RWB: Rauh Welt downunder

Posted in Cars, People
RWB finally hits our shores with not a one-car but a two-car build. Introducing Waikato and Hekigyoku — a pair of super-fine Porsche 964s

We usually like to begin our articles here at NZ Performance Car by using some cleverly constructed sentences explaining exactly why you should read on, or by outlining the unique precursors that set a particular build in motion. But explaining something like RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB) is much easier done with visual aids, so if you could all please take two seconds to drool over the opening image of the very first two New Zealand–built RWB 964s, we can get that part of the process out of the way. Right! Now that you understand where we are coming from, let’s dig a little deeper into the latest additions to the growing RWB family. 

Like each and every RWB that came before them, these two were hand built by Akira Nakai, the creative force behind RWB. NZ Performance Car was first introduced to the man behind them by our Japan correspondent, Aaron Mai. Nakai’s unique approach to building customer cars and his persona have since captured the world’s imagination. His profile has exploded since those early days, but his process remains much the same, so you can’t just wake up one day, order a bunch of RWB parts, and build one yourself— it’s just not that simple. In fact, in true art fashion, it’s kind of hard to even get on the very long waiting list for a car, which helps maintain the brand’s exclusivity, and RWB cars remain one of those, ‘damn I want one’ kinds of vehicle. 

Dreaming about owning one and then actually setting the wheels in motion to get Akira Nakai down to New Zealand to build the thing are two completely different scenarios. However, two Waikato-based guys can now say they possess the first RWB Porsches in the country. It’s been four years in the making, and plenty of blood sweat and tears, but ‘Waikato’ and ‘Hekigyoku’ are the results of that hard slog. 

It all began for Anthony Wong, owner of Waikato, just after he finished the build of his K20 Civic (April 2012 issue of NZ Performance Car). He explained, “I’ve always chatted to Aaron online, but I had never met him. It was when I actually met him in person, just after I had finished the Civic about four or five years ago. He suggested that it was about time that I step up my game, sell the Civic, and take on a new project. I just laughed and asked what he reckoned the next step was: his reply suggested the only logical step was an RWB. So, he kind of put the idea in my head. He explained that one of Nakai’s dreams was to have a car on every continent, and New Zealand was high on that list. I thought, jeez, really, he wants to come here to build one?” 

The funny thing about thought seeds like this is they have a tendency to grow, and if you know Anthony (and if you don’t, you’ll probably know his chicken), you’ll appreciate that he is a very driven individual who makes shit happen. Two years later, he had sold the Civic and enough wings to buy the base car. But finding the perfect base when it’s a Porsche in New Zealand is not an easy task. “I was looking for a C2 right-hand drive, but they are very rare in New Zealand. There were lots of C2s, but they were either Tiptronic or left-hand drive.” The search was also about finding the right car to chop up. He didn’t want something that was perfect; all he really needed was a good chassis, as the rest would be replaced anyway. “I found this car through my cousin, who used to own it, but sold it to buy his RS. So, there was a family history with the car. One of the big collectors of Porsches in New Zealand owned it and gave it to me at a sharp price before the major price hike for 911s.” 

It was a little rough around the edges, but that would all soon be forgotten, or so Ants thought — more on that later. Like many fans of RWB builds, it was Nakai’s personal 930 ‘Stella Artois’ that first grabbed Ant’s attention; however, for him, it was another Japan-based machine, ‘Good Hills Speed’, that cemented the deal and provided the inspiration. “That car was the classic 964 RWB,” Anthony said. “It had the classic wing, [and] the wheels and kit. It wasn’t showy; it was really practical — he could take it to the track, [and] he could drive it daily. Right from the start, it was the plan to build one similar.”

Ants didn’t know it at the time, but he would soon have a fellow H-Town local, Nan Su, put his hand up to have one built too. Nan said, “I have always loved Porsches, and wanted an RWB for about 10 years now. I was looking to buy a red RWB that was for sale in Japan. I rung Ants to see what he thought, and he said, why buy one that was built for someone else? Build your own one, as Nakai-san is coming to New Zealand.” That was all the arm-twisting he needed, and the deal was put together to add another build to Nakai’s New Zealand visit. Like Ants, Nan was a fan of the 964 shape, so he began the hunt for his base car. “I was quite lucky, as when I was looking, one was on Trade Me. I went and looked at it, and it was all good, so I started bidding on the auction, but I lost. But there was a guy in Christchurch who saw me bidding, and [he] hit me up and asked if I would like to buy his C4.” 

It was now around eight months before Nakai was due to land, so the two builds were kicked into high gear. But though both are RWB 964s, they have gone down very different paths. Take the engine in Ant’s car, built by a local Porsche specialist — it’s what he describes as an RS Cup motor for the street: “Pretty much, I wanted a motor that … would be strong enough that I could give it a bit of a boot around the track, and then still be driveable, so I … could drive it around town. I was sick of building cars that were pigs to drive, even the Civic — some days, it would be a dream to drive and other days it would be an absolute dog. It’s those dog days that you don’t have fun driving it.

