Early in June, we heard through the grapevine the great Akria Nakai would be coming to Miami to complete a new RWB car.
What started off as a 964 would then be turned into what is known as a "back date" getting the longer hood of a, pre 930 ,911 and a classic ducktail spoiler along with the unmistakeable RWB flares, the Idlers logo sprayed onto the tires, and that visceral old school race stance.
It all started at Parkhaus1, if you live in South Florida and own a Porsche and don't know about them, you're definitely doing something wrong. These guys are the most meticulous, dedicated people I have ever met. When you walk into Parkhaus1 you don't enter a dealer and service center, its more than that. Parkhaus is a family, and a business run by true Porsche aficionados. If you're ever in the market for a rare Porsche contact them; chances are, they'll have it.
Pictured here is a typical Monday scene from behind their location, but let's get back to the real reason we're here, Nakai-San.
As I walked in, I didn't know what to expect.
Would it be crowded?
Would I even get the chance to talk to him?
I had heard that he was a super cool guy, but still, it's Nakai-San. Having followed and admired his work for quite some time, I was nervous.
But then, there he was. Amidst the sounds of air tools going on, a shallow murmur of people talking as to not disturb Nakai, and 90's hip hop playing through the speakers, Nakai worked meticulously as he is known for doing forgetting all his surroundings constantly closing one eye to line up the body panels and going over each crease with his hand as a sculptor would do.
There I was, admiring his work, watching him sift through every nut and bolt scattered on the floor to find the next piece of the puzzle.
My first interaction with him?
"Flashlight" he said, not desperately, but with the tone of a man whose focus had been broken by himself forgetting something.
After what felt like forever, I quickly took out my phone, giving it to him as a flashlight to review his work. In that starstruck moment I managed to tell myself "Shoot this you idiot!" and I captured him with one of the 25 stickers we have worldwide.
Moving on, Nakai would continue to work going from corner to corner of the car making sure fitment was perfect, after all, his name and reputation are left on every single car he's built to date. Stopping only for his cigarette breaks, I figured that would be the time where I would approach him to get a couple questions in and talk about our site.
Covered in fiberglass dust from head to toe, Nakai would sit there, undisturbed by the rain that had been pouring all over Miami the past two days.
That's where I came in.
Having been a fan of his work for so long, I had seen him as an artist and I needed to talk to him.
Given, english is not his first language so I made sure to keep questions short as I didn't want him to get stuck trying to talk to me.
"Why did it start?" I asked.
"Natural. I don't think about it." he continued, "I don't have a plan, you know?"
Between puffs he'd continue telling me about how he started 20 years ago, solely for his passion and enjoyment. It was for his car at first, then people caught on to wanting his kits. Then I asked him the question that I had on my mind for the longest time...
"Do you consider yourself to be an artist?"
He chuckled, "Noooo no."
After all these builds, each one with a special name, none of which are the same as the other, with time, dedication, craftsmanship and love put into each RWB made, he still does not see it as an art.
Nakai-San is humble. He is a man who I spoke to about my passion, this passion, as I gave him a sticker for Fuel Files, he told me to put it on his box that travels all around the world as basically free publicity, but it meant more to me if he kept it.
Yes, he is famous in the car community. Yes, he meets so many people I have no doubt that he forgets some of the people he has met, but no, he does not act like someone who is famous and at the end of the day is human like all of us.
He feels, he has opinions, he has passions and conversations, and more so, he has love.
He loves Porsches, he loves to build and to create. Making people happy by giving to them something he can offer is what he does best, and he showed that to me. Nakai listened to me, as he did to everyone he spoke to and he was humble and polite.
He kept the sticker, and didn't wait till the kid that gave it to him left to just stick it somewhere he might not see it again, he placed it carefully with his things and made sure to keep it.
He has a sense of honor and shares his passion with others.
Going back to his work, his dedication and craftsmanship truly shows watching him get the job done.
Aligning the car almost entirely by eye and some tape on the floor he finishes the build off by applying the finishing touches.
Waiting only until the new owner is present to officially christen the build by having the owner peel the rest of the banner off of the car. He shakes the new owner's hand and takes pictures with the new family added to the RWB community.
A big thank you to Akira Nakai and the guys at Parkhaus1 for making this all happen. To see how the car finally came out check out the gallery and video below.