It was 4 days since Nakai-san had landed at Palmerston North airport, and already Nan was tearing the application tape off his RWB window banner on Hekigyoku. It had been 96 hours filled with laughter, camaraderie, spud guns, Jack made a few appearances, and the police had visited us.
Photo: Zahid Kasim – No Equal Co.
We had ticked pretty much everything off the list that needed to be done. There was however one thing that remained.
It was time for a quick afternoon roadtrip, and after causing a traffic jam at BP, and plenty of people had converged to snap photos, we managed to continue on our merry way. Now that both cars were finished there was only one more day before the RWB family would depart ways.
Photo: Zahid Kasim – No Equal Co.
Although for the time being, the sun was shining and with Waikato & Hekigyoku showing the way, we were all Wellington-bound with cameras, gimbles, and people hanging out any available windows in the chase cars hoping to capture a memorable snap of the cars cruising along the highways of New Zealand.
Our destination was Kapiti beachfront to enjoy a coffee in the sun. A few lucky bystanders who happened upon the afternoon caffeine stop were treated to a pre-unveil glimpse of 001 & 002. It was the perfect way to celebrate the birth of the two cars as a family, and also a great excuse to show Nakai-san, Christian, and Toshi a little bit of New Zealand.
Hot summer sun, sea breeze, a flat white and this for our view. Life doesn’t get any better than that.
Now fast forward a further 48 hours. It is 9pm and as I am standing in the hangar with James it finally has hit home that the build is done and dusted. The laughter has been replaced with silence, the soft radio music no longer floats through the air, and the Waikato draught and Jack Daniels has finally dried up. Memories of the build are everywhere you look, the piston ashtray crammed full of Nakai-sans cigarette butts, the neatly lined up Jack Daniels bottles, and a banner Nakai-san tagged with red spray-paint overlooks the hangar, and serves as a reminder of the 144 hours that passed seemingly in the blink of an eye.
As we locked up the hangar that night my role in the build had changed from facilitator to babysitter. Now don’t get me wrong, while there was a tinge of sadness in the air, I was more than happy about my new role in the build that was RWB New Zealand.
There was still a couple of things to take care of such as final video and photo work, and any attempts to sneak out to location undetected were rather fruitless.
In true RWB fashion, the cars stuck out like dogs balls, especially in a place like Palmerston North. The coolest thing was all the big smiles, and plenty of thumbs up from those who were stopped in their tracks which proved that you don’t need to be a hardcore car fanatic to appreciate what RWB brings to the table.
In true Kiwi fashion, New Zealand was fashionably late to the RWB party, but we certainly arrived with a hiss and a roar.
Having two very different animals in the stable was the most special part of the build for many. While Nan’s ‘Hekigyoku’ is a royal-wide show stopper, the older sibling (by 20 hours only) is a slightly different animal.
‘Waikato’ is a custom-prepped track car and was sporting the traditional RWB kit with champion wing on the rear deck, with Work M1s wrapped in semi-slick rubber.
While our talented videographer Spyro finished getting his shots, having a couple of weeks and a few of opportunities to drive the cars for me was the icing on the cake to wind up one heck of an event. RWB had well and truly landed in New Zealand, and the finished products were simply stunning. It had been a magical 6 days with amazing people. As the sun set on the event, sitting back watching the orange rays of sunlight smother Waikato, it was a fitting finish on RWB New Zealand 001 & 002.
As proud as everyone was to have two of Nakai-sans masterpieces sitting in the land of the long white cloud, the real show-stopper was the company of those in attendance, and the experiences they offered up. In my fourth and final blog, I will be highlighting some of the highlights, and the individuals who were present at the build which is truly the most amazing aspect of what RWB is. Nakai-san is an artist who creates bespoke pieces of art, but he also has an uncanny ability to bring together people from all walks of life who are bound by one common interest. Without a doubt, this ability is what sets Nakai-san and RWB apart from the others.