J. Reuss

J Reuss

J. Reuss

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up in the suburbs of Brookfield and Menomonee Falls.  I caught the car bug early from my father, Rae, who owned a variety of sports cars.  Between 1953 and 1964, Rae owned a Studebaker Hawk, a Siata, 4 Alfa Romeos, 2 Porsches, a Facel Vega Facillia, and a Corvair Spyder.

My first car was a new 1970 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe.  The 903cc, 52 hp “powerhouse” started my addiction to autocross.  After the Fiat, I purchased a new 1971 Ford Pinto ($2,000.00) and then in 1972, a 1964 Morris Cooper S ($1,500.00).  The Mini had been club-raced in SCCA C Sedan.  I later sold the Pinto to my girlfriend and purchased a 1970 BMW 2002 in January of 1973 for $2,495.00.  The BMW wasn’t much for towing, so in February of 1973 I traded it in on a 1971 Pontiac Trans-Am 455 H.O. ($3,595.00 less $2,295 trade-in value of the BMW).  I joined the SCCA that same year, secured an SCCA Novice Permit, and attended my first driver’s school in Grattan Raceway near Grand Rapids, MI.  I towed the Mini from Menomonee Falls, WI, to Grand Rapids, MI, with the Trans-Am.  When I determined that the Trans-Am was not really much of a tow car, in April 1974 I traded it in on a new 1974 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454 ($5,352.70).

At some point in the early 70s, I wasted a significant amount of money (and a 1963(?) Austin Healey 3000 Mark II) swapping out an operable Healey straight six with a 260 Ford V-8 taken from (I believe) a Ford Falcon.  I had the good fortune to sell that car shortly after I got it running and was later advised by the (irate) purchaser that the transplanted motor expired on the way home.

In 1976, I satisfied my “need for speed” with my first (and only) motorcycle, a 1976 Kawasaki 900 LTD.  The 900 LTD was the first production motorcycle with cast alloy spoke wheels.  The “beast” had 81HP and did the 1/4 mile in 12.52 seconds @ 110.29 MPH.  The price was $3,235.00, plus tax. 

I raced and autocrossed the Mini and the Trans-Am until 1977 when I married the future “Team Owner” and moved to Chicago to attend law school.  We sold the Mini, the El Camino, the Kawasaki, Pat’s 1970 Camaro, and purchased a 1977 Pinto ($4,315).  Anticipating a move West following graduation from law school, we traded the Pinto in on a 1981 Ford F250. 

After moving to Montana in 1981, it was a long stretch of driving pickups and Suburbans while raising the Reussracing Team (James, David, and Kaitlin).  Although I did own a 1972 Ford Maverick “Grabber” in the mid-80s that I bought sight-unseen for $300, and sold two years later for $450.

In 2003, I purchased a Corvette Z06 and attended my first Yellowstone Region autocross at Skyview on Labor Day weekend.  As soon as I win the lottery, I intend to purchase a ZR1 Corvette, a Caterham R600 and a Caterham SP/300.R–and a big trailer!