HOT RIDE: Porsche 993 Words Daniel Bevis Photography Mike Kuhn On (Roti)form RWB 993
Planet Girth The wide, wide Porsches of RWB are a global phenomenon. You’ll find them in Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, and now, thanks to the work of Crolls Customs, a bright green 993 has popped up in Pennsylvania. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Philly #1.
RWB 993 Have you seen enough RAUH-Welt Begriff Porkers yet? No, we didn’t think so!
Ben Harmony’s RWB 993 Porsche
The acid-green vision you see before you is the product of passion and heritage, of vintage methods and new-wave thinking. You may be familiar with the cult of the RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB) Porsche. But do you know just how deep the rabbit-hole goes?
The whole trippy merry-go-round is a million miles from simply buying and fitting a bodykit – it involves the synthesis and fusion of sensibilities, a personal commitment in time from Akira Nakai himself (for he is the enigmatic figure behind RWB), and a mind-boggling array of decisions in order to arrive at something unique. RWB cars are rare fruit indeed.
This car, which began life as a 993 Carrera 2, is the proud possession of Ben Harmony, Philadelphia resident and seasoned car modifier. His roots lie in the VW scene, although it’s fair to say that this scene-defining build has really taken the idea of OEM+ to a whole other level. This isn’t just bolting a set of Twists to a Golf. This is a different hustle on another game court.
“My first car was a 2008 Golf R32,” he says. “It was lowered on coils, and I did the exhaust, chip tune and so on. That started the car craze for me! My next project was a 2012 Golf R, which was bagged, stage 2+, and had a full Milltek turbo-back, APE fuel pump, tune, intake, and also HRE 501s and OEM European Recaro seats imported from Germany.” This car was sold to partially fund the RWB build, as well as Ben’s beloved daily – a 2004 Golf R32, which was also bagged, and running Rotiform INDs. “I miss that car a ton,” he laments. But don’t feel too bad for him. Just look where that money went.
Now, there are two key steps to take when you start down the bespoke RWB path: one is that you need to source and prepare the right car, and the other is that Nakai-san needs to interview you, to get inside your way of thinking and see how the car will intertwine with your wants and needs. And after numerous lengthy discussions with the great man, pinpointing every specific element of the details, Ben was ready to take the plunge, having been deemed worthy by the creative puppetmaster who pulls all the strings.
“It all really started about three years ago, when I found the original build videos on YouTube,” Ben recalls. “I began watching them and fell in love with the look of the cars and just Nakai-san’s passion for building. And I knew one day I had to have one!” At this point Ben had a shiny new BMW M3 on order, but he made the call to cancel that and instead refocus his life in an entirely more lairy direction. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he grins.
A suitable donor was soon found advertised on eBay and Rennlist: a straight Cherry Carrera with no accident damage and just 52,000 on the clock. “It was a three-owner car with a good history,” Ben explains. “Not many people would buy a mint car for an RWB build, but I wanted to find the cleanest because my ultimate goal is to have one of the most all-round best built cars. I don’t cut corners – if you’re going to do it, do it right from the start.”
The 993 was located in Kansas City, Missouri, so Ben sent over a PayPal deposit and got himself booked on the next flight out, along with buddy Roman, to collect the car and take it on a road trip back home.
If your knowledge of US geography is a little rusty, a quick route-planner on your favourite online mapping service will reveal that this is a journey of well over 1,100 miles. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he laughs.
And what better way to get to know your car. Before entirely tearing the thing to pieces and starting afresh?
So, what’s it like watching a RAUH-Welt Begriff creation be spirited into existence by the frenzied, nicotine-fuelled Nakai-san? “I’ll be honest, it’s pretty surreal,” says Ben, in masterful understatement.
“The car was getting worked on for over a year getting it ready for Nakai-san’s arrival. It was a long journey of emails, details and planning. These builds take a lot of time and effort, especially when you’re a young kid who runs his own business and goes to school full time, it can be very stressful! I flew out to visit a build a few months prior to mine commencing, to meet some of the RWB guys, and also set my date with Akira Nakai and meet him for the first time – which helped out a lot! When he arrived in Philly we already had that bond and knew each other, which was very cool. But to see it all come together and hang out with Nakai-san at my house and watch him build my car was probably one of the greatest events I’ve ever experienced.”
