This mouthwatering sports car represents the melding of two of the biggest automotive trends from the last couple of years. First and foremost, it’s the product of the Porsche genius from Rauh-Welt Begriff in Japan; secondly, it’s a mobile billboard for Ken Block’s new Hoonigan brand.
Bringing together the world’s greatest stunt driver and the world’s coolest 911 conversion was the brainchild of Mr Brian Scotto, egged on by Mr Block. Formerly the Editor of Rides and 0-60 magazines, Brian left the print world to join Ken Block on his rise to world domination.
As the Brand Director for Block’s new Hoonigan label, he’s best remembered as the Segway driver in the Gymkhana Three video. But beyond the cameras and the rally stages, both Brian and Ken are gearheads at heart.
Scotto’s credentials date back to his first car – a Mk3 VW Golf 2.0 that would later morph into a VR6. It was followed by a cluster of Mk1s and 2s before he bought a ’91 Audi Coupe quattro that remains an unfinished project to this day.
His involvement in the Euro scene runs deep, inspired at the age of 15 by BMX companion Craige Ohlstein, who’s Wings West-kitted Mk3 Jetta started Brian’s VW adventure. Craige helped him build his first VW and Brian would later establish Autokrieg as a laidback car club with its own events.
Every VW owner is a future Porsche driver, and when Brian went to work on 0-60 his desire for the brand only increased. The opportunity to own one finally arose when he went to work for the Monster World Rally Team, where having an Audi in 15 boxes was no longer a practical means of transport.
From photos in magazines and posters on his wall, Brian dreamed of owning a 964 Carrera 2, ideally in white with a red interior. His two-year search led him to this ’91 911 Turbo (technically a 965) he found on eBay while attending a World Rally event in Turkey. It was seven grand more than he wanted to spend, but friends reminded him the Carrera would be slower than their Evos and STIs, so a purchase was made.
The car was shipped from a collector in Colorado to his home in New York, before turning round when Brian moved to Venice, CA with his new job.
In perfect condition and with only 48k miles on the clock, the previous owner had rejected it after something fell on the front fender. Apparently the repairs couldn’t disguise the imperfection in his mind, and it had to go. As a result, Brian owned a concours-condition 911 before he decided to hack the fenders off!
“I’d always loved the Rauh-Welt Porsches,” Brian explained. “We covered them in the early days on 0-60 Magazine and was drawn to the f*ck you attitude, but never felt I could actually do it to my own car.
“It was Ken who persuaded me to finally do it. He sent me some photos and thought it would be a great vehicle to launch the Hoonigan brand.
“Even though the RWB cars are rough and raw, they have a swagger that fits the brand. They look so cool and have real attitude.”
It apparently took Scotto a further six months to come to terms with hacking up his precious Porsche. Having dreamed about it for 17 years, the 32 year-old wasn’t ready to “ruin” a classic without serious thought.
“Many people are appalled that we did it to a Turbo because they’re relatively rare but this is my car; it’s what I wanted to do. When it was stock I was nervous about scratching it or leaving it anywhere, but now the patina of regular use seems to fit the theme better. It looks good with some dirt and chips on it. It also drives so much better with more rubber under it and the way RWB aligned the suspension,” he explained.
Before the conversion, the car intimidated Brian. “I owned it less than 24 hours before spinning it at 110mph,” he recalled. “I didn’t want to be that guy who crashed his first 911, so I took it easy after that. I felt it was sitting in the garage waiting to kill me. If you’re going to drive one of these things you have to be really committed because, although it rewards you when driven properly, it punishes you if you make a mistake!”
In a series of happy coincidences, RWB established a workshop in Northern California in time to build Brian’s car for its debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas where the Hoonigan brand announcement was scheduled. With the stars aligning, the dream grew closer to reality.
Akira Nakai from RWB personally builds every car, so preparations were made for his arrival. One of them was to select the components to be fitted, then remove the sunroof by fitting the metal roof from an ’87 964 to accommodate Brian’s 6’8" torso.
