RWB New Zealand – Paying it back a bit more

After the emotional unveil of Waikato, a new day had dawned and rather than all parting ways, we were ready to start the rollercoaster all over again.  RWB 001 was in the books, and now it was time for Nan’s 964 to get the special Nakai-san treatment.

1Both 001 and 002 started life out as 4WD 964s, yet both are very different beasts.  001 is adorned with the classic RWB kit, while 002 has a ‘go wide to win’ philosophy, and carries the 964 royal-wide fender kit.

2Anyone who knows Nakai-san well already knows how important food is to him.  In my experience laughter is finest where the food is best, and this certainly was the case for the NZ build.  Chef Luke did a spectacular job of the food, and ensured that we had plenty of ‘Kiwi tucker’ to keep Nakai-san smiling and the laughter flowing.

_MG_0161While sitting back after a good feed of proper Kiwi food, Nakai-san would relax in his chair and light up his cigarette while just eyeballing his work.  Nakai-san constantly strives to keep his craft as close to perfection as possible despite the time constraints.  It is impossible not to be inspired by this man.

3I have discussed “chasing perfection” with Nakai-san before, and I loved his reply. “Perfection is unattainable, however trying to make every build as close as possible to perfection is the fun and motivation behind building cars.”  As the build stepped forward and everyone was left gobsmacked by the craftsmanship Nakai-san always took time and personally evaluated his work, then evaluated it again, and again.  This man never does things by halves.

4Seeing the love and dedication he has for what he does is a rare quality in this day and age.  Nakai-san embodies the concept of ‘love the life you live, and live the life you love’.

5While Nakai-san continued working on his creation in the hangar, the urge to give 001 a little shakedown was too tempting for Ants.  The smiles on the faces of those watching from the road were huge, I just wish I could see Ants face inside the car!

6Seeing a car evoke that kind of reaction out of everyone standing along the road is exactly what a beautiful car should do.  Little occurrences such as this serve as a brilliant reminder of why we all fell in love with cars in the first place.

7The locals had never seen such a beautiful sight up their road, and the little shakedown attracted their attention, as well as officer Luke.  Luke was clearly as much of a car fanatic as anyone else, so to have Nakai-san, Luke, and the RWB family all on the helipad chatting about the car and sharing laughs was a very memorable moment of the build.  Of course it would have been rude not to throw him into the car for a quick ride too.  As Christian said, “In this rough RAUH world we can become friends, and we can become a family.”  Some times our best friends just show up unannounced wanting to come and say hello.

Spyro Serepisos who has created all the amazing RWB NZ videos captured our chance encounter in the video below:

8After 001 got Luke’s seal of approval, Nakai-san was once again back into it.  Everyone was itching to see Nan’s custom-made wheels fitted to the car and see 002 hit the concrete for the first time since it was put up on axle stands.

9With all the fenders attached, the car looked super super wide, and without wheels you were reminded of just how much room there now was underneath those royal fenders.

10It didn’t take long before Nakai-san put us all out of our misery.  The finishing touches were put on the kit, to ensure there would be no rubbing and then the tyres were stencilled up with the iconic ‘Idlers’ graphic.  All that awaited was the finishing touches, and then the name to be revealed.

IMG_0892As Nan peeled the window banner off, we welcomed RWB NZ 002.  The car was named ‘Hekigyoku’ which is a kind of Jade and has a special link to Nan’s son Jasper.

12The fourth day had now drawn to a close, Hekigyoku was put back up on axle stands so the suspension could be fine tuned to achieve the exact stance Nan was after.  Taking a moment out on the helipad to soak it all in, Waikato lurking in the shadows, and Hekigyoku having the finishing touches added all amounted to a very surreal moment.

After 4 years of chasing and waiting, the opportunity to pay Nakai-san back with one build was incredible, but getting the chance to back it up with a second build was the icing on the cake.  Now next time we catch up he won’t have to ask me “when am I going to be able to try New Zealand lamb?” Rather it will be “when am I next going to be able to eat New Zealand lamb?”

Bonus images

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