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Head In the Clouds

Haters be damned, the first RWB long-nose backdate Speedster is what Rauh-Welt Begriff is all about.

1984 Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche Speedster

Before Singer, before Magnus and before skyrocketing 911 prices around the world, the tuning outfit of Rauh-Welt Begriff, or simply RWB, was the first to embrace the social media culture and mystique of being so far away but seeming so close — literally in your face, thanks to smartphones. We all remember seeing these extra-wide-bodied, air-cooled Porsches in the rural countryside of Japan. They rode the explosion perfectly, cemented their cult status almost immediately and, in the process, became a worthy business of cutting into Porsches.

 

Once RWB expanded outside their small shop in Japan, extensions in the United States, Thailand, Europe, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia and more continued to sprout across the globe. This made RWB as attainable for young, impressionable youth as it was for the lifers in the Porsche world. With the social component exploding, everyone had to take notice. If you’ve never heard of RWB, you’re either just another troll living in a shoebox or anti-social media.

Topless Terror Topless Terror Topless Terror Topless Terror

Topless Terror

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"They’re larger-than-life caricatures of creativity, Donald Trump outspokenness mixed with Ronda Rousey bravado."

One of the most recent builds out of Indonesia has been at the center of controversy over its B-29 Superfortress-inspired hardtop. Michael Lesmana of Terror Garage, located in Bandung, in the province of West Java, Indonesia, began alongside his colleague Yanto in 1999, specializing in classic Volkswagen restorations and builds, mainly focusing on Beetles, early Buses, Karmann Ghias, rare Karosserie Hebmüllers and Rometsches. Eventually they moved to Porsche 356s and 911s, adopting RWB more recently and becoming one of their sanctioned build shops.

 

Lesmana knows the RWB Speedster has received a lot of criticism regarding its custom top and the unorthodox styling associated with it. The judgment has ranged from constructive commentary to downright hate.

Everyone from Chip Foose to Arlen Ness and Ken Block have been criticized for their contributions to auto-dom, and though their fame and fortune outweighs any negative commentary, it still has to strike a cord, even for Lesmana.

 

It seems to conflict with what people think is “normal” and mainstream. They look at it like something’s wrong, instead of looking at it as something new.

 

“I don't want to, but I think I hate it (so much to like, so much to hate),” confesses a user on Rauh-Welt Begriff’s Indonesia Instagram account.

Powertrain Powertrain Powertrain

Powertrain

Everyone’s a critic, armchair engineer and designer when it comes to embedding themselves in the discussion. Of course the car isn’t perfect, but what car really is? The point is that it’s a take on existing ideas, creating something completely different and not to everyone’s taste.

 

“I like it except for the windshield. I prefer the factory windshield Speedster shape and I'd like the speedster hump too,” another adds to the conversation.

 

“Gotta say...you guys ain't done yet... back to the drawing board on the convertible top. [It] looks like an Oscar Meyer hot dog car! I can't hate this top enough.”

 

The Facebook commenters chime in, too, even if it’s with backhanded praise.

 

“Its nicely done but it kills the classic 911 body lines.”

 

“Agree. Windshield looks out of place.”

 

“Nice, but that top looks friggin’ weird.”

 

If custom automotive artists and builders took most of this to heart, they would be as vanilla as a black suit. Like the saying goes: Opinions are like assholes, and everyone has one…especially Internet commentators.

Drivetrain Drivetrain Drivetrain Drivetrain

Drivetrain

"For me, [the negativity], it does not matter. [We’re] keeping the idea of moving forward.”

 

I ask Lesmana about this type of criticism and how he responds to it, knowing full well there’s a crew of people who worked many days and nights to complete the build. They knew what they were getting into, but could they take the condemnation?

 

Lesmana laughs, takes a moment to think and responds, “We have haters and lovers always.” He continues, “[The] design took the unusual risk, but some people do not know the meaning or concept. After viewing the details, feel and look, they know how to appreciate craftsmanship,” he says. “For me, [the negativity], it does not matter. [We’re] keeping the idea of moving forward.”

 

Just as RWB has been pushing outward as a globally recognized brand, the Indonesian outfit is expanding with something original — and, sure, a bit oddball. Knowing the Speedster was inspired by the Gmünd Coupe and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, you immediately understand the styling nod, and when Lesmana explains in further detail, you appreciate the build much more.

