Exclusive: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Upcoming Rauh Welt Begriff Porsche 911 Hot Wheels
The first-ever RWB Porsche Hot Wheels required the toymaker to retool its mini assembly line and design all-new parts.
Rauh Welt Begriff Porsche 911s aren't only instantly recognizable, but also regarded as future classics thanks to their devil-may-care swagger and cult-like following. After all, what can be more polarizing than an air-cooled Porsche with extra wide fenders that hardly contain monstrously wide tires, fat side skirts that end just millimeters off the ground, and comically tall GT wings?
Akira Nakai, the man behind RWB, transforms charming Porsches into cartoonish monsters that are equally awesome and hilarious to experience. This sort of allure that's engulfed Nakai-san's brand has recently landed him on the desk of toymaker Mattel—more specifically its Hot Wheels brand.
As a "mini-automaker," one of the greatest joys Hot Wheels designers can experience is the freedom to let their imagination run wild. It goes without saying that Hot Wheels has created countless miniature hot rods with bright paint jobs and bulging engines, a philosophy shared similarly by Nakai-san's unrestrained 911s.
In July of this year, RWB Malaysia ambassador Christian Coujin took to Instagram with a single image of a die-cast Porsche, successfully teasing legions of fans around the world. The photo showed an RWB Hot Wheels that resembled Nakai-san's personal Porsche 930 "Stella Artois."
Captivated by the cool vibe of the miniature Porsche, The Drive reached out to Jun Imai, former Design Director of Hot Wheels Vehicles and one of the few men involved in the RWB Hot Wheels project from the very beginning. Imai openly discussed with us his excitement for the project, including his personal journey to Stuttgart in order to receive approval from Porsche licensing, and also some of the challenges involved with scaling down a car as flamboyant as the RWB Porsche.
The Drive: With a Hot Wheels portfolio that includes many custom JDM cars and cool Porsche 911s, I can imagine a Rauh Welt Begriff project had been on your radar for quite some time. How exactly did the idea of an RWB Hot Wheels car come about?
Imai: It was during one of these builds [Jon Sibal's 964] that I met Christian Coujin, the head of RWB Malaysia. We connected through social media and stayed in touch. We met up again at the 2017 Art of Speed event in Kuala Lumpur and I got to see Christian's RWBs and how the fans lost their minds over them. It was then that I realized an RWB 911 had to be done. We kicked off the idea and made a plan. A few months later we met up in Malaysia again, and we formalized the concept. Christian dropped hints of what was to come on his Instagram, and the world exploded. The RWB cars have a unique way of bringing people together. There is a relatively small, but growing, group of RWB owners brought together by an aura of inclusiveness within the groups, and it's awesome. If you watch an RWB build, you'd experience this first hand.
As far as the ins and outs of the building process, what were some of the notable steps that brought the RWB Hot Wheels project from concept to reality?
The project was a labor of love. There were some additional factors to take in, such as the RWB 911's incredibly unique proportions. I wanted to ensure we captured the unique character of RWB, so Christian and I chose the rear bumper delete and triple exhaust. We also developed an entirely new wheel size for it, a medium wide rear. This is a first, and it was really special for it to debut on the RWB 911. In a world [company] where everything is standardized for efficiencies, this was the equivalent of throwing a torque wrench into the assembly line—but the [Hot Wheels] teams pushed through and made it happen. Not to mention that I also personally traveled to Stuttgart to present the concept to Porsche Licensing. They [Porsche] were very enthusiastic about the project and quickly gave us the green light.
With so many famous builds like Rotana, Adriana, and Spearmint Rhino, how did you arrive on RWB Stella Artois as your primary inspiration?
Stella is the original. We had to respect the car that started it all. It is the car that is always associated with Nakai-san as well. It had to be HW RWB #1.
Talk to me about the challenges of building so many new elements into a Hot Wheels. Were there any unique challenges in executing Stella Artois' complex shape and were there any ideas that ultimately had to be abandoned?
The multi-element wing was very difficult due to the molding limitations. This was a part that was destined to be molded separately, in plastic. I knew the colors wouldn't match so I requested it to be part of the body to maintain consistency. The team did a great job making all of the tooling work. Overall, this was a project of no compromise. We wanted to deliver the best product to the RWB fans all over the world. I just hope they make enough of them to meet demand!
One last question: just from looking at the prototype, it features massive over-fenders, deep-dish wheels, the complicated multi-element wing, Stella's bumper delete, and so many more. What is, above all, your favorite feature of the die-cast model?
By far the bumper delete and triple exhaust, but also the all-new rear wheel size with the massive dish [wheels]. There is no mistake that this is an RWB. This car broke ground in real life, and also within the 1:64 product line for Hot Wheels.
Fans will be able to get their hands on the 1:64 Porsche 930 RWB Stella Artois from the Hot Wheels Car Culture Line in early 2019.