RWB RED CARPET
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF THE RWB MOVIE
Yes, it was a premiere, but it was a premiere with a difference — as the first showing of Life after Birth to 12 Hours of Racing was as exclusive as the cars on which it focuses.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Akira Nakai was an unknown face, quietly working away in suburban Kashiwa in a dimly lit workshop, crafting fibreglass widebody air-cooled Porsches. Little did we know when we first met him in 2006 that the next 11 years would see a vast transition for this man of few words, and the king of ‘fat porkers’ would go from being an fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) master to a truly international automotive phenomenon.
Automotive movie masterpieces are certainly not commonplace, and while RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB) is no stranger to the world of video — each build seems to have its own video diary floating around on YouTube — the release of Life after Birth to 12 Hours of Racing was a first. Chern Wong, who heads up RWB Australia, decided on a different route to document his own experience, and thank goodness he did, because the final product is nothing short of a masterpiece. Unlike many of the RWB videos produced to date, this was presented the way a motion picture should be — in a cinema with surround sound and a big box of popcorn, but this was a one-time affair. It was always intended to remain exclusive, just like the process Nakai-san follows when he builds: the film will remain restricted and will be absent from mainstream media.
So, on March 25, Melbourne Imax buzzed to the sight and sound of RWB. The three Kiwi cars joined their Aussie brothers on display in central Melbourne, and Nakai flew out from Japan to celebrate the event. RWB always talks about the ‘family’ aspect, and in a true show of solidarity and support for Chern’s hard work, we were joined by RWB family from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, and as far away as Poland.
Having 400 people all in the same room, united by the same passion for Nakai-san’s art, created an atmosphere that words simply
can’t describe. As the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed, the spectacle began with a shot in which you seem to be the passenger alongside Nakai, as he darts through the narrow streets of Kashiwa in his own RWB. The best thing about the movie is that it places viewers in the centre of the story, and you truly feel as if you are experiencing everything as if you are actually there. The film is split into two parts, the first being the creation of ‘Southern Cross’, the first RWB in Australia. Watching the birth of an RWB is cool, but watching it happen while Chern explains the emotion involved was enough to send shivers down even the staunchest person’s spine. It also documented the post-birth life of Southern Cross, with Eiji ‘Tarzan’ Yamada pounding it around Eastern Creek at the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC), and Magnus Walker driving the car, along with a raft of public displays that it has attended. The second part focuses on the iconic Idlers 12 Hour Enduro that Nakai puts on for the family each year at Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Seven Porches were prepared at the workshop, before owners and family from around the world gathered and convoyed out to the circuit to race the 12-hour. A perfect soundtrack roared from the speakers in the cinema as RWBs rolled in and out of convenience-store car parks and up highways — the angry crackle of exhausts and the red glare of brake lights disappearing around winding mountain roads had everyone frozen on the spot.
Many fans know a lot about the process of RWB, yet only a lucky few get to see the inner circle and the strength of family feeling involved. A number of viewers found this was the most mind-blowing aspect of the experience. Not too many people do after-sales service and customer care like Nakai-san does, and many who entered the cinema as a fan left with a heightened appreciation for the process, the passion, and the inspiration that RWB brings to the tuning world.
The event finished off with a 45-minute meet-and-greet at which fans were able to get up close to the man behind the brand. Nakai patiently sat signing autographs on everything from mobile phones to skateboards and posed for photos with fans to ensure nobody missed out. Only when the last person got their photo and signature did he then head outside to enjoy some sunshine and another cigarette.
Basking in the serene Melbourne sun and sitting back with six of his New Zealand and Australian creations on show, you could see he was in his happy place. While his eyes moved from one car to another, he was still analysing and reflecting on his work.
As with any RWB experience, this was a special kind of journey rather than a happening, and this is true for every build, just as it is for the film that Chern and his team produced. A labour of love for two years culminated in 45 minutes of cinematic brilliance that left viewers walking out of the cinema really feeling something on an emotional level.
For the humble man from Kashiwa, who doesn’t truly understand the magnitude of what he has created, it was so fitting to see his unwavering dedication immortalized on the silver screen. Many who came had expected to merely witness a film about RWB, but they were treated to a personalized insight into the true spirit of the inner workings of the family that is RWB. Nakai brands all his creations with the phrase ‘secondary development’ or ‘Zweite Entwicklung’. In many ways, too, this movie is a symbolic enactment of exactly that. The passion that Nakai has for his work has found secondary development in others: the master of widebody FRP is now a master of the film screen.