Some might say it’s too Euro for this mag and others might think it’s played out. But haters, you can shut up because RWB still builds some of the illest cars we’ve seen today.
For years, we’ve been following RWB (Rauh-WELT Begriff, German for “Rough World Concept”), before you’ve seen them surfacing on blogs and loading up on your Facebook feed. Conceived in Japan from founder and designer Akira Nakai, these handcrafted cars have been praised around the world and appreciated by virtually all enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter if you bleed Hondas or Mustangs, bikes or trucks; a finely tuned Porsche can get any man’s heart pumping. RWB’s specialty wasn’t about building 1000hp track cars but bringing new light to older Porsches using a widebody treatment that’s reminiscent of ‘70s endurance GT racing. While the cars have a classic coke-bottle shape of a widebody turbo, no two RWB cars are the same. With each car that bears the RWB name, Nakai puts his own personal twist to make each project unique for each customer.
There are about 100 RWBeezies in Japan, but last year the Rauh-WELT sensation hit foreign shores such as Great Britain, Dubai and Russia. In the US, we have Mark Arcenal from Fatlace and Illest to thank. After becoming buddies with Nakai, their friendship blossomed into business partners as they jump-started RWB-USA in California last fall. Three RWB cars were built for the SEMA show, including Mark’s turbocharged 964 which graced our cover last June.
A couple months after we shot Mark’s 964, we heard about his next project—this ’95 993 Carrera. Meant to be Nakai’s personal car when he comes to visit the US, they concluded it would be easier if it was registered and taken care of by Mark. “We decided to build the car together as a demo vehicle, plus the 964 is difficult to drive on the street,” Mark told us. “This is more of a daily driver. You can pick up the kids and drive it every day.” It’s hard to believe a beast like this could be considered a daily but Mark isn’t kidding. He doesn’t give a shit if it’s dinged or the front scrapes—although we cringe at the thought! It’s meant to be driven; to prove it, he insisted on throwing us the keys. Like dumbasses, we answered no but we didn’t want to be responsible for damaging or breaking one of six RWB cars in the States. So we asked staff member Jon Chow to chauffeur us around, and why not through the heart of downtown San Francisco?
With no engine modifications done to the aircooled Porsche, the car started up with ease. If you were blindfolded, you’d think it’s your run-of-the-mill 993 but open your eyes and you don’t want to shut them.
Once we entered the city, it was clear to us that we weren’t the only one’s in love with this car. It’s a neck breaker, panty dropper; whatever you want to call it…times ten. Grandmas and grandpas were dropping their jaws; mothers with their kids couldn’t stop staring. Even when we parked on the side of a street, we had passing cars making a complete stop in the middle of the road to snap cell phone pics. The car is a driving celebrity.
The beauty of the 993 starts with the flares, each of which is handmade by Nakai. These particular ones were installed in California where Nakai cut and trim the OE fenders by hand. This 993 has a slightly redesigned front bumper and also a less aggressive rear wing that’s modeled from the original old school Carrera.
Then came color and there’s no denying this blue is friggin’ gorgeous. Nakai originally wanted to paint this car yellow (ehhhh…—Ed) but Mark reasoned with him for something subtler yet still eye-catching. The result is Maritime blue from the ’93 Porsche color palette. “It’s actually the same color I used on one of my old VW Bus projects,” Mark smiled.
The Professor SP1 wheels are common on RWB rides, custom-ordered from SSR with crazy 10.5" front and 13" rear widths. And the suspension was switched to KW V3 coils for a sporty yet comfortable ride, while adjusted down for a low ride—but not too low. We didn’t have many issues driving up and down the hills of downtown SF.
And for the rest of the car, well there’s nothing else to talk about. There’s no cage, seats, turbo work or custom tune. This is a simple street car which is why it’s so badass. It only took two weeks to complete the project from start to finish but looks like it took two years.
We can argue all day that your money is spent better elsewhere, considering this 993 kit starts at $18k. Building an RWB car isn’t cheap and doesn’t get you across the finish line first, but RWB is about being different and driving a car that’ll leave a smile on your face. Mark hasn’t stopped smiling.
What’s in a name?
Nakai is the dad of RWB, which means he’s also in charge of naming each car. While we can’t name all his children, here are six of his most recognized cars.
We have no idea how to pronounce this but the name comes from Nakai’s favorite vodka bar in Russia. Did someone say vodka? Mmmmm…
No denying the name fits this 930R here, especially with its unique custom camouflage paint!
Named after the famous Belgium brew, this is most famous RWB project that started around 16 years ago. Nakai’s personal ’85 930 and has gone through plenty of makeovers and countless track days.
Another one of Nakai’s personal cars. We find it odd he named the car from a beach in Jamaica, but this 993 sure gets all the ‘beaches’.
Is this really named after internet radio? Anyways, it’s the first RWB car in the US and gives a nice whoopin’ on the track thanks to its 400hp turbocharged flat-six.
Debuted at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, this 993 Cabrio has been RWB’d with a name that brings back fond childhood memories.
1995 Porsche 993 Carrera C2 Coupe
Owner Mark Arcenal
Hometown San Francisco, CA
Occupation Creative Director at Fatlace and illest clothing
Engine 3.6 liter air-cooled flat-six
Drivetrain Six-speed manual transmission
Footwork & Chassis KW V3 coilovers
Wheels & Tires 18x10.5" front and 18x13" rear SSR Professor SP1 wheels with 265/35R18 front and 315/30R18 rear Toyo R888 tires
Exterior RWB street body kit with redesigned front bumper and Carerra-style rear wing
Interior Personal steering wheel; Rothsport hub and quick-release adapter
WWW hellaflush.com; kw-suspension.com; rauhwelt-usa.com; toyotires.com