A Private Tour of RAUH-Welt Begriff…


We are gonna go ahead and take things out of sequence for once and leap forward in time since I have so many photos from Attack Tsukuba to post soon. The Vlog featuring my visit to RWB went live yesterday and it generated a pretty good response, considering it isn’t something I typically cover here on The Chronicles. Because people seem to enjoy the visit so much on video, I figured now would be a good time to post-up the photos before they get lost in the shuffle of all the Attack Tsukuba content coming. I don’t want there to be a huge gap in-between, especially being that there aren’t too many photos to post anyway and the visit is fresh in our collective minds. This visit wasn’t anything I really expected to do and one of the real surprises of all my trips to Japan this year, or maybe ever…

If you guys haven’t seen my post on Instagram a few weeks back and have not sat down to watch the Vlog yet, this is how it all went down: During the week I was in Japan for Attack Tsukuba, we stayed around the Chiba area because the JDMYARD Civic was being worked on at our friend Masa Chiba’s shop, X-Point. Tsukuba Circuit wasn’t too far away so it was the most convenient place to store the car and for the guys from Australia to prep their Civic. Yasu made the 7-hour drive from Osaka to come help out and since we were both technically coming from out-of-town, we decided to share a hotel together. On our way to X-Point one morning from the hotel, we were driving through Kashiwa city and I noticed an empty dirt lot filled with RAUH-Welt Porsches. I pointed it out to Yasu and as we drove-up closer, I realized that they weren’t just sitting there for no reason, it was actually the dirt lot next to RAUH-Welt Begriff….yes…THE RAUH-Welt Begriff. I knew RWB was located in the Chiba prefecture but had no idea we were so close to it. It was closed that morning and who knows when or if Nakai is ever even there so we didn’t stop. There was a lot to do at X-Point anyway so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to just stop and bullshit, you know? I thought it was cool that RWB was just right there but didn’t think much of it…

Fast-forward a few days after Attack Tsukuba and it was already time for me to go back home to California. The night before my flight, Yasu had to leave home to Osaka because he had a photoshoot with ‘Honda Style magazine’ the following day. Since he left early, Masa came to pick me up to grab some lunch before driving me to the airport. We grabbed some Ramen and some coffee from Starbucks after, but there were a few hours to spare before I had to be at the airport so Masa asked me what I wanted to do. I grabbed my phone, searched “RWB” to see how far it was from where we had lunch, and sure enough, it was just 11 minutes away. “Let’s go to RWB”, I told him and he had never been there either, even though he was so close to it, so we decided to check it out…

There was a 99% chance they were going to be closed, I thought anyway, because Akira Nakai is constantly traveling all over the world to build these magnificent Porsches. He’d most likely be in the U.S. or something and even when you check his shop hours, it says Monday through Sunday hours are ’12PM to 4AM’. That doesn’t even sound realistic. I mean, those are my hours at my own office but I don’t exactly have visitors or walk-in customers. It was cool enough that there are so many RWB builds just parked outside anyway so I thought it’d be really cool to just get some photos of it in their natural environment outside. How crazy is it that these cars just sit outside everyday no matter what season? It’s like the middle of winter and these Porsches, which are normally revered and idolized everywhere they go, are literally just sitting in a dirt lot in Chiba. If you’re not familiar, Chiba is like the Japanese countryside of Tokyo. They’re known for their rice fields and for Unagi, or Eel. Somewhere in the countryside is a small shop that birthed a worldwide movement of Porsche tuning. Even with all his success, Nakai has never moved. He’s still in the same little shop where he started. And to be perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure he lives there…

So we got into Masa’s Accord and drove about ten minutes over to RWB. As expected, it wasn’t open. The large gate was closed, you’d think it was abandoned just driving by because it is so quiet, and the same RWB Porsche 911s that I saw a few days ago were still sitting in the exact same spot. It almost looked as if everything was frozen in time. I thought it’d make for some cool photos being that it was so quiet and everything just sort of stood there, lifeless. We pulled-up to the dirt lot, got out and I did my thing. I walked around with my GoPro Hero7, did some filming and then grabbed my Canon dSLR to snap some photos. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but…well…it’s RWB. The limited things I was exposed to was more than enough already…

Being the ever-helpful Japanese tour guide that he was, Masa Chiba decided to call and see if anyone was there to show us around. The phone rang…and rang….and rang. No answer—as expected. I told him that it was fine, I didn’t really expect to go inside and just wanted to grab some content outside. It’d make for a nice little video piece if anything just showing that we saw RWB and stopped to show all the Porsches just sitting there. We walked around and kinda looked at everything. Nakai has A LOT of stuff just sitting outside. You have to remember that he’s always been here at this location and any shop owner, hell, any car enthusiast knows that you just collect so many parts over time that you just eventually run out of places to put them…

A few minutes later, someone opens the door and casually walks outside…

It was Akira Nakai…

I think he just woke up…

Masa greets him and then I walk up to him, tell him I’m actually visiting from California, and Nakai says “I know…”

“I have to go to the bank, I’ll be back in…maybe…ten minutes?” he says.