The final step was to paint the car, a painstaking task that was undertaken by TNT Autobody in Sacramento, CA.
The car was sprayed in a seven-stage satin white with pearl topcoat. The new body kit also received the same finish before being fitted – not the conventional way to fit and paint a kit, but Nakai-san does things differently.
On the appointed day, he flew to the US and built the first car for Mark Arcenal from Fatlace (as well as illest and Hellaflush), who had provided space for the RWB USA workshop and was involved with the new company. His green 911 would also appear at SEMA and was called Pandora One. Each RWB car is christened by its creator; this one named after the internet radio he listened to during the construction.
“I was a bit concerned about what mine would be called,” Scotto admitted. “The name can define the car’s character and there’s one called Montego Bay, so I feared the worst. However, Nakai-san named it Hoonigan after seeing the stencil I’d made for the car. I thought we could use it somewhere and he loved it, especially since my car is slightly unique.
“With a growing number of Rauh-Welt 911s around the world, it’s difficult to really stand out. However, we decided to keep the red leather interior, and would match the wheels to it, rather than following the trend for stripped interiors and dark SSR wheels like most RWB cars.”
Starting at 9.45am, the builder positioned the new fenders on the car and stood back. “He stares at it for ages and measures maybe 15 times,” Brain said. “He burns through cigarettes and just looks at the car, making sure everything is perfect. Then he does what you dread the most: picks up a saw and starts cutting!
“This must be what childbirth is like – it’s brutal to watch but the result is something wonderful!” Everybody holds their breath as Nakai-san cuts into the freshly painted fenders and fits the four fender flares. By 2pm he’s moved onto the bumpers and is aligning the side skirts.
Every car is different; RWB never builds two cars the same. The company’s painter flew from Japan to accompany the build and either touched-up pieces or painted parts black as the build proceeded.
The side skirts, for example, were trimmed to give a more restrained, factory profile. The lower section was then painted black, which has made daily maintenance simpler for the owner. The canards on the front spoiler were a late addition, while the rear wing had been decided in advance. “The car came with a 3.8 RS rear spoiler,” Brian recalled, “so I wanted something different. I went with the GT2 base because it has the big scoops, more contours and would accommodate my larger intercooler, but Nakai-san chose the top plane. It’s huge, the biggest they offer, but it’s a real RWB signature and adds to the overall comic-book proportions of the car.”
Like Ken’s HFHV Fiesta rally car, the 911 sits on fifteen52 Tarmac wheels, only these are the latest three-piece construction using forged 6061 aluminum centers with forged stepped lips and barrels.
As a long time acquaintance, Brian approached Brad Beardow and Matt Cooke at fifteen52 when the HFHV needed a unique offset and stud pattern that wasn’t readily available. The company agreed to construct a set of wheels specifically for the rally car and subsequently did the same for the Porsche.
The new three-piece design looks as if it dropped out of the ’80s and compliments the aggressive RWB styling. The Lobster red paint was matched to the stock interior and Recaro Profi XL seats that were trimmed to match.
The wheels are 18x10.5" on the front with stretched 265/35 Pirellis to avoid rubbing. The rear boasts chunky 18x12s with 315/30 rubber that fit perfectly thanks to the generous flares. The “Big Red” brakes are from the 993 Turbo and were designed to stop the Andial engine conversion overpowering the chassis.
The guys at fifteen52 also created the headlights. If you look closely, you’ll see they feature an “X”; Brian’s homage to the crosshair headlights on his early VWs.
Fitted with the famous 3.3L boxer turbo engine, it was modified by Porsche specialists Andial in Fountain Valley, CA. They treated it to a special KKK K27 turbo with a “hot” housing, a Sport intercooler that’s about 1” thicker than stock, and 964 Carrera 2 cams. This was based on the factory S2 option for the early Turbos and, with the addition of a B&B exhaust and mapping upgrades, the engine is rated at about 385hp.
The final pieces of the puzzle are the KW Variant 3 coilovers with HLS (Height Lift System) that raises the car 2" to clear kerbs. The hydraulic actuator fits in place of the assister springs and drains after 30sec or so, reverting to its previous height.
