Fifth Gear used to have a segment called Cheapsckate Alternatives, where they’d first show you some Italian supercar or new 911 Turbo and then propose cars that bring similar flavor for a tenth the price. Well, the VW Beetle couldn’t really be considered a budget 911… until today.
Why? Because we found a build that captured the essence of 911. Specifically, you’ve got the exact design of a widebody kit from RWB that’s been tailored to the old 993 Turbo generation.
There’s always been an invisible connection between the famous VW model and a 911. Porsche engineered the Bug during a time which… Volkswagen doesn’t want to mention. And often, it’s joked that a 911 is a stepped-up version of a Beetle because Clarkson wanted to make fun of his Porsche-loving co-hosts.
The two modern generations of Beetle have nothing in common with the maker of the Taycan because they were FWD, based on Golf platforms. However, a classic Beetle and 911 both have rear-mounted engines in flat configurations.
And although the Beetle is not a sports car, it used to be really popular in the custom car world. Whole generations of young mechanics learned the trade using the German bug because it was so easy to work on, not to mention parts were cheap. While we have seen WRX swaps and even Porsche swaps, there’s never been a RWB Beetle.
What is RWB?
RWB is a legendary Japanese brand of widebody kits, generally aimed at older Porsche 911 models. The company was founded by Akira Nakai, a man who’s still taking angle grinders and saws to some of the most expensive German classics around.
RWB stands for RAUH-Welt Begriff, which is German for rough world concept. Perhaps you’ve already seen pictures of Akira-san’s most iconic builds, the Rotana and Stella Artois. If you haven’t, go look them up right now; I’ll wait.
Back? Good. We need to talk about the problem with RWB. Old 911 are bought by people who want to treasure them. You know… older gentlemen who’ve got nothing to prove and want to slowly enjoy the finer things in life. But Akira Nakai and his followers want to drive them like Corolla AE86s, sideways on the track, and some people find that controversial.
The Brazilian connection
In November 2019, I first discovered the RWD-like Volkswagen Beetle. It was just a rendering, but I immediately knew that it was special. The artist @rob3rtdesign often made liked to work with 3D designs of cars that were specific to the Brazilian market and give them an American or JDM twist, which was the case here too.
Thanks to Robert, I actually learned about things like the Chevy Opala or the Volkswagen SP2. But I already knew the Beetle was a local hero. Thanks to its cheap, simple construction, it had been kept in production there for a long time.
We don’t have the details of this build, but it’s a 100% accurate copy of the rob3rtdesign renderings. The Beetle coupe has received massive fender flares, which appear to have been hand-shaped and later cast to make copies. The front end also has a massive spoiler with adjustment struts and canard winglets going up wide sides.
The treatment at the back is what you’d expect: more bolt-on fenders and a diffuser. We love the black disc wheels they chose. However, the artist’s rendering didn’t include an interior like this. Yes, it’s got a racing look to it, like an old Porsche, but also some massive speakers. Everything looks expensive and well done, so we could be looking at one of the most expensive Beetles on the planet. At the same time, a builder called Henrique Carvalho is currently making the Targa version of Robert’s RWD Beetle.