Titan Motorsports – A day with Nakai San of RAUH-Welt Begriff
I was first exposed to RAUH-Welt Begriff, better known now as RWB, a little over a year ago when a picture of one of their 964s painted camouflage hit my email box. Having spray bombed our own 996tt in a similar motif, I spent many hours researching more about RWB and the man behind these wild Japanese creations Nakai San. Last summer I contemplated having one of my own built, but finding a clean 993 donor car proved to be a difficult challenge and I settled on a 996 GT3 instead. Fast forward to last November when RWB posted a picture of a 993 with the caption “RWB Florida” coming soon on their Facebook page. My internet detective skills immediately went into motion and a familiar hood in the background of that image led me to realize the car was owned by Chad, a mutual acquaintance of mine from the track. At the 48 Hour of Sebring in January I approached Chad about the build and told him of my interest in the project, and he invited me to watch build in person when Nakai made his way to Tampa. Yesterday I was lucky enough to take him up on his offer and spent the afternoon watching the master at work, taking Chad’s beautiful 993 and turning it into the latest RWB car, only the 5th in the United STates.
To get things started I’ll talk a bit about the process from what I gathered that afternoon in both talking to Chad and Nakai. Chad originally contacted RWB Japan and bought the kit and appropriate Work wheels directly from them with some help from Marc at RWB USA. The body kits arrive unfinished and must be painted by a local paint shop prior to Nakai arriving. The build is then fit into Nakai’s busy schedule so that he can be on site to fit and install the entire kit and set the ride height of the vehicle appropriately. All off the cutting, fitting, drilling and installation happen on an already prepped and painted car, a true testament to the craftsmanship required (which can also be difficult to watch as Chad had to look away many times).
Nakai’s work ethic is second to none, he spends countless hours finessing the car making sure it’s perfect. Even when he is not physically working on the car, he’s standing close by focusing on it piece by piece with a cigarette in hand. His passion for building these cars is very apparent, he is not a fancy man by any means. On this particular build he arrived in an economy rent a car and rather than sleep in a fancy hotel he chose to sleep outside of the shop in Chad’s car hauler so that he could work late into the night. There were no elaborate 5 star dinners either, meals consisted of a quick trip to McDonalds or the local Denny’s. As fancy as we got was Logan’s Texas Steakhouse last evening where we shared stories of Porsches, travel, racing, and of course the history of RWB. There is definitely a language barrier, but it’s easy to work through it thanks to Nakai’s great understanding of the English language, I can’t think things would have gone as smoothly if the roles were reversed. Many question the pricing of the kits and what goes into the installation, but anyone who has seen the man in the process of installation will understand that he’s not just transforming the appearance of the car, he’s giving it a new soul.
The coveted Rauh Welt windshield banner and Idlers stencil to be installed at the completion of the build. This stencil will be left with the car for touch ups and application on fresh tires for the future.
There was some question as to what tools would need to be provided for the build. Nakai got off the plane with this suitcase filled with many nuts, bolts, tools, basically anything he would need to complete the car as if he were at his home workshop. It’s also wild to see the shop stickers and airport tags documenting his travels across the world creating RWB Porsches.
Nakai is defiantly a chain smoker and not often will you find him with a cigarette, this particular trip his smoke of choice was Winston. He also enjoys traveling around the areas he visits for his build, he spent quite a bit of his free time exploring local Tampa and enjoyed watching the beautiful Sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. He takes in all of his surroundings while traveling, and spends many hours with the owner asking them their opinion to help make sure the car is just right and a reflection of them.
The fitment of the body creates fender/tire clearance that is paper thin, countless hours of the process are spent perfecting the suspension travel and body gaps to ensure they look as if they are rubbing, without hitting.
The buildout is very raw, here you can see Nakai painting the mesh inserts black using a spray can and tape. These parts had just arrived from the body shop after a fresh color sand and buff, and still remain overspray free after being spray bombed thanks to clever tape and newspaper work. It’s moments like these that can be difficult for the owner to see but are just part of the process of transforming the car.
Very little measuring is done using traditional measuring tape, instead everything is eye balled over and over until just right and then permanently attached or cut, a testament to the eye for detail Nakai possess.
The nearly project in all her glory, just installing the canards and windshield banner remain. She currently remains nameless, it’s up to the owner to decide if they want the car named. As of today Chad is still up in the air on this particular detail but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a name christened once Nakai returns to Japan.
I personally want to thank Chad for inviting me out to see the build, it was truly an inspiration and honor to see Nakai work. The trip to Tampa may have cast some doubts into my decision to buy a 996 GT3 over building an RWB 993, however after quizzing Nakai a bit I may get to experience the best of both worlds in the near future.