Even if it’s just driving from home to the shop or to go to work, you have to at least enjoy the drive. So, that was the key thing I told the engine builder.” In contrast, the motor in Nan’s car has been rebuilt to factory specs and will remain that way for many years. The car was built for his son, and he wants to leave any of those choices up to him once he is old enough: “My goal was to have it reliable. The only mods are the exhaust and the intake.” 

Where Nan’s car went to the wilder side was with the kit and fitment, and he opted for the much wider Royale rear guards. These are 100mm wider each side than the smaller (still massive) street guards on Waikato and put the 964’s arse somewhere in the vicinity of 2m wide. Nan also opted for air ride using AirREX bag-over-shocks which makes this RWB one of only three or four in the world to run air suspension. “As we are the AirREX distributor here in New Zealand, I was tossing up whether to go air ride or coilovers. But, as I wanted to get the car as low as possible and as wide as possible, air ride was the best option. It’s still practical when I want to drive it.” 

For both owners, the day it really sunk in that it was finally happening was when two very large boxes arrived, filled with everything Nakai would need when he landed. These were shipped straight to GT Refinishers, the team that would handle the panel and paint. 

First on the block was Nan’s car, which was finished off without any dramas in January. The dramas came when the delayed Waikato eventually rolled into the shop the week before the build. “When we originally looked at it, the paint wasn’t in the best nick, but Grant thought it would be OK to paint over. But, after getting into it, there was one layer that was reacting with everything, so we had no choice but to bare-metal the shell, only days before it was meant to be painted,” Anthony explained. But the drama was not over there, as a reaction within the paint pigment itself threw another spanner into the works, forcing a second respray at the 11th hour. But, just like an episode of OverHaulin’, both cars arrived in a ready state at the Manawatu-based barn for the build week.

This was thanks to a last-ditch effort by Greg at Midnight Upholstery, who worked through the night with Ants and co. to get the interior in before the shipment to Palmy. The joys of being the last in the chain! All that stress was pushed from memory, though, as soon as Nakai landed and the build week commenced. It was this process, watching a master like Nakai at work, that made these builds so memorable for both owners and those who attended.

“The build week was special,” Ants told us. “I think people who attended knew what RWB was, but they didn’t understand what it was, myself included. I think one of the guys who worked on the car asked what’s so hard about a bodykit, why do you need some Japanese joker to fly over to bolt this kit on? But it’s actually not just a bodykit. It’s one of the hardest things to explain — if you were there, you understood what it’s all about. You just saw how focused Nakai was. Everyone had a beer in hand, and a bottle of Jack was passed around daily. We also had a personal chef on hand, so food was on tap. But, looking at Nakai, he zoned all that out; he had his ciggies and his coffee. You would go up and have a chat, you would get a short one- or two-word answer, and then he would be back to focusing.”

For Nan, it was the working with Nakai: “It was pretty stressful getting all the last-minute stuff sorted before the build — like Ants only just finishing his car as we were loading them. But, as soon as the build started, it was really enjoyable to be standing on the side of Nakai-san and see him working. At the time, you just forget all that stress and everything, and can’t wait to see the car finished. That’s the reason we are already thinking about another one, as that week just went too quick.”

The end result is a pair of machines that both have very different personalities. On one hand, you have Waikato, with its RS engine, slightly narrower hips, functional stance, and half cage; on the other, you have Hekigyoku, which is more like a Kardashian — still fit as hell, but with some serious junk in that trunk, and some fun-bags to ensure it commands your attention. 
There is one thing for sure — all these years after RWB burst onto the world stage, it still has such an appeal. These pieces of automotive art are breathtaking. But, the best thing is, you don’t need to go to an art gallery to see them — you will be able to see them on a road near you really soon … 

RWB001 — Waikato
1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964) 


  • Engine: Porsche M64 flat 3600 air cooled
  • Block: Rebuilt by LM Automotive to RS Cup spec, new pistons, new rods, balanced crank
  • Head: RS cams, mild port and polish
  • Intake: RS intake, RS airbox
  • Exhaust: Fabspeed RSR system, Fabspeed headers, RSR muffler with twin tips
  • Fuel: Factory
  • Ignition: Factory
  • ECU: Steve Wong chip
  • Cooling:  Factory
  • Extra: Custom-painted air fan and housing by Helmart, deleted heater blowers and air-con units, zinc-plated brackets, powder-coated black components


  • Gearbox: Five-speed manual
  • Clutch: RS
  • Flywheel: RS
  • Diff: Factory


  • Struts: Bilstein PSS10 coilovers
  • Brakes: Goodridge braided lines (F) 993 Turbo four-pot calipers, 993 Turbo rotors (R) Factory
  • Extra: Rennline front strut bar, RS sway bars, RWB-spec alignment by Akira Nakai


  • Wheels: (F) Work Meister M1 — RWB-spec 18-x10.5-inch (-5) (R) Work Meister M1 — RWB spec 18-x13-inch (-38) 
  • Tyres: (F) Toyo R888 265/35R18 (R) Toyo R888 335/30R18


