Ferrari owners have always taunted Porsches to be uninspiring. As subjective as the matter may sounds, Porsche aficionados have been coming up with their own ways to hit the Italians back. The latest wave in the Porsche tuner world is Rauh-Welt Begriff, better known as RWB, who is a Porsche car tuner originating from Japan. But unlike other tuners who employ an army of mechanics, all the work is done at RBW is by just one man. His name is Akira Nakai. He has been literally running this one man show since the time he founded the RWB tuning shop in Japan.
Akira San never had the Porsche bedroom poster syndrome, as a matter of fact, he started out as a member of the Rough World Drift Crew, where Akira San would modify and drift the Toyota Corolla AE86. It was one fateful day in the late 90s when Akira Nakai got taste of a Porsche 911 that arrived damaged into his workshop. Immediately, he was mesmerised with engineering and design of the German air-cooled flat-six engine.
Since then, he has been totally and perpetually blown away by the character of the 911’s engine, but felt the exterior of the car wasn’t living up to the character of its brilliant heart. This surfaced the question, “What If”? and the artist in him took shape.
He soon picked himself up a 930 (1975 – 1989 Air-cooled, 3.0-litre 911 Turbo) when he was 28, and set about creating his own custom Porsche. This is how the first RWB Custom Porsche was born, affectionately named as “Stella Artois”, after Akira San’s favourite beer. Since then, all RWB builds have been given personal names by Akira San as a reflection of the owner’s taste. My personal favourite RWB has to be the green 993 Porsche from Canada which was named “RWB Super Mushashi”.
The words “Rauh-Welt Begriff” roughly stands for “Rough World Concept”, a homage to Akira Nakai’s early drifting roots as a member of Rough World Drift Crew. While some might see the riveted bodywork of RWB as imperfect, there is a certain character that’s born with the transformation which gives the car a soul.
RWB builds focus heavily on re-working the front and rear bumpers, fenders and the side skirts, and sometimes even the rear wing. Akira holds true to his philosophy of building his custom Porsches’ to match the car with the owner’s character. For doing so, he holds an extensive interview with the customer to understand their likes and dislikes, while also understanding their driving style and usage of the car (road or track use). Customers, then choosing from the fender options from “Wide” to “Narrow”. The rear wing options can comprise of choosing from “Multi-Level Monster” to “Poised Ducktail”. RWB also offer their own custom suspension kits, wheels and a few aero bits like the canards and the fender wings.
The build process starts off with the shipping of the body kit to the client’s location (if the build is outside Japan), then fixing up an appointment of a few days with Akira San, wherein he would travel to the customer’s location, interview him, hand trim the kit and install the it on the car. Installation of the kit could take anywhere between 2 to 5 days.
Akira Nakai has possibly the most hardcore of work ethics. He arrives at the build location straight from the airport with his handtools and get started with the job. Terms like jetlag and sleep deprivation do not exist in his dictionary. Rightfully so, the man himself admits that he does the RWB builds for himself and no one else, the aspect of working on the car gives him immense satisfaction as he sees it take shape as a reflection of the owner’s character, the business is just an added benefit.
It’s a testimonial to the incredible passion that runs through Akira San’s veins and is evident in every RWB Porsches. Like the RWB Porsches which run on high octane fuel, Akira San runs on cigarettes and the occasional Beer. Just as with the beginning of every RWB build, Akira San runs his hands over the panels of the car’s body, almost as if communicating to soul the car and taking its input on the build, he moves over to about 5 to 10 meters away from the car and lights up his cigarette as he intently looks over at the car, the design takes shape in his mind as the clouds of smoke rise.
The RWB build requires considerable bit of trimming of the panels of the car to have a seamless finish of the kit with the body, Akira san takes out his hand cutter and goes about cutting away the panels by freehand, and you begin to question the accuracy of his trimming taking into account his lack of sleep, only to be blown away by the precision of his work and wondering how passion can be the perfect remedy for so many shortcomings.
RWB in Los Angeles with a Porsche 993
RWB Porsche Tokyo Meet
Team RWB stay true to Akira San’s roots in racing and the proud RWB Porsche owners can be seen assembling for RWB-only track events in Japan on circuits such as Tsukuba. Though Akira San builds the RWB kits for the way they look on the car, many customers have been using their RWB Porsches as track day tools and have been proven to enhance the capabilities of the car with the wider tyres offering faster cornering and the aero bits adding to the car’s road-hugging capability at high speeds. It is no secret that the appeal of the air cooled Porsches are skyrocketing by the day only to be beaten by the prices they command.
As all popular magazines and collectors would tell you to hide away your air cooled Porsche, and preserve its mileage, RWB and Akira Nakai beg to differ and believe that the cars are meant to be enjoyed and not looked at as a means of investment alone and the aspect of enjoyment is heightened by making the car’s character a reflection of your own as you travel along the roads of life in perfect harmony.