Originally, this post was going to examine the world of Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsches, discussing the merits of function and form and attempting to locate the source of what exactly gives these cars such a cult-like popularity. It was effectively already written and was only lacking finished photos of the latest built, locally-owned car: “Clermont.” However, after experiencing the process firsthand, meeting the community of owners, and entering the world of RWB, it seems as if the cars themselves are only a side story to a much bigger, deeper picture.
In a nutshell, a Rauh-Welt Porsche (RWB) is a widebodied Porsche built by a man known as Akira Nakai. Nakai-san fell in love with the Porsche 911 while working at a body shop in Japan, and was inspired to one day have one of his own. His first 911, a 930 (pictured above), he customized with aggressive wide fenders and wheels and a huge rear wing. Having been a part of the Rough World drift crew, he borrowed the name and translated it to German for his Porsche. His style of customization became very popular, building cars for customers out of his bodyshop in Chiba. Popularity grew, along with demand, and now Nakai-san travels the world to modify Porsche 911s (930, 964, and 993 variants) for his customers.
When you decide you want your 911 to become a Rauh Welt 911, you have some options as far as the overall style of the car, but you can only get to that point with Nakai-san’s blessing. Nakai will help decide the overall look for your car after getting to know you over time. He does this to learn about you as an owner and wants the car to fit your personality and what you will be using the car for; he wants to get to know you and become your friend in the process. A car that is destined for the street might get a more conservative suspension setup vs a car on the track will be much more aggressive. Nakai-san tailors your vehicle specifically to you as a person, your tastes, and your intended use. Your RWB Porsche is strictly YOURS.
RWB cars vary in degrees of modification, while sticking to a similar aesthetic: Porsche GT racecars of the ’70s. Some have triple stacked wings with inconceivably wide fenders while others might only have a ducktail and some more modest styling. But what brings everything together is the community of owners.
After your initial discussions and you’ve waited for your turn (there’s undoubtedly a long waiting list), Nakai-san will fly to your location and build the car for you, on site, in three days. It is up to you to receive the kit ahead of time and take care of having it painted (and any other suspension/motor work), but actual assembly is up to Nakai himself. Everything is fit by hand, by eye, with seemingly minimal measurements.
Brackets are made on the fly, everything is sealed with silicone, and the final fit & finish is second to none. He will even adjust the ride height and alignment to tune it just for you. The car is christened with the RAUH-Welt windshield banner and given a name by Nakai-san. The name usually relates to the personality of the owner or circumstances around the build.
Every year, there are multiple club races held in Japan for RWB owners known as the Idlers Games. Nakai enjoys racing cars just as much as building them, and invites all of his customers out to come and race together. The RWB community is a family environment. Nakai-san has been known to provide cars for his international customers to drive. Owners will attend new and current owners’ builds. Catching up with Nakai, old friends, meeting initiate-owners. In some cases Nakai-san will perform maintenance on cars he’s already built: readjusting alignments or the fitment on fenders if they have begun to rub. Once you have become a part of the community, you have gone beyond customer and become a friend.
Having a Rauh-Welt Porsche built in the shop at Motorcar Studio was a huge honor and an incredible experience. Not only watching a great piece of artwork come together, but being able to witness the master craftsman and artist in action is nothing short of mesmerizing. But beyond that, being able to make new friends and spend time with like-minded enthusiasts is really what this is all about.