“Produced by Rough World, Crazy Performance.” That’s what the rear of Nojima’s business card reads. I’m standing before a small workshop that over the recent years has become synonymous with unparalleled Porsche style. This workshop is, of course, Rauh Welt Begriff, or RWB, a name that is increasingly famous thanks to the unique style and personality from the chain-smoking visionary behind Nakai-san. Once the best kept secret in Japan, these days there are international RWB dealers in Thailand, Europe, and SanMateo and California, to go together with the endless stream of photos of RWB Porsches on just about every car guy’s Facebook news feed.
The Toyota Corolla Levin before me oozes character from every conceivable angle, yet glanced over in general, it couldn’t be any simpler. However Nojima’s hachiroku is still unmistakably a Nakai-san creation despite not being a Porsche. In all honesty, Nakai-san’s Rough World movement, which has been in charge of setting some very important trends in Japan during the last twenty years, got its start back in the mid-’90s when Nakai’s AE86 crew was drifting on the winding roads that snake up Mount Tsukuba, battling other local drifters with their slammed and tuned Truenos and Levins, sporting aggressive front negative camber and wide wheels with tightly stretched tires, barely contained by rolled or FRP fenders.
This “rough” style was quickly copied and became the look to obtain on a tough prepared street machine, a style that still today defines the essence of any drift car. Since then Nakai has developed new interests, centering on the Porsche 911s you’re almost certainly informed about from Rauh Welt Begriff (German for Rough World Evolution), infusing them with the unmistakable look his AE86s became so wellNot too Nojima’s street-driven Levin looks in any way dated. Being a member of the original Rough World movement and Nakai’s trusted painter responsible for the custom matte paintjobs you no doubt associate with RWB builds, Nojima wanted to create something special with his Levin, going for a look that would hint back at the old times but simultaneously incorporate those more modern Raul Welt styling traits. So, his ’86 Levin was stripped of its original body and decked out in a number of parts that could aid in the transformation.
Run Free supplied the leading side and bumper skirts which provide the car its ground-hugging stance, while the carbon hood from the same company shaved some weight off the front end. And talking about weight saving, the FRP doors from J-Blood and also the Crystal Body Yokohama rear hatch alongside the lexan windows help this hachi shed some serious pounds. They have allowed Nojima to push out of the Watanabe wheels as much as possible, improving the track at both ends, though the Run Free widened fenders back and front may not save any weight.
Little RWB touches are the tilted-up hood for aided cooling and a series of meshed cutouts towards the bumpers, something Nakai often does around the Porsches he builds. They may be said to aid underbody airflow by allowing turbulent air to move through the low aero efficiently, instead of slowing the car down. Giving that unfinished look for the front end is the rather large gap left behind by the removal of the stock grille, done to increase cooling air to the radiator and oil cooler.
But it’s the mixture of colors that has the biggest influence on this build, the satin-like matte black body providing great contrast against the opaque bronze Watanabe RSes covered with sticky Yokohama semislicks. The particular texture in the body is virtually rubbery, obtained with careful application of each layer of color, resulting in a stone-chip-resistant finish. Gold RWB graphics adorn the rear hatch as well as the front glass, and like every car Nakai builds, the AE86 has been given a name, in this instance “Real around the globe,” which is applied asideAround The World
As an avid circuit racer who participates in every round of the Idlers Games, a track club that sees participants compete in time attack events at famous circuits like Tsukuba and Motegi, Nojima obviously takes his racing very seriously, an issue that becomes much more apparent after you take a look at the interior. Functionality takes precedence over comfort, so what was superfluous to going fast on target, like a lot of the lower portion of the dashboard, center console and trim, was removed. A custom bolted and welded rollcage adds all-important rigidity on the old chassis while complying with circuit regulations. A Sparco Rev bucket seat along with a Sabelt racing harness keeps Nojima tightly strapped in when he steers his AE86 via a thinly rimmed Nardi wheel.
Powering the RWB Levin is a 4AG sourced from an AE92, running some pretty wild TRD camshafts, 308 degrees on the intake and 288 degrees on the exhaust side. Joining the cams are Keihin FCR 41mm motorcycle carburetors that breathe through oiled foam filters to ensure nothing hazardous gets sucked in from the funnels. These carbs actually feature guillotine-type valves, that are excellent for racing use because they provide greater response compared to conventional butterfly valves. Compression has been slightly lowered thanks to a .8mm-thick metal head gasket to aid get the most out of this setup. The Tec Art’s exhaust manifold channels gases off to the Run Free exhaust system, which features hardly any in the form of silencing, allowing that unmistakable 4AG scream to be heard constantly. Joining the timing controller is a 6AL module as well as a Blaster SS both from MSD, guaranteeing powerful and accurate ignition. And on the cooling side of things, a large core radiator from Tec Art’s and a Setrab oil cooler deal with the excess heat generated by the increased engine performance.
Getting the most from the carbed 4AG is really a TRD close-ratio gearset, which replaces the first three cogs with shorter ones to accomplish more responsive and immediate acceleration when exiting corners. This joins the TRD clutch and two-way LSD with a 4.7 final drive, all of which help this angry-looking Levin to get every last horsepower to the ground via its Yokohama A048s. Nojima also paid special attention to the suspension by fitting custom valved Nevro dampers and matched springs, which can be changed depending on the track and grip available. TRD stabilizers would be the last bit of the puzzle, helping keep body roll in check and having the most grip out of the front tires.
Nakai and Nojima have once again proven they realize how to build visually stunning cars, mixing an optimal blend of that Rough World trendsetting style having a more modern and contemporary Rauh Welt ideology. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what these people come up with next!
1986 toyota levin sparco REV racing seat
1986 toyota levin welded rollcage
1986 toyota levin stainless braided line
Specs & Details
1986 Toyota Levin
Engine AE92 1.6L 4A-GE DOHC inline-4
Engine Modifications .8mm metal head gasket; TRD camshafts; Toda Racing adjustable cam pulleys; Keihin FCR 41mm carburetors; Carb adapter plate; Tec Art’s exhaust manifold and twin-layer radiator; Run Free exhaust oil and system4 and LSD.7 final drive
Wheels & Tires Watanabe RS 14×9’’ -19 offset (f/r) wheels; Yokohama 195/60R14 Advan A048 (f/r) tires
Suspension Nevro dampers; 12 kg/mm (f) and 7.5 kg/mm (r) springs; TRD stabilizers, 2.5mm extended lower arms
Exterior Run Free Type 2 front bumper, fenders (f/r), carbon hood, and side skirts; J-Blood FRP doors; Crystal Body Yokohama rear gate, acrylic glass; HID headlight conversion; Rauh Welt signature matte black finish
Interior Welded/bolted rollcage; Sparco REV racing bucket seat; Nardi 360mm steering wheel; Auto Meter tachometer w/ shift light, oil pressure gauge and oil temp gauge; Kameari fuel pressure gauge; Edelbrock AFR meter; MSD RPM module selector, relocated battery.