  • Paint: Bare-metal respray in PPG Porsche 997 GT3 RS Black Grey by GT Refinishers
  • Enhancements: Full RWB 964 kit fitted by Akira Nakai RWB, RWB wide street front bumper, RWB wide street front guards, RWB wide street rear guards, RWB wide street side skirts, RWB wide street rear bumper, RWB champion GT2 wing, RWB front canards, new head and tail lights, all-new rubber and seals throughout


  • Seats: Recaro TS-G, retrimmed by Midnight Upholstery to look like 1990 RS Recaro
  • Steering wheel: Momo
  • Instrumentation: Factory
  • Extra: Full retrim by Greg Mather of Midnight Upholstery in black leather with dark-grey alcantara and blood-red double stitching, genuine RS carbon door panels with RS pull straps, full RS carpet set, RS front belts, Garage Zeal half cage (metal flaked by GT Refinishers), Garage Zeal alloy floor plates

Power: 216kW (290hp) run in tune
Driver profile

  • Driver/owner: Anthony Wong
  • Age: Zero
  • Location: Hamilton
  • Occupation: Self employed
  • Build time: Six to eight months
  • Length of ownership: 18 months
  • Thanks: The main build partners — Akira Nakai of RWB Japan, Grant Wankler, Ben Phillips, Tyler Young, GT Refinishers Panel and Paint, AKL 09 526 0182, Luke at LM Automotive, Te Awamutu Porsche Specialist 07 871 8864, Greg Mather at Midnight Upholstery, Hamilton, 07 84 7203, Matt Stern and Scotty Wedlake at Garage Zeal, Declan Spooner-Knight at DLN Apparel, and official RWB Apparel outfitters —, Bryan Horsley at Audio Active, Hamilton, Tyler Richardson at, Brian Choate at The Porschaholic, Lance Streeter at Streeter Concepts, Mark Curran at Pixelsaurus, Jerry and Kimi Hunt at Big Brown Industries, Azhar at 4 and Rotary Promotions, Falgs and Chim at, Chern Wong at RWB Australia, Aaron and Chok at RWB NZ, Christian Coujin at RWB Seattle, Nan Su at The Bling Company Hamilton, Nathan Maisey at Maisey Harris and Co Hamilton, Gareth and Nige at Viking Motors Hamilton, Wongs Late Night — Victoria St Hamilton.

RWB 002 Hekigyoku
1990 Porsche 911 C4 (964)


  • Engine: Porsche 3600cc, flat six
  • Block: Forged crank
  • Head: Factory
  • Intake: GruppeM air-induction kit, heat shielding, carbon-fibre inlets, K&N filter
  • Exhaust: Fabspeed Maxflo header muffler, heat shielding
  • Fuel: Factory
  • Ignition: Twin spark with knock regulation
  • ECU: Factory
  • Cooling: Factory
  • Extra: DME controller


  • Gearbox: G64 five-speed manual
  • Clutch: 911 RS
  • Flywheel: 911 RS single-mass lightweight
  • Diff: Factory


  • Struts: AirREX bag over shock
  • Brakes: Factory
  • Extra: AirREX air management


  • Wheels: (F) 18x10-inch TBC forged three-piece, brushed polished face / chrome lip, or custom Avant Garde three-piece, brushed Grigio centre / polished liquid copper centre, (R) 18x13-inch TBC forged three-piece, brushed polished face / chrome lip, or custom Avant Garde three-piece, brushed Grigio centre / polished liquid copper centre
  • Tyres: 265/35R18 (R) Pirelli 335/30R18


  • Paint: Porsche Amethyst painted by GT Refinishers
  • Enhancements: RWB front bumper, RWB rear bumper, RWB front fenders, RWB Royale rear fenders with fender wings, RWB Champion wing, RWB front canards


  • Seats: Retrimmed by Midnight Upholstery
  • Steering wheel: Factory
  • Instrumentation: Factory
  • Extra: Full retrim by Midnight Upholstery

Power: Not dynoed
Driver profile

  • Driver/owner: Nan Su
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Hamilton
  • Occupation: Director at The Bling Company
  • Build time: Eight months
  • Length of ownership: Eight months
  • Thanks: Grant and Ben from GT Refinishers 09 526 0182, 38 Walls Road, Penrose, Auckland for the sick paint job, Greg from Midnight Upholstery 07 849 7203, 431 Te Rapa Rd, Hamilton for his magic on the leather seats and interior, Matthew and boys at The Bling Company 07 850 6036, 7 Northway St, Te Rapa, Hamilton for looking after the business so that I can make my dream come true, Luke from LM Motors to make the engine run smooth and sound nice, Anthony Wong from Wong’s Late Night, 188 Victoria Street, Boys from Team Cream, Circle Jerk Crew, Aaron Mai, Lawrence Chok, Falgoon Patel and Chim Patel from Speedmagnet

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of NZ Performance Car. Grab your print or digital copy below:

Marcus Gibson

Marcus Gibson has spent his life getting a little grease under his fingernails growing up with a fascination for all things loud, fast, and low. Growing up during the boom of the import scene, the last ten years have seen him work for a few publications, as well as running his own website before taking up a role at NZ Performance Car in 2011. Marcus is as at home with a keyboard or camera in-hand as he is getting dirty in his workshop or at the track, championing that Kiwi DIY attitude.