Well here it is, the third and final installment of the RWB 997 saga, a two year process that surprisingly enough yielded two cars.
That’s right, when Nakai-san finally gave me the OK to shoot the finished convertible that was used in the development of the overall shaping and testing of the 997 kit (check out the first story here and the second here), he wheeled out a coupe too.
The extra time this pandemic has afforded Nakai has not only sped up the R&D process, it’s also allowed him to test the kit out on a hardtop.
In fact, as you read this, four more 997s have already been built and delivered to customers in Japan, making a total of six.
You saw the design process, now let’s take a look at this initial RWB 997 conversion in finished form.
One that brings the RAUH-Welt Begriff brand into the water-cooled 911 space.
We’ll start with the cabriolet, which I still can’t believe is the same silver car I first saw back in 2018 when the RWB 997 development project began.
All that time adapting and building glass fiber ‘meat’ onto the flares was followed up with hours spent sanding the surface down to craft a transition that not only looked smooth, but coherently met the curvature and design beneath.
I have a newfound respect and appreciation for Nakai and his approach. Sure, it’s not dry carbon or hand-rolled and beaten sheet metal, but if it were the cost would be beyond the means of most enthusiasts.
Glass fiber and a vision is what you get here, and through that Nakai-san can sell you a dream that you can work your way up to. That’s all it is; you don’t need to like it and you don’t need to appreciate it.
Now that air-cooled 911 models are all of a sudden collector cars, it’s the perfect time to move RWB over to the 997 too.
It’s just like when Nakai started, taking beaten up 964s that were on the market for the equivalent of US$15-20K and giving them a breath of new life.
I was surprised just how wide the rear fenders turned out to be. There’s a lot of girth there, and the way they wrap around and mate onto the rear bumper has a nice and aggressive progression. The louvers add even more muscle.
Don’t forget that Nakai plans to evolve his 997 offering, fine tuning it, definitely widening it, and possibly giving more of an edgy feel to the more extreme iterations that are to come.
For now this sets up the range rather well, and allows you to obtain what you have to admit is a pretty easily recognizable RWB feel on the 997 platform. Check out the size of the lip on the RWB wheel.
And from the candy red convertible, Blair…
…We go to the flat red Philadelphia (AKA Phila).
As Nakai was lining up the cars in front of the shop for me, I asked him whether the addition of the canards, duck tail and the gray wheels meant this was a sportier execution.
His reply was interesting.
He told me he finalized the overall style and feel as it if was a hip sneaker, adding the contrasting flat gray accents to the canards and the wing profiles.
The idea here is to give two contrasting examples of how this conversion can be interpreted. It suits the more relaxed and elegant feel of the cabriolet very well, doing away with wings or any type of aerodynamic addition, and even the ‘idlers’ stencil on the tire sidewalls.
At the same time you can bring out the inherent track-going nature that the kit naturally oozes and emphasize it in a variety of ways.
But now, after you’ve had a chance to see this kit from the initial stages all the way to a finished and fitted product, I want to hear your thoughts on it. Don’t be shy, even though I’m pretty sure you won’t be.
And just in case you’re wondering what I think of it all, I will simply say that I do like where Nakai is going with this, but I really want to see what other iterations he comes up with – perhaps something less bulbous and, dare I say it, safe.
In other words, I’ll be happy when I see an aggressively-widened RWB 997 Turbo with 900hp, running stacked wings, canards, fender winglets, and pulling 55-second laps at Tsukuba. Long live the world of rough.
Dino Dalle Carbonare