By on November 10, 2015

Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Editor’s note: With SEMA just wrapped up, there seems to be some renewed interest in Jack’s take on RWB. Here it is for the rest of you who didn’t find it plastered all over Facebook the last couple of days. This article originally ran on November 8, 2011

When Porsche “tuner” Uwe Gemballa was found dead and wrapped in cellophane late last year, everyone in the Porsche community expressed sympathy for his wife and friends. Nobody deserves to be killed the way Gemballa was.

On the other hand, however, at least the guy wasn’t going to ruin any more Porsches. His “Mirage” 911-slant-nose-arossa-droptops were perhaps the most hideous custom supercars ever built, and Gemballa himself never really appeared to develop anything even remotely resembling an aesthetic sense. His goal in life appeared to be to simply create terrible cars, and he was reasonably successful at this. Porsche purists hated the guy. There was only one thing he could have done for us to have hated him more: he could have turned his attentions towards the irreplaceable aircooled cars once again and ruined more of them.

Which is precisely what “RWB” does.

This hard-hitting piece by former Jalop Davey Johnson covers one of the first two “RWB” cars to be built in the United States. Go read it if you care; if not, here’s the important passage.

In the past couple of years, Nakai-san’s Rauh-Welt Begriff (literally “rough-world concept”) 911s have gone from in-the-know whisper cult status to commanding respect and lustworthy drools from Porschephiles and tuner kids alike. Scotto’s always been a cat excited by new forms—the man was at the vanguard of the hi-riser movement—but he’s always wanted a Porsche. More specifically, a white 964 turbo with a Lobster Red interior, a classic case of the-car-one-drooled-over-as-a-kid made flesh. Meanwhile, he’d been as captivated as anyone with RWB’s cars during his stint at 0-60 Magazine.

The rest of the story unwinds as so: guy buys Porsche 964 Turbo and has Japanese guy hack out some hideous-looking bodywork, drop that bitch into the weeds, and basically turn what was a very complete and satisfying performance car into a rolling caricature. The car is then taken to SEMA so the tribe of mildly retarded sideways-ballcap mooks who clutter this country’s unemployment lists and convenience-store parking lots can crown Scotto as their king.

According to the never-wrong Wikipedia, Porsche built a total of 3,660 Porsche 965 Turbos. That’s not vanishingly rare, but neither is it 1965 Mustang or 2011 Camry volume. Aircooled 911s don’t seem rare, but they are. We are fast approaching the day when there will be more Cayennes on the road than aircooled Porsches of all kinds. A 1991 Porsche Turbo has already survived twenty years. My suggestion is that at that point, the owners of these cars should consider themselves caretakers, not nouveau-riche toolbags with a license to deface. These cars will all have future owners, if we don’t destroy them.

The good news? RWB’s “expertise” runs pretty shallow. Akira Nakai isn’t running Rinspeed or Ruf. He probably doesn’t understand the cars well enough to make major changes on them. Twenty years from now, a future owner of this car will be able to restore the 965 back to stock. Sure, it will cost money, particularly in the rear quarter-panels (and the suspension, which will almost certainly be ruined by the ridiculous wheels) but it will be possible.

It’s bad enough that Porsche’s legacy is under such consistent attack by Porsche itself; to have people like this RWB dude take perfectly decent, streetable classic Porsches and turn them into pallid parodies of race cars that never really existed — well, that’s just tragic. In the long run, everybody wants to see original, period-correct cars. Owners of aircooled Porsches should be conscious of their obligation to future generations. The enthusiasts of the future may not know what a proper short-wheelbase 911 looks like, or a ’79 SC, or a ’95 Turbo, unless you keep yours the way it was meant to be. If you are absolutely compelled to race an old car, go ahead — but start with a basketcase so you’re not taking a nice car off the street.

These “RWB” cars are just as ridiculous as all the “stance” garbage out there, but in this case the victims aren’t thousand-dollar Jettas or Marysville-built Accords. They are limited-production automobiles, built in small quantities under regulatory and business conditions which will never exist again. They’re precious to future generations and they should be left alone.

If you disagree… well, I hear Vanilla Ice’s Gemballa is up for sale. Just don’t expect much in the way of warranty service, okay?

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69 Comments on “From the Vault: Hide Your Aircooled Porsches, Because “RWB” Is Raping Every One Out There...”

