I’ve never had an office job, or even worked for a big company, so I’ve never experienced the joy of a work Xmas party. This year I snuck into RWB’s, to see what all the fuss is about.
Before excitedly browsing online for a Porsche-themed Christmas jumper, silly red nose and an oversized novelty Santa hat, I should have read the fine print. This was an invite-only, ¥10,000 (approx USD$75) per head, civilised function, not a boozy knees-up. The steep entry fee kept the riff-raff out, unless of course you came wielding a camera and happen to work for Speedhunters.
It wasn’t just a RWB event though. Its official name was the ‘RMPKU End Year Party’, RMPKU being an acronym for RWB, M’s Machine Works, Pandem, Kamiwaza Japan and Ultimate Garage. This joint Xmas party of sorts was held at Ultimate Base – a modern facility in Hachioji, Tokyo that combines a Porsche-centric used car sales showroom (Ultimate Garage) and a motorsport-themed cafe and bar (Ultimate Cafe) upstairs.
I was as excited as Rudolf on December 24th to attend the function, but I should have known better. Because while the Japanese love a good party as much as anyone else does, they don’t really do Christmas.
Fair enough for a nation of Buddhists, but considering all the Christmas decorations, trees and paraphernalia on sale in Japan these days, you’d think they might be a bit more Christmassy. I’m not asking them to convert to Christianity, but maybe give a few more presents to each other and try eating something a bit better than KFC for Christmas dinner.
All is forgiven though, because what the Japanese do know how to do properly, is build a Porsche. And not just any Porsche. Wider than yo mamma, go-faster-than-KFC-on-Christmas-Eve-in-Japan Porsches. Believe me, that’s fast.
My first stop was the Ultimate Garage showroom floor, where there was plenty to look at. Some of the cars here are just on display, while others are for sale. There are a row of container-style, lock-up garages outside too, precious 911-shaped things inside them no doubt.
Personally, I could not take my eyes off this early 964 RWB creation. The moulded arches’ proportions effortlessly transform the car as if it were designed like this from the beginning. For me, this style better showcases the sheer brilliance of Nakai-san’s craftsmanship, compared to the bolt-on-overfender cars.
Ironically enough, it’s the clean, smooth and polished cars which I love, which is the complete opposite of the ‘Rough World’ ethos that Nakai-san lives by. That said, even his most refined cars still have an imperfect edge. I suppose they’re like supermodels – beautiful, but there’s something a bit weird about them too.
After watching a Joker-prepped 992 being driven onto a low loader, I thought it was time to join the party upstairs. The Ultimate Cafe has racing simulators and an RC circuit setup, and I was hoping someone would let me have a go at the latter.
Well, there was no RC circuit setup, and I’m lucky I didn’t pull the trigger on that Christmas jumper and novelty Santa hat because the party was all very gentlemanly. Instead of games of Xmas Twister to the tune of Wham’s Last Christmas, it was more affogatos and top-shelf whisky to the sound of racing sims in the background.
So I very quietly had a quick peek around, before heading back outside to the carpark with all the old cars, where I knew I’d feel much more at home.
Considering the severity of drink driving laws in Japan, it’s no wonder not everyone drove their car to the gathering. But the few who had opted to trade spirits for spirited driving, brought along some beauties.
This colourful pair looked more like restomods from Singer than your typical RWB track hog. Both had nods to the international presence RWB has, as well as fellow Porsche royalty, Magnus Walker.
I love some of the names that are bestowed to Nakai-san’s builds. I like to imagine he was chilling at home with a nice curry when he dreamed up this one, QEEMA being a kind of spiced minced meat from Pakistan. But as usual, I was drawn towards the oddball sitting quietly cool over in the corner.
I think you could probably graft a slant nose onto anything and it would look amazing. Tell me a car that wouldn’t look cool with a sleek front end like a flachbau Porsche… This one has a mint green custom interior to boot. It’s got Speedhunters feature car written all over it, so watch this space.
Around this point of the evening it started to rain, and I could smell my dinner waiting for me at home. As I headed back towards the freeway, I noticed a low, wide, silver RWB Porsche heading in the opposite direction. Nakai-san was arriving fashionably late, as any proper superstar does.
This was really just a warm up for the RWB New Year Party at Tokyo Auto Salon time, for which the RAUH-Welt Begriff crew has something very special planned. Naturally, we’ll be there to bring you all the tasty treats.