Some of the most beautiful custom designed and performance tuned Porsche 911s came from the same passionate Japanese tuner. So, what is RWB?
Since its debut in 1963, the Porsche 911 has been sat on a pedestal by car collectors and enthusiasts alike. It has become the model the completely encapsulates the idea of Porsche as a brand and a lifestyle. It has unmistakable body lines that even those with little car knowledge could identify it. A luxurious rear-wheel-drive coupe with a flat style engine in the rear and an interior that doesn’t cut corners.
Most Porsche 911 owners, no matter the model year, keep their car hidden away in their garage, keep it in pristine factory condition, and only take it out for a show or a light drive as they don’t want too many miles on it. These owners see their 911 as more of a future investment rather than a machine that was made to drive. Porsche 911s are meant to drive more than a couple of quick miles down to a local Cars & Coffee.
However, there is a group of people out their dedicated to getting more out of the 911 than the factory can even provide. An aesthetic that combines the GT racing series widebody 911s with the Japanese tuner worlds eccentric designs. Porsche fans fall in one of two categories when it comes to the work of Akira Nakai: they either love his RWB Porsche 911s or they hate the desecration that comes from building one. Today we’re taking a look at a world of tuner Porsche 911s that come out of RWB.
RWB stands for RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF which translates to “Rough World Concepts” for us non-German speakers. To make things more confusing, the tuner shop that is known as RWB is based out of Japan. The company’s name comes from a famous drifting club known as “Rough World” that the owner, Akira Nakai, was a part of.
He worked at a body shop that specialized in Porsche work and the fascination with the model grew until he came across a damaged Porsche 930. He purchased the car from the owner and began to modify it into the first RWB Porsche named “Stella Artois”. He translated his drifting club name to German and eventually added the Begriff creating the RWB brand we know today.
RWB is recognized around the world for creating some of the most jaw-dropping, beautiful, and awe-inspiring tuned car designs to ever hit the streets. Their specially crafted cars are a hybrid of European and Japanese tuning with the 911 being the predominant car of choice. This unlikely combination creates a clean looking street beast that will have everyone ogling it as it passes by.
RWB refers to their modified Porsches as “Sekund Entwicklung” or “Zweite Entwicklung” which translates to “Second Development”. You can easily identify one of their cars by their wide fenders, huge JDM tuner inspired rear spoilers, Idlers tires, RWB logos, and many other performance or cosmetic adjustments that make each RWB Porsche one of a kind. That’s right, every single car coming out of RWB is the only one. There’s no mass production with this group, as only about 100 are being made every year and the waiting list is currently up to 2 years. You have to contact RWB USA, RWB Los Angeles, or the Japan headquarters itself if you want your Porsche Akira Nakai-ified.
Before you jump in to the RWB Porsche waiting list, you need a car they can work on. You need to get Porsche 911 for RWB to use as a base. The most common model of 911 they have body kits readily made for is the air-cooled 930, 964, and 993 models. They have done water-cooled Porsches as of late, but the air-cooled will have the fastest turnaround. There are also a very few number of RWB Volkswagen Beetles out there, as they too fit into that rear-engined German car area that Nakai panders to.
Once you have the car, you can move on to choosing the body kit, which will run you about $24,000 right out the gate. The RWB body kit is comprised of the front bumper, rear bumper, a pair of Side rockers, a pair of front wide fenders, a pair of rear wide fenders, the rear spoiler, and a few other small pieces that contribute to the body build. That’s not the end of the build though, that’s just the starting point. From there, you need to add in the wheels, suspension, engine mods, exhaust mods, roll cage, racing seats, and whatever other goodies you want to finalize your build, but you don’t have full control.
Akira Nakai will fly out or have the car shipped to his shop and will take some input from you as the owner, but once you hand over the keys it’s basically hands off until he’s done. Nakai approaches each of his RWB Porsche projects like an art piece. He works through the night and even sleeps in the garage as he builds and conceptualizes your one-of-a-kind vehicle. Once the car is put together and Nakai is pleased with his work, your car receives a name like Nakai’s first Porsche did the iconic “RAUH-Welt” logo is carefully placed across the top of the windshield as the final touch.
All in all, most fully flushed out and finished RWB Porsches can rack up a bill of over $100,000 at the end of the process, and that’s not including the price of the car. It is a hefty amount of money once everything is said and done, but you’ll be ushered into an exclusive club of likeminded enthusiasts and be invited to private RWB events.
Once you get a RWB crafted car from Akira Nakai, that’s the last one you get. No one (except Nakai himself) gets multiple RWB builds from the shop. Everybody gets just one. There are work arounds, like buying an RWB off of another owner, but that car wasn’t made for the buyer, it was made for the seller. Buying someone else’s RWB Porsche 911 is like buying someone else’s name engraved trophy. Sure, you have it, but it isn’t truly yours.
Your one and only RWB project is also your one and only ticket to RWBs special events. The largest and most fun of which, is the Idlers 12-hour race. Idlers is a fake tire company that Nakai adds to all of the tires of the cars he works on. The Idlers 12-hour endurance race is annually held in Japan at Honda’s Twin Ring Moteg. RWB owners from all over the world are invited to bring their one-of-kind Porsche 911s to the race track and race alongside the hundreds of other RWB owners, including Akira Nakai.
Seeing all these custom wide-bodied Porsches alongside each other racing down the straightaways and narrowly passing in the turns is quite the spectacle. The event, the cars, and one-time entrance to the group really drives home the idea that Porsche 911s are meant to be driven, they’re meant to go fast, and they are meant to be seen. The purists out there that have garage kept Porsches that rarely see the light of day shouldn’t disdain what Akira Nakai is doing with 911s, valuing purity over enjoyment does more of a disservice to the idea of a Porsche.