paintings, sculptures and reimagined watches are generated.

Let’s talk about the unknown for a minute, not the obscure kind that has you open mouthed pondering the night sky, we’ll leave that for another day. I’m talking a simpler kind of unknown, like a commissioned project with nearly zero direction! As you get to know me you will realize I love just this sort of “painful” existence, after all a proper challenge is always a daringly fun affair is it not?

Zip, zip, click-click, snick-snick, northern CA, backwoods twisty turns, no race car, fast like a race car, canyon carver, mom can drive, lots of character, East coast industrial, different. I’m busy, make it my car but your own that you would build for you but for me, you know what to do, it will be your calling card. These were essentially the initial set of instructions given by my (now brother from another mother) new client Anil Sethi.

If ever there was a set of trouser soiling orders, well these were them! You see, up until this point I had experienced some level of build creativity freedom but it was generally attached to a cool idea the client just couldn’t resist, color combos, interiors, etc. but within certain parameters. This however, while a collaboration, was a VERY different experience, it was more of a race inspired ART project, right up my alley too. I must admit I was a bit self-restrained at first but as discussions progressed and the build began, it became a very symbiotic process, a match made between an astute esoteric enthusiast who had already owned just about every car he liked and an obsessively imaginative yours truly. You could say it was a universal alignment and a match mediated by a vehicle which in this case was an actual vehicle, a restomod 911 unlike any other before seen.

As we searched for just the right donor Anil said, the right car will find us and it sure did, actually two cars found us to be more precise, a rust-free, no sunroof 1977 911 that came to us in baggies from good old LA and a monster of a race car which would land on our lap from the Midwest. The former would go on to live a prominent rebirth as the ROCS Panamericana while the later would donate its various organs to this life changing cause, but don’t feel sad about the race car, it has a happy ending too!

What is the ROCS Panamericana then? Well, imagine seeing a race car, retired from the race track in the late 60s and lovingly preserved in an airplane hangar for decades. Imagine a tribute to one of the world’s most gruelling races through Mexico and the pilots that dared it, an era when bravado was genuine. Imagine the meshing sounds of mechanical components unabated through sheet metal. Imagine the scents of raw materials, rubber, metal and leather, the sound of doors closing echoing a short metallic sound in a chamber built for speed. Imagine six 46mm throttles wide open around a high speed turn tamed by the modulating of the accelerator pedal. Imagine wiping down unpretentious paint replete with battle scars and hand painted motifs, white knuckled hands grasping around the beautifully aged Italian leather.

You’ve figured it out, the Panamericana is a time machine that will allow you to relish in the past but more importantly will also remind you to live in the now… As for myself, the Panamericana allowed me to reach deep within and reaffirm that we each have a purpose in life and we need to listen and pay attention... the biggest things come from the simplest acts. For more on the Panamericana & YouTube video please visit www.ROCSAUTO.com Oh and for the race car? It now lives in Southern CA and being restored to its original racing glory as originally built in the early 1970s.

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