- Post is under moderationHOT 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 / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-993 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Porsche-911-RWB / #RAUH-Welt-Begriff / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Air-Lift / #Airdynamiks / #Rotiform-LVS / #Rotiform / #RWB / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-Carrera-993 / #Air-Lift
STYLING Full custom RAUH-Welt Begriff wide-arch bodykit; Porsche Gelb Grün paint by Josh at Crolls Customs.
TUNING #Porsche-M64 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 with #Air-Lift-3H management; #Brembo discs with ceramic pads.
INTERIOR #Recaro-A8 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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROUGH DIAMOND
Hitoshi Hoshino’s super-refined 993 may not be made in Japan… but it’s definitely MADE in Japan.
EDITOR’S WILDCARD The Ed’s Wildcard gives us the chance to feature those off-the- wall vehicles you may not normally see in Retro Cars. This month we check out a sports car icon… only it may be more Japanese than you think!
WILDCARD: RWB PORSCHE 993 WORDS AND PHOTOS: Dino Dalle Carbonare
RAUH WELT PORSCHE 911
Wildcard: #RWB-Porsche-993 This crazy air-cooled monster may not be made in Japan… but it was definitely MADE in Japan.
Little did I know that those widened and overly winged Porsches I used to see at Tsukuba 10 years or so ago would have become the sensation they are today. No longer relegated within the confines of Japan, Akira Nakai of RAUH-Welt Begriff has been spreading his vision on every corner of the globe. RWB is a brand in serious demand, with a waiting list stretching to almost a year now.
That’s because each car, to be truly and authentically identified as an RWB creation, must be put together by Nakai and Nakai only. And with so much demand coming from outside Japan, domestic customers have to get in line too! Thankfully Hitoshi Hoshino got his request in with the big man with plenty of notice, so he could time the unveiling of his car for this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon.
Hitoshi has spent most of his working life in the automotive scene. First at Yokohama Tire, following various racing series in Japan, and then looking after the aftermarket parts retail at Japan’s official Ferrari dealer network. But his path wasn’t just about following his passion. There was a well-planned goal at the end of it and that period was simply to teach him the skills that would later be used to reach his achievement – Army Girl.
Hitoshi came up with the idea to launch a clothing brand linked to the automotive lifestyle scene, for the sole reason that nobody in Japan has thought about it yet. It made total sense. He could step things up and set up his own business, yet keep that passion with cars truly alive. It was a win win situation and the idea to tie it all in with RWB made sense. The clothing he designs and produces is made by following the simple concept of keeping it cool, sexy and wild, which are three words perfectly in sync with what Nakai’s brand stands for. Plus it’s all made in Japan, something that Nakai liked very much, too.
We met with Hitoshi late one night in Shibuya, right on one of the main streets that lead up to Hachiko, the famous scramble crossing. We had seen his car briefly a few months prior at the Auto Salon, but never had a really close look. You know how shows are, so much to see, so little time and you end up missing the finer details of what you’re there to see.
But we’re glad we got this chance to spend a couple of hours with this 993 Carrera 2 as it could be the most polished cars Nakai has ever put together in Japan. You see, Hitoshi may like the whole idea of the RWB “rough” style, but in reality he likes his stuff very polished, meticulously executed and beautifully refined. One look at his car and you truly get a feel for that, right down to the paint it’s finished off in.
Hitoshi took an Aston Martin pearl white paint sample to Noshima-san, the guy responsible for painting all of Nakai’s cars in Japan, and told him he wanted something like this. The car would mostly be driven late at night in central Tokyo, after he closes up shop, so it had to shine and look the part under the city lights. Nakai thought a simple Pearl White was a tad boring for one of his creations. But Nojima came up with a little custom mix made up with a higher content of metallic blue in it that really shines through and highlights all those complex lines that make up the exterior. And those aesthetics are just as extreme as you would want them for what is a street driven car, featuring those massively wide signature fenders topped up with that GT2 inspired front and rear bumper. This build however was one of the most complex ones Nakai embarked on, because Hitoshi wanted it done properly.
The 993 was first stripped down to a bare chassis and sent of to M’s Machine Works, a fabrication shop that Nismo uses for its race cars. Here a custom multi-point roll cage was fabbed, welded and gusseted in place in order to both strength the ageing shell, but also to offer a higher level of safety when the car occasionally hits the track. It was then shipped back to Nakai where he went at it with an electric hacksaw, cutting away the fenders and the roof. Nojima painted it inside out and then the massive jigsaw puzzle was put together. This also included rare additions like the one-off carbon-fibre roof Hitoshi requested, as well as the rear fender winglets and the Rotana style rear wing. A RWB is all about stance and to nail it Nakai fitted a set of #Bilstein adjustable dampers mated to Swift spring to just the right ride height, before bolting on the custom painted 18-inch #Work-Meister-M1 s, which measure a rather generous 11J across the front and 13J at the rear.
When Hoshino arrived in front of Tower Records, our predetermined meeting spot, I understood why he’d asked to make sure we did this only on a dry night. Those three-piece Meisters are shod in Hoosier slicks, which at 285 wide at the front and 335 at the rear are exactly as dangerous as you’d imagine on a rainy night. Not to mention a tad illegal even for Japanese standards!
Thankfully rain was nowhere to be seen, so I jumped in the supportive #Recaro seat and we headed down the road to Harajuku. Taking a turn off from the main street that leads down to Omotesando we ended up in some seriously tight back streets – the heart of the Japanese fashion district.
The sea of scantly dressed school girls that take over the place during the day is replaced with groups of drunk salary men late at night, stumbling out of microscopic izakaya bars as they try to make it to the station before the last train. Miss that, and it’s an expensive taxi ride back home. The 993 attracts a lot of attention, people point, stare and stop to take pictures. It’s quite an experience riding in one of these things. You get a first hand look at the sort of attention it generates.
Slapping the name of your brand along its sills makes good sense. It’s a stunningly effective promotion tool. But thankfully that’s only part of it. Hitoshi regularly takes it out on the C1 and hits Tatsumi PA for night meetings, enjoying that easy and foolproof handling dynamic these high-grip 911 of Nakai’s are known for.
Next up for Hitoshi is the engine. He’s already fitted big StopTech brakes up front as he wants to follow what Nakai has done with his 993 Rotana track car, and that’s slapping a massive turbo right next to the engine. Big power and some flames from that custom exhaust would turn Army Girl into something even more special. This is a car, that like the brand it has been built to promote, will continue to evolve.
TECH SPEC: RWB #Porsche-993 / #Porsche-M64 / #Porsche-911-993 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911-RWB-993 / #Porsche-911-RWB
TUNING: #Icode titanium exhaust system; #Garage-J fully balanced and refreshed M64 engine; RS clutch and flywheel.
CHASSIS: #Work-Meister M1 3-piece wheels 11Jx18in front, 13Jx18in rear; #Hoosier slicks 285/30R18 front, 335/30R18 rear; Bilstein Cup dampers mated to Swift springs; #StopTech ST-40 4-pot front callipers; 2-piece rotors.
EXTERIOR: Full #RWB wide body “street” conversion; RWB original pearl white; one-off RWB carbon roof.
INTERIOR: M’s #Machine-Works custom welded-in and gusseted roll cage; #Recaro-RS-G bucket seats; #ARTI custom sound system with hidden speakers.
Sparse interioradds to the fun!
Even the roof hasn’t escaped the modding with this one-off carbon item!
Hardcore like the army… and, erm, girls!
Crazy is common on the streets of Tokyo, RWB cars are a little rarer!
Fully balanced and rebuilt to perfection!
Yep, it’s got quite an audio system this one!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.