Akira Nakai, the artisan builder who pours emotion, and soul into his creations is undoubtedly the king of widebody Porsches. Over the past decade I have been blessed to have spent a lot of time with him, whether at a circuit, or just the two of us sitting in front of his kerosene heater at the workshop. To those on the outside looking in, RWB may just be another tuning phenomenon. I however have been lucky to see another side of RWB – the human element.
I have said it before and I will say it again, what makes Nakai-san so incredible is that he has united thousands of people from all corners of the world, has allowed people to cross paths, make memories, and most importantly form new friendships. This, my fourth and final blogpost on the New Zealand build is going to show the human element of our very own week that was.
A large portion of the media you will see is captured on cellphones, because lets be honest, the true laughs happen when you aren’t focussing on light, ISO, f-stop or framing. It is off the cuff, un-posed, and usually a bit blurred due to hustling to unlock your phone, and turn the camera on before the moment passes you by.
This is a collective of images from Facebook, RWB family blogs, cellphones, and other random nooks and crannies of the interweb, which aims to show you the human side of our RWB 001 & 002 build.
We came from Seattle, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Hamilton, Wellington, and the lower half of the South Island. We had an awesome spread of people, which truly is the RWB way. It all started with a promise, which led to another circle of people meeting, and a further expansion to the family.
I have always wanted to show Nakai-san what the real New Zealand was about. There was three aspects to the NZ build that were an absolute must, a peaceful location, a killer view, and good food. Location was fantastic, and the food was top shelf. Ants knew just the man for the job, Luke (pictured above) was the talented chef producing the amazing spreads of food each day. Great food and great company are two of lifes simplest yet greatest pleasures.
It was to be a week of firsts. The first time New Zealand had a Japanese tuner of this calibre here crafting his own work, the first time Nakai-san would enjoy a steak and cheese pie, and the first time he would see the star laiden New Zealand sky. Something tells me however it wasn’t the first time the neighbours found hot blown-up potato in their backyard though…Click click boom!
We enlisted the services of two very talented media, Spyro Serepisos on video, and Zahid Kasim on photos. Spyro filmed by day, and edited by night to ensure each day there was a fresh clip ready for people to watch. Zahid quietly captured the key moments and then created spectacular imagery of the man and the machines.
We were also blessed to have the RWB Australia family over to celebrate the dual build alongside everyone. Thank-you for making the trip over to be with us and witness the birth of RWB New Zealand.
Many don’t know, but the New Zealand build was also documented by a film crew from Japan. Mori-san, Takasuna-san, Koizumi-san and Kashiwagi-san of Mondo TV were also experiencing New Zealand for the first time, with some local Japanese help in the form of Takeshi, it was truly special to have you all with us for the build fellas! みんなさん来てくれてありがとうございました！
I can only begin to imagine the emotions of having Nakai-san working to create a bespoke piece of art just for me. As with many RWB owners, finding the words to describe the experience is not an easy thing to do, and being able to share that with your closest friends is a feeling to treasure forever. Ants and Nan were able to do just that with a group of friends as well as people who played roles in the preparation of the cars too.
Ladies and gentleman, the legendary (and now famous in the Manawatu) Royce.
The days were filled with bright sunlight, and the nights with soothing music floating across the still country air. Whether it was 8am in the morning, or 10pm at night, the vibe was the same, people were laughing, and soaking in the experience. Of all blogposts, this one is without a doubt the most difficult one to write. My RWB experience is one I have always had difficulty explaining to people, hearing the phrase ‘now I understand what you have been trying to explain to me all these years’ from my friends was such a satisfying feeling.
I have to give a shoutout to Lance as well here, the seagull whisperer himself built me up this LED light for the build. One thing I have observed while Nakai-san travels all over the globe, is that no matter where he is, he personalises his workspace and makes it his own. This carbon copy of the LED light that hangs in the headquarters, allowed us to bring a little bit of his space to our space.
Upon completion of RWB 002 the whole crew rolled the Porsches out, pushed the hangar doors closed and we made a spontaneous trip to Kapiti beach. Unplanned, and unsure of what we would do upon arriving it was coffee, icecreams, and a quick snooze in the sun for Nakai-san.
We also had a visit from our local law enforcement, officer Luke is a self-professed car lover and his spontaneous visit was enjoyed by everyone. A few photos, and a ride in Waikato made the experience as memorable for him as it was for all of us.
A huge thank-you has to go out to James, Josh and all the Mangin family for the kind loan of their helicopter hangar, this became home for everyone over the six day build. I think I speak for everyone when I say that your hangar isn’t just a hangar anymore, it will forever echo the laughter, and good vibes from the build.
After building two cars back to back, Nakai-san finished off the build by getting to give both a shakedown on the local circuit after a public meet and greet.
To finish off this final post, there was one image taken by Zahid that felt so appropriate to end with. A quiet moment Nakai-san enjoyed all on his own at Manfeild.
It had been a hugely successful week, New Zealand had finally joined the international RWB family, and I got a chance to hang out with one of my best friends in New Zealand after promising him we would ten years earlier. The New Zealand build was bucket-list not just for Nakai-san, but myself too.
Waikato & Hekigyoku are stunning works of art for Nakai-san to leave with us, although months after the build when you talk to the people who were there, funnily enough there is one common thing we still tell each other – ‘damn I miss those guys and gals…’
Until next time New Zealand…it truly has been a pleasure.