And then he hopped into his modded Kei-car on Work Wheels and went on his way. I wasn’t sure if that meant that he’d actually come back or not, or whether or not that meant he wanted us to wait for him. I didn’t want to be rude in case he was actually going to come back and go out of his way to rush back to show us around, so we stayed. I just shot some more photos and sure enough, ten minutes later, he pulled-up. Nakai unlocked the door to his shop and told us to come inside…

It should be noted that I had seen Nakai plenty of times before, being that he was always in California or Vegas, but we’d never actually spoken. I’ve just been one of the guys in the crowd watching him do his work while he’s building any RWB in particular. He had no idea who I was I’m sure, but he just let me in and pretty much just told me that I could do whatever I wanted. So I walked around and gave myself a tour of RAUH-Welt Begriff. While I was doing that, he just sat down, ate some bread, and checked his email. Masa and Nakai chatted for a bit, and as it turns out, he was on his way to California the following day. Call it luck or whatever you want, but we just caught him there at the right place and time. The chances of him being there were pretty unlikely on most days. I guess some things really do just fall into place sometimes…

I didn’t want to stay long and get in his way, so we left not long after. As he was working on the new 997 kit, I told him ‘thank you and goodbye’ and he wished me a safe flight before we parted ways. What a cool experience.

Here are the photos…

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Here’s the closest thing I got to capturing the perspective of what Yasu and I saw the first day we passed by RWB. Being that it is in the countryside, the shop is just next to a narrow two-way road without sidewalks or anything. There’s also a blind corner where the entrance to the shop is so if you stood by RWB Violetta right there and weren’t paying attention, somebody driving by could definitely run you over…

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Next to his shop space is a dirt lot filled with RWB builds both finished, unfinished, or somewhere in-between. Some look like they had been there for awhile and would probably never be finished…

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I don’t know if this particular 964 convertible has a nickname like many others, but it was the first time I’d seen this RWB cabriolet and it looked great with a red top and Fuchs-inspired wheels…

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I always enjoy the odd little quirks of RWB and the pop-culture inspired quotes he puts his own twist on…

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“ROUGH” brakes on the 964 cab…

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RWB Ramintra Version 2 “Heavenly” is one of Nakai’s personal cars so it makes sense why it sits outside of his lot next to one of his Kei-cars…

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RAUH-Welt Begriff Violetta, parked next to Nakai’s Dodge Van…

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The weathered RAUH-Welt sign hanging outside…

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The front door of RWB, which has undoubtedly welcomed many a visitor over the years…

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One of my personal favorites which I got plenty of photos of a few months back during the annual RWB Party in Roppongi, Natty Dread Jr., which is one of Nakai’s dedicated track cars…

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The man does love his Stella Artois…

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Speaking of Stella Artois, Nakai’s first RWB 930, the world famous “Stella Artois” sits right outside packed in the middle of a trio of his Porsches…

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A pile of OEM Porsche body panels and various aftermarket parts just sitting outside undisturbed…

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A ‘rough’ Work Wheel sans tire bearing the RAUH-Welt logo sitting on the floor by the front entrance…

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The face of Natty Dread Jr…

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Good to see RWB Stella Artois is still alive and well…

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Though some would say that it could use some love and attention…

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The inside of RAUH-Welt is quite spectacular actually, and a true man-cave, decorated throughout, almost a complete opposite of what you’d expect from seeing the weathered exterior…

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There’s an area where you can just sit down and chill, smoke some cigars, or play a game of billiards. Next to the pool table are three other RWB Porsches of various types…

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RAUH-Welt Begriff Charlene…

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RWB 993 Adriana…

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…and the turbocharged RWB 993 Rotana…

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So many cool knick-knacks just on display inside Nakai’s man-cave, including this ‘Idlers’ tire stencil…

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A dart board mounted against a wall of empty Stella Artois beer bottles…

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Look up at the ceiling and you’ll find RAUH-Welt memorabilia from all over the world pinned to it…

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I wonder if there is any specific order in which he decides to park his Porsches. Like, is there a preference as to which ones stay outside and which ones get to sit comfortably inside?…

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While I was walking around, he directed Masa and I to an upstairs nook, which he built personally for his customers to stay in when they visit from out of town. It’s a cozy little spot with a low ceiling and bare wood walls…

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The area is fully-furnished with two beds including for overnight stay…

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His latest project is this Porsche 997 convertible, which he was creating the kit for while we walked around. You can see a paint booth in the background. Further back behind the booth is a room where I think he sleeps whenever he is there…

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It’s always cool to see Nakai work, but even better to see him in his natural environment when there isn’t a hoard of people surrounding him with cameras. He almost looks at peace doing what he does best with his music blaring over the speakers and no conversation…

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What a great surprise it was to stop by and have Akira Nakai greet me and allow me to invade his personal space. Much obliged and a huge thank you to him, though he’ll probably never see this, haha. I hope you enjoyed the personal look inside as much as I did. Thanks for looking.

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1 comment

  1. Charlene, Adriana, & Rotana… RWB has great taste in women!

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