As great as it was meeting Akira Nakai of Rauh Welt Begrif I can’t help but feel bad for the man. It’s as if his creations are getting away from his original vision. I can’t speak for him, but it seems with every airbagged, Rotiform wheeled, 19 year old rich kid owned build his original intent is being warped. A far cry from the cars he created for the idlers series that are often bruised and banged from use, many of the creations outside of Japan will barely see the streets much less a racetrack. As he worked locked in his own world, a knock off RWB parked ominously behind the car he was creating, a visual metaphor for the looming amalgamation of his original concept. I couldn’t help but question aloud “I wonder how he feels aout this… “. Men with well manicured beards and man buns swarmed him shaking his hand with their baby soft grips leaving scented vape oil residue on his cut and calloused grease stained hands. The smell of money mixed with grease filled the cold garage. Gracious with a slight numb boredom he never turned anyone away. His eyes looked past everyone in the room always angled to the height of a car. He didn’t even settle on the woman in booty shorts shivering her life away. He looked tired. Not sleepy tired, but almost defeated. The tired that you feel at 3:47 am when that oil fitting breaks, your hands feel like they were sitting in a hornets nest then dipped in a bowl of rubbing alcohol, and only passion keeps you working.
My mind wandered to Enzo Ferrari who at one point expressed his disdain for people who wanted his car only as a status symbol. I wondered if this was going through Nakai’s mind. As Nakai was being interviewed I studied his face and his body language. He looked conflicted. He is truly blessed to have such a demand for his work, and I’m sure he is grateful, but he did not look happy. In grimy clothes accented by dirty hair and hands he was such a contrast to the people around him save for a few others with permanent grime under their fingernails and calloused hands peppered into the crowd. Hard work vision and determination brought him this far. Riding a wave of his own success I doubt he envisioned these days. I would be interested to talk to him with guards down and candid honesty.
Instead I gaze at pictures of Idlers Races and his earliest matte and satin finished machines such as Natty Dredd, Stella Artois, BoardBaux, and Royal Montego Bay and see his uncompromised vision from which his passion and voice waft.