Interior Interior Interior Interior

Interior

Akira Nakai-san of RWB revised the bodywork to give it the identity of his homegrown creations, but Lesman and Terror Garage put their workmanship to the test on the rest of the build.

 

"The RWB Speedster concept has all of that, where we made custom parts so as to represent the aesthetics of a classic Porsche.”

 

"Initially, the concept was to bring together the dimensions of a Porsche 356 Pre A produced in Gmund, Austria, with [the] Boeing B-29 Superfortress,” Lesmana explains. When it came to the aesthetics, he took cues from numerous Porsche-sourced places.

 

“There are four Porsches involved with the creation of this one: a 356 pre-A body, a 356 A, a 1984 911 Cabrio [964 variant] and a 993,” Lesmana explains. “The glass frame is borrowed from a 356 Speedster. [Terror Garage] went back to earlier times when things like this [were] done mechanically by conventional means,” Lesmana conveys. “The windshield frame was changed and the hardtop made from scratch. The RWB Speedster concept has all of that, where we made custom parts so as to represent the aesthetics of a classic Porsche.”

 

The hardtop in particular was challenging. With one month to plan and develop, Terror Garage finished the hardtop in three months by focusing more than 13 hours a day on the metalwork. With 90 percent of the metal shaping done by hand — utilizing old-fashioned metalworking techniques — the other 10 percent was completed by CNC machines. With no physical machine shop on the premises, ingenuity and hard work was necessary.

Details Details Details Details

Details

Having a classic-inspired interior helps to cement the retro-inspired styling of the Speedster, especially when the top is nowhere to be found. With the help of another person, the top is easily removed with latches, revealing the Spartan interior. Custom seats with metal-backed frames are simply beautiful and make the Speedster feel as if you don’t need to be traveling 100 mph to get the most out of the car’s spirit. They almost give you a sense this is more cruiser than bruiser; a relaxed place instead of a frenetic pace.

 

The footrests and dash follow the same aluminum pattern, which flows into the simple, standard Porsche analog instrument cluster. It really is a simple car at heart, but one that has the character of years of relentless visual ethos being delivered by RWB.

 

That’s the beauty of RWB, too: Every car is instantly recognizable as being part of the clan, only differing upon closer scrutiny. However, most cars don’t have the visual purity that this Indonesian Speedster does, which makes it stand out so far from the rest of the crowded “Porscha” tuning market.      

 

Lesmana chose to run with fifteen52’s three-piece forged Outlaw 001 wheels in a 17-inch diameter, which, at 10- and 12-inch widths front and rear, are appropriately massive. Using a front and rear Aragosta coilover set makes the car sit pretty on all four corners. It’s one of the better fitments out there: aggressive enough but clean and functional at the same time. They really fit the car, and with the roof off, it’s a stunning look with only the rivets on the fenders highlighting the modifications to an extended degree.

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Bonus Images

Going back to how this RWB Speedster is more of a cruiser than a full-blown track machine: The 3.2-liter engine is conservatively tuned, offering a modest horsepower improvement thanks to an ITB setup from Clewett Engineering, which is enough to satisfy most with the simple joy of just driving.

 

That’s what it all boils down to — the joy of driving. There’s no 1,000-horsepower turbo motor swap being prepared, no fully spec’d-out racing setup, no cage, just the little things that will add to the overall appeal of a beautifully built Speedster with great custom work. Lesmana will probably build supporting accessories for the hardtop and make small, subtle improvements to the Porsche’s details. But in the end, he and Terror Garage will enjoy the notoriety that comes with building something so great that people love to hate on it.

 

RWB Porsche Speedster Specs

 

Sea Blue paint scheme

Porsche 356 Speedster front panel custom made by Terror Garage

RWB fender flares

RWB bumpers

Aluminum hardtop custom made by Terror Garage

Carrera GT mirror

 

Interior:

 

Aluminum sill plates custom made by Terror Garage

Aluminum pedals custom made by Terror Garage

Momo steering wheel

Custom seats by Terror Garage

Custom lock hatch by Terror Garage

 

Engine:

 

Porsche MFI Individual Throttle Body

 

Undercarriage & Wheels:

 

Custom knuckle and drum brakes adjustment by Terror Garage

Deed adjustable coilover suspension (front)

Aragosta adjustable coilover suspension (rear)

Toyo R888 tires, 225/40/17 (front), 315/35/17 (rear)

fifteen52 3-piece Outlaw 001 wheels, 17/10 / -11 (front), 17/12 / -74 (rear)

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