Future plans call for a rear rollcage, allowing him to bolt-in a front section for track days. “I didn’t want to build a full track car,” Brian explained. “This was always going to be a road car and rollcages are dangerous on the street. So we didn’t fit a cage at the beginning but I’ll eventually add a two-part structure so I can do track days.”
However, the RWB Hoonigan 911 now has to take its position alongside a big-block Chevy Nova that was recently acquired, as well as a Porsche 944 he bought because it seemed like a good idea back when he was driving VWs. And there’s still an Audi Coupe to be finished. “I’ve always built my own cars, so it was strange to watch Nakai-san build the Porsche,” Scotto admitted. “In the end I rolled up my sleeves and installed the seats. We also discussed lots of changes during the build since he speaks better English than you’d believe after reading all the stories about him.
“At the end of the day, this has been an incredible experience, where owning my dream Porsche has turned into driving a car beyond my dreams!”
Rauh Welt Begriff
If you have some money and a passion for the 911, you tend to be drawn toward very early models or the newest products. This has left some of the less desirable 964 and 993 models in the wilderness, with prices dropping but expensive servicing costs waiting to trap the uninformed (see separate story on owning an older 911 in this issue).
No matter what pitfalls await you, there are some people who’ve always dreamed of owning a 911, and the cheaper specimens often prove too much temptation. And while some owners struggle with basic maintenance, others simply want to celebrate their purchase. While its possible to change body panels to resemble either newer or older models, it’s also possible to realize your racecar fantasies by reinventing the era when Porsche ruled the racetrack with models like the 911-based 934 and 935. This is where specialists like Rauh-Welt Begriff step in.
Working and sleeping in a small workshop in Chiba, a few miles from Tokyo, Akira Nakai has created a cult following for his heavily modified cars that revive the classic racers. He imbues a unique character into each car, as we discovered in our previous article on the company (et 11/10 and eurotuner.com).
Word spread quickly, and RWB has grown into a worldwide movement, with shops opening in Thailand, Great Britain and the USA. The company supplies and fits complete body kits with widebody flares and giant rear wings. They also have wheels and suspension to create the wildest 911 possible.
Each car is built by Nakai-san himself, flying to the US to construct every car in order to preserve his unique approach. However, it’s not cheap. A 964 widebody costs $18000, with an additional $4000 for the recommended SSR wheels, with other options beyond that.
The company shares space with Fatlace, and the first car was built for Mark Arcenal, another went to Texas and a fourth is going to Massachusetts. With the cult of RWB spreading throughout the states, these might soon be a common sight!
Both Mark’s and Brian’s cars were displayed at SEMA 2011 and appeared in our show coverage (et 2/12 and eurotuner.com). You can expect to see them at more high profile events throughout the year, enticing us all to join the cult of Porsche worship.
et Tech Spec
1991 Porsche 911 Turbo
Owner: Brian Scotto
Location: Venice, CA
Occupation: Hoonigan brand director
Engine: 3.3L six-cylinder boxer with Andial K27 turbo, Sport intercooler, C2 cams, B&B exhaust, mapping
Drivetrain: five-speed manual
Brakes: Porsche 993 Turbo “Big Red” conversion with four-piston calipers all round, drilled 332mm front, 322mm rear rotors
Suspension: KW Variant 3 coilovers with Height Lift System
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5" front, 18x12" rear fifteen52 Tarmac three-piece wheels with 265/35 R18 front, 315/30 R18 rear Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires
Exterior: Rauh-Welt Begriff fender flares, bumpers, side skirts, rear wing, custom crosshair headlights, car painted satin white pearl
Interior: Recaro Profi XL seats trimmed Lobster red to match stock rears, four-point Schroth harnesses, Momo pedals and steering wheel on Roth Sport adapter and quick-release hub, Roth Sport one-piece, lengthened, quick-shift gear lever
Thanks: andial.com, fifteen52.us, rauhwelt-usa.com