Dictionary.com defines as warrior as follows:
1: a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
2: a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.
Definition number one is a relatively straight description of a soldier, but definition number two more points to the character of the warrior.
Occasionally I'll meet people who very much have this feeling of warriorism about them, even though acts of soldiering may be the last thing on their minds. I'd say these people tend to be more on the serious of side and have little time for anything or anyone that is outside of their chosen focal point. They usually have razor sharp viewpoints, with a no nonsense approach to life.
Athletes often have this modus operandi, as do many professional racing drivers. The same goes for the person that is behind the custom Porsches we are coming to know as Rauh Welt: Nakai-sa. He is a warrior: through and through. A person whose simply put, is all edge. Perhaps you also can get this feeling from his cars no?
So a few weeks back we got a chance to visit his base camp: the Rauh Welt shop!
Arriving at the corregated iron building we were greeted by a range of 930 chassis in various states of disassembly. A few looked like on-going projects, while others looked like they were waiting for a new lease of life as race track weapons.
These bare chassis were contrasted by a customer RWB car sitting opposite. This machine about to go under the knife to be fully transformed into a track machine. It's currently built to be more a street style car, with an automatic transmission hampering it's performance potential. The owner, though, wants to participate in more Rauh Welt track activities, hence the coming upgrades.
Note the drinks machine behind the car. No self-respecting Japanese car shop would be complete without them!
Entering the building we were greeted by these two amazing 911s. Was a bit of a moment to be standing there faced with these two cars… machines that Mike Garrett has first shown to the western world on his Auto Otaku blog. These are probably two of my favourite street cars going right now.
Rauh Welt pool table anyone? Looking around the space we marvelled the memorabilia filling the lounge area. It was a real mix of American, European and Japanese iconography. Check the display of Stella Artois bear bottles in the window. Now we know why this logo appears on Nakai-san's personal 930… it's his favourite beer!
I like the retro looking red and white helmet….
Eventually the man himself appeared… and we introduced ourselves and explained a bit about the Speedhunters project to him. He listened intently to credentials, nodded and started to set up the different Porsches for Mike and Antonio to shoot. A man of few words… definitely my style of human hahaha.
While Antonio and Mike started to click away with their cameras I was able to spend a bit of time chatting with Nakai-san with the help of Kaori, Mike's Japanese wife. Luckily for me I know a reasonable amount about Porsches, enough to maintain a conversation with a specialist anyway. I shared the story of our meetings with the famed Porsche engineer, Norbert Singer and the Porsche RSR Turbo, which seemed to show some level of credibility…. maybe…
On an aside… it's interesting to work a situation with a person that does not operate by the same set of rules as a typical westerner. Normal expressions of "North American" friendliness do not work in these scenarios!
On the left is a 930 customer car which has had a rough time at the track this year… on the right is a new 964 project nearing completion. Although most of the main Rauh Welt cars are N/A (naturally aspirated), this is a turbo car, running in excess of 700bhp.
This is pure battle machine style, no? The car received some heavy damage to its rear quarter and has been patched together for the remainder of the racing season. Strange perhaps, to see zip ties all over a Porsche, but then again Nakai-san was the man who started the use of zip ties on drift cars…. Anyway Antonio will talk about the man and his contributions to drifting culture in a later Speedhunters posting this month.
This silver car is also another work in progress turbo project. I'm sure we'll be seeing these cars blasting around Tsukuba in the not too distant future.
You can also see a portable spraybooth which can be extended to cover the car.
Off to the side was this very special new 996 based project; the first time that Rauh Welt has worked with such a modern chassis. This car started life as a Carrera Cup race car, which Nakai-san is converting to be a street-track car. That's right folks, a race car that will be registered for Japanese street use. Sounds cool! The car will be receiving the full Rauh Welt visual styling and will be finished in satin black. I can't wait to see how this car turns out…. apparently it will be ready before the end of the year.
RWB Mercedes anyone? This is Nakai-san's personal daily driver.
While we chatted away about the Rauh Welt feeling, Mike was busy taking pictures of a few of the key RWB cars for future in depth car features.
Antonio also spent some time chatting with Nakai-san about his background with Rough World, and the genesis of drifting car style. He also shot this Rauh Welt AE86 inside and out. Look out for a car feature coming soon.
Interestingly, the whole flat black paint that appears on a lot of the
Rauh Welt cars comes directly from the American Rat Rod scene.
Nakai-san mentioned he saw some Rat Rods in the Japanese Daytona
magazine and used this influence for his cars. He's a big fan of
american hot rodding, especially the new-school rod scene. In his mind this is superior to Japanese style. He loves how you'll see a partially completed Kustom or Rod being driven on the street. For him this is true style.
He explained to us, that he deliberately didn't clean any of the Porsches for our photography sessions. In his view, a dirtied and distressed car from track use is a car in it's natural form. Show cars are of no interest.
We ended the day doing some street photography with Nakai-san's personal 930. There really is nothing that I can compare seeing this car creeping down the street to…. look at that omnous presence!… Words cannot do this image justice so I'll end the story here…
Thanks to Antonio for his tireless efforts to arrange this amazing shop visit…. He'll be giving you an in detail look at his own experiences meeting Nakai-san soon….