Cars as objects? Seriously? If that’s how you classify the concoctions of metal on four wheels we love so much, you are kindly asked to go and surf some other part of the internet. Cars are so much more than that; they are different things to different people, tools that reward you with all sorts of emotions when you put them through their paces, and at the same time like a friend that is always there to add that little bit of something extra to your life.
The RWB Yoshiwara Yūkaku is this and so much more to its owner, Ricko.
Standing in the warm afternoon sun, surrounded by empty desert and rocky hills on one side and the Vegas Strip skyline on the other, we got down to talking about cars.
This gold Porsche 911 Type 993 Targa is possibly the least documented RAUH-Welt Begriff build the US has seen. Built at the Fatlace HQ in San Francisco a couple of months back, Ricko didn’t really feel the need to make a big deal about it. After all, this is a car he was building for himself, a creation that would serve as a turning point in his life.
And on this day that Ricko took time to accompany me to a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle of the city was as big as a turning point could ever get – the following day he’d be getting married. Ricko and his fiancée had driven over to Vegas with Nakai-san and the rest of the RWB crew to enjoy the SEMA Show and the sights and sounds of Sin City.
And that’s where the name Nakai-san chose for the car seems to fit in rather well. Yoshiwara was the historic red-light district of Tokyo, back when the city was still called Edo. It’s a name anyone with an interest in Japanese culture knows, an infamous place that was all about sin and lust. Ricko was known as quite the playboy back in the day and that’s where the whole link lies. This car marks the end of his old ways and the beginning of a new life chapter as a married man.
Each moment he looks at, drives, and spends time with his RWB creation he’ll be reminded of his past. It’s why he didn’t want to cut any corners, even before the master himself picked up the air cutting tools.
A year ago, Ricko found the perfect base, an unmolested 993 Carrera, but had to make a snap decision to pick it up as there were other interested parties ready to do so if he didn’t. He put his money down and it was his. From that moment on it was all about putting a plan together and having everything ready to go in time for Nakai to fly over from Japan in October and complete the car’s RWB transformation.
With the idea to go for a full color change, the 993 had to be stripped down inside and out. Ricko also saw it as a good opportunity to address all the trim parts that had aged over the years, and while that sounds simple, sourcing all the correct pieces turned into a $20K nightmare.
The fact that the car was a Targa model made things even more complicated, and Ricko ended up entrusting the whole build process to two Porsche mechanics, Efrain Ortiz and Edwin Zuñiga, after being disappointed by the work of other shops. Sitting low on KW Variant 3 coilovers, the finished result is an RWB with the sort of presence I’ve not seen in a while.
While the gold color is an integral part of the look, it’s without a doubt the wheels that have turned it into something extra special. These were custom made for Ricko and measure 18×11-inch up front and 18×14-inch at the rear.
The girth of the back of the car is substantial to say the least, and it’s highlighted with the canards we often see on 993 builds from Nakai. Next to the Yoshiwara Yūkaku name in kanji on the side of the car is an RK-Strong sticker, which is a website supporting 13-year-old car nut Ray Kanda who is currently undergoing treatment for leukemia. Ray, if you are reading this you have all the support from the Speedhunters crew!Gold On Gold
On top of the wheels, Ricko had D-LNG Designs in Belgium create custom turbo-fan covers, black on the passenger side and gold for the driver side.
I have to say, I really can’t decide which color looks better, and I guess Ricko was of the same opinion, hence going for both. It all combines to look pretty damn amazing and the beefy Toyo Proxes R888 tires fit the race-inspired look rather well.
Go in closer and more details reveal themselves. The custom center caps that D-LNG Designs made up we done so as a nod of respect to James Hunt’s beliefs.
In motion, the turbo-fans light up the centers of the wheels, enhancing the look further. If C-3PO drove a car, this is what it would look like!
A lot of work went into the wheels; Ricko told me that it was a constant back and fourth with D-LNG Designs until they nailed the look and fitment he wanted.
What makes this RWB stand out even more among the many we have seen over the years is the fact that it’s a Targa top.
Ricko wanted to retain the semi stripped-out feel of the cabin, going as far as to not refit any of the trim to the rear of the car, including what would normally hide the electric motors that operate the big glass roof.
The ability to have the feel of a convertible at the flick of a button is what made Ricko specifically want a Targa; for him it’s all about the experience the car gives you. And trust me, with the glass roof opened all the way, it’s like all the senses intensify; the sound, the wind, the sensation of speed. Blasting through Vegas in this car I totally got it.
The Recaro seats are beautifully supportive and comfy, something I thought I’d never say about buckets. Mind you, my experience with these type of seats have always been in Japanese cars and always involved lots of pain. These are the biggest versions Recaro make, and I fit like a dream.
One thing I found refreshing was the fact that Ricko kept the stock steering wheel in an otherwise stripped cabin. The contrasting look somehow seems to work rather well.
That’s also because Ricko has every intention of using this car as much as possible, which is why he didn’t mind the fact that the perfect car he found for the transformation was a Tiptronic. Nakai put his mark of approval on the dashboard in a well-matched shade of gold.To The Future & Beyond
Under the hood, the motor has been left in its stock state, but enhanced to give the sort of sound that one would expect a widened gold 911 like this to generate. For this, Ricko first turned to MFR Enterprises who created custom RSR-style headers which feed a pair of tapered-out straight pipes. The latter stick out so far that I thought I was looking at Stella Artois for a second!
That raspy, unsilenced fury the pipes spit out is mated to a slightly more gutsy intake roar thanks to a BMC panel filter, which is exposed to amplify the effect. An RS-like carbon fiber heater duct bypass pipe shaves a bit of weight off the rear by replacing the blower assembly.
If you look closely you will see that the gold paint has been applied to every surface of the chassis, inside and out, under and over.
The GT2-inspired front end makes the 993 one of the most striking RWB conversions out there, and Yoshiwara sits so low the trademark rubber front lip almost seems to be scraping along.
Ricko pulled out the carpet that covers the insides of the trunk to show the extent of the paint job. It’s really nice to see cars built properly.
If Ricko ever gets bored of the look of his car he’s also got a few spare RWB spoiler setups to swap on. I’m thinking a ducktail would go down a treat.
As is often the case with RWB creations, I not only came away impressed by the car but also the story of the owner behind it all. Cars are indeed more than just lumps of metal – they have the power to excite, bring people together and mark new beginnings. A big congrats to Ricko and his wife from all the team here at Speedhunters.
Dino Dalle Carbonare