RWB builds are noted for being a three-day process, but such was the quality of the base car and the fastidiousness of the planning that Ben’s Philly #1 only took two days to build. “It was a weekend of hanging out with my best friends and family, and just watching the project car I worked hard to build finally come to life,” he enthuses. “The best part was just watching my buddies’ eyes light up as Nakai-san worked and put the car together, because they used to joke and say ‘Ben, get real, you’re not building one’. But now it finally happened it just made it that much sweeter.”
As you can probably imagine, this certainly isn’t a car for shrinking violets, and Ben gets a fair amount of attention when he’s out and about. “I do drive the car a decent amount,” he assures us. “I’ll take it to dinner with my girlfriend, drive it to class, or just run errands. People go crazy over the car trying to take pictures while driving, or just stop me to talk about it. I get tagged in so many social media pics! Whenever I drive it I usually end up talking to at least one or two people about the car, and I always take the time to answer questions and let them take photos. People love Nakai-san’s work, and it feels great to be a part of that.”
The nature of extreme modification is not to rest on one’s laurels. Sure, Ben may have had his car converted into something hand-crafted and unique by one of the world’s premier automotive artisans, he may be rocking some obscene wheels and a delectable interior, but there’s something about that standard flat-six that’s niggling him.
“The motor’s still stock, aside from a custom titanium exhaust, which weighs around 5lb compared to 98lb for the stock item,” he says. So what’s the future? “Turbo, turbo, turbo,” he cackles triumphantly. “What I really want to do is swap in a 993 Turbo engine, shoot for about 450bhp – not crazy power, because everything on this car was done for reasons of balance and handling and I don’t want to throw that off.” He says that. But this Porsche’s all about the crazy. Let’s see where the mischief takes him, shall we?
TECH SPEC: 993 CARRERA / #Porsche-911
STYLING Full custom RAUH-Welt Begriff wide-arch bodykit; Porsche Gelb Grün paint by Josh at Crolls Customs.
3.6-litre aircooled flat-six; custom titanium straight-piped exhaust system; manual ’box with CAE shifter.
CHASSIS 10x18in (front) and 13x18in (rear) Rotiform-LVS; 265/35 (f) and 315/30 (r) Pirelli P Zero Rosso; #Airdynamiks-air-ride
discs with ceramic pads.
seats; full colour-coded #RWB
rollcage; doorcards retrimmed in black; new black carpets; Alpine Bluetooth headunit; JL speakers; Focal amp.
THANKS I want to thank Josh at Crolls Customs for the killer paint and bodywork; Brendan Ginty for the interior work and getting all the suspension done – the man is a perfectionist and there isn’t a thing he can’t do; and all the RWB guys for the help along the way.
WHEELS: GET THE LOOK Philly #1 is rocking a set of miles-deep Rotiform LVS wheels, measuring 10x18-inch up front and a whopping 13x18-inch out back. Proudly manufactured in the USA, these wheels can be ordered in anything from 14-24-inch in diameter, and 6-16-inch in width. (Well, within reason – if you ask for a set of 14x14” they may look at you funny. Still, can’t hurt to try.) You can also choose between forged monoblock, two-piece, or the full-fat three-piece, as you see here. Get in touch via rotiform.co.uk to discuss specs and pricing.
What is RWB?
RWB stands for #RAUH-Welt
Begriff , roughly translating as Rough World Concept. It’s the brainchild of legendary and revered Japanese tuner Akira Nakai. Beginning operations in his hometown of Chiba, Nakai-san’s outrageously widened aircooled Porsches have captured the tuning world’s imagination, being immortalised in countless frothing Instagram posts and even the Need for Speed video game franchise. Each car features custom arches, bumpers, wings and skirts, decided upon when Nakai-san interviews the client to ascertain how the car will match their character and fit into their lifestyle. The parts then get shipped to the customer for prep and painting, before Nakai-san flies in with his tools and gets to work building the thing. On a diet of beer and cigarettes, he works through the night until the car’s perfect. Everything’s cut freehand, by eye rather than measurement, in the manner of a traditional craftsman. The quality of the finish is testament to his unique skills.
The youngsters would say Ben’s 993 is ‘on fleek’
“People love Nakai-san’s work, and it feels great to be a part of that”
The Rotiforms hide Brembo discs and ceramic pads. Nice.
Nakai-san has got a lot better looking.