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Among tuners Rauh-Welt Begriff occupies a somewhat unique space. The works of Akira Nakai are polarizing due to their very unique looks, but what sets them apart from most tuners is that they largely consist of cosmetic modifications. Not all fall into that category – as evidenced by one of the cars we see here – but by and large when we come across a RWB modified 911 the suspension and engine work is minor relative to the complete change these cars undergo in their appearance. Not everyone loves them; in fact I’d say the vast majority find them distasteful. Yet, there is serious attention to detail in these builds and for those that are fans they make for some of the most jaw-dropping 911s you’re ever likely to come across. The work is done by hand and Nakai-san is known to work tirelessly from arrival until the work is completed. While the appearance may be polarizing, we do have to admit that they mimic the wild creations of Porsche itself. And I think that is where much of their appeal lies: they are very unique yet maintain their connection with the marque from which they came.
The two we have here display those polarizing looks quite well along with showcasing the sort of design RWB has applied to the respective models upon which the builds were based – in this case the 964 and the 993. The first began as a 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and unlike many RWB builds has plenty of power to go along with its aggressive looks:
It’s hard to imagine being the bottom of the totem pole at Alpina, but the 3.5/1 might just be that car. In part that’s because the E34 lineup was so robust, featuring the cool 3.0 Allrad and the Learjet-channeling BiTurbo. When BMW ceased the production of the M30, V8 powered 310 and 340 horsepower 4.0 and 4.6 models replaced the inline-6. In comparison to those headliners, the 254 horsepower B10 3.5/1 seemed like an article more suited for the corner of page 2. However, consider for a moment that the B10 3.5/1’s power numbers were nearly identical to the contemporary super-saloon S38-powered M5 and it helps to restore some clarity to the impressiveness of the products rolling out of Buchloe. Today one of the 572 3.5/1s produced is up for sale in Illinois:
I’m a big fan of unusual track cars. I’m not sure why entirely, but there is some satisfaction in taking the path less traveled, perhaps. Maybe it’s just having something a little different than the norm. If you wanted to go to the track with a V8, there are any number of possibilities from Mustang to Mercedes. If you wanted to go to the track in a Porsche, 911s, Boxsters, Caymans and 944 Turbos abound. But to combine the two? Well, that means 928, and traditionally speaking, the 928 hasn’t been a great track car even though one raced at Le Mans in 1983. Complicated, heavy, expensive and well, old, the 928 doesn’t immediately strike you as an ideal track attacker. But what if you swapped in a 400 horsepower LS1? They do call it the “German Corvette”, after all…
Here we have one of Porsche’s more interesting design ideas: the Soft-Window Targa. Most are quite familiar with its hard windowed cousin, which has been available on the 911 for most of its life. But far fewer may be familiar with the precursor to the 911 Targa. With the Soft-Window Targa Porsche sought an engineering solution that would allow for maximum openness in the cockpit while retaining a measure of structural integrity they thought would be necessary to meet impending safety regulations. Those safety regulations never became manifest, but their design did. It’s somewhat simple: use a fixed roll-hoop and make the top and window removable. The look is somewhat strange and the window section was quickly converted to a fixed window, but the soft window provided a great deal of versatility and choice for drivers depending on just how much of the external environment they wanted to experience. The Soft-Window Targa is quite rare on both the 911 and 912 and as such will command higher values, with the 911S being far and away the most expensive. The one we see here is from the earlier short-wheelbase model years as well: an Irish Green 1968 Porsche 912 Soft-Window Targa, located in California, with 113,000 miles on it. It should be noted, this 912 does not possess its original engine, but the rest of the car is said to be original.
Before the world of Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5M, and Audi SQ5, there was the W163 ML55 AMG. It was theÂ quickest, fastest, best-handling and quite frankly the baddest SUV we’ve seen since the days of the Lamborghini LM002. The mad men at AMG decided to go borrow a couple a M113 engines from the E55 and squeeze it into the normally tame ML-Class. Then they threw some giantÂ 285/50/18 tires on to keep it under control. They didn’t forget bulging fender flares to cover those massively wide tires either. What this left us with was a ML that would run 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and top out at over 150 mph. I’m trying to picture the faces of the workers in Alabama when this thing showed up fromÂ Affalterbach for finalÂ assembly. So let’s take a look at this 2001 ML55 AMG located in Miami.