  • avatar

    If you want an aircooled Porsche that looks like a Nissan 350 Z after it was assaulted by Manny, Moe and Jack in a dark alley, you know whom to call, brah.

  • avatar

    The funny thing about the “stance” crowd or even lowering your car with wider tires and stiffer shocks is how often it does NOT work at the track. The combination often still rubs. Now putting on a wide body kit here makes sense to increase the fender spacing to clear the larger wheels. However your average tuner kid doesn’t understand suspension geometry (heck neither do I).

    I just find it funny when these kids (sometimes not *that* young) with lots of cash invested, show up to the track with their “race suspension” only to find out they have to raise their car back up to factory height to clear their “race wheels”. The idea of lowering your car to improve handling only works when done right. I like the look on some cars (when not taken to the extreme), but the functionality is all gone, so on a track car it makes no sense.

    • 0 avatar

      If the goal is to make an aircooled P “work better at the track”,….. get something with a liquid cooled engine.

      If the goal is to preserve classic air cooled cars, get rid of rules that make it virtually impossible to sell new ones. By all means tax them sufficiently to cover the cost of cleaning up their excessive emissions, but don’t just make them flat out unsalable. Even if they have to pay to clean up after themselves, they’d still be cheaper than a proper classic car.

      As pertains to “stanced” cars, they exists for the same reason all other dynamically inferior vehicles do. Waaaayyyyy too low speed limits to allow dynamically proper vehicles to reap any benefit from their theoretical superiority. If noone is allowed to drive faster than 0 mph, why not pick a cheesy McMansion for a car?

    • 0 avatar

      Actually it has been shown many times that even hacked lowering jobs tend to improve lap times and lateral grip. Sure the drawbacks of improper roll center in compliant suspension and myriad other issues a professional would address are there but they rarely outweigh the significant gains of lower ride height.

      Where they fall short is in every other function one might need a car to fulfill.

  • avatar

    Singers are okay though, right?

    • 0 avatar

      If Singer 911s are wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • 0 avatar

      As I see it Singer cars are about delivering a very pure 911 that is streetable and trackable. The car performs well, as well as a 964 can but it does so with the aesthetics of an older model. The Singer cars seek to meet the desires of a 911 owner that wants all of the best bits and pieces regardless of cost. The singer cars are intended to work much as 911 would reasonably be expected to as a sports car in real world situations.

      RWB cars as far as I can tell adds a low ride height to the aesthetic of 70’s & 80’s brut force, low tech methods of going fast round a track. By that I mean big turbochargers and even larger fenders, air dams and still larger rear wings. The power is needed to create downforce and to punch huge hole in the air. The RWD aesthetic isn’t really rooted in real world functionality (ride height, aero drag, wheel/tire fit and so forth) so much as it is rooted in wanting the appearance of a 911 built for racing use which has perhaps been plated in a questionably legal manner.

      What separates the two is this… The singer is about delivering a driving experience not an aesthetic appearance.

      The RWB is about appearing to be hugely inappropriate and impractical just for the sake of being impractical because it gets a reaction from other people. The idea is to be as impractical as whatever level of delivered performance permits.

      The Singer cars are about being as practical as the level of performance permits.

      • 0 avatar

        Still Singer CHANGES the 911 and that’s what preservationists disagree about. At some point in the future someone is going to spend a lot of money and time undoing those modifications.

        • 0 avatar

          Do people really have a problem with Singer 964s? I don’t think anyone is going to spend a bunch a money to undo the craftsmanship of Rob Dickinson & Company.

        • 0 avatar

          How about the R Gruppe Car Club? They’re changing 911s that are often long-hood cars to begin with.

          • 0 avatar

            No we are getting complicated. Is there a right answer? Some of the R Gruppe cars look pretty good. I don’t know what to feel anymore.

        • 0 avatar

          I expect that there will be buyers for Singer cars for a long time to come. While they do make some extreme changes the evidence of said changes are often subtle. Some people want the factory original car and for those folks a Singer will not appeal in any way.

          Other folks want something that looks a lot like factory original because they appreciate and desire the original design but also want performance well beyond what an original car would deliver. There are plenty of hot rods built in this way every year. These are the folks that will find the Singer cars appealing.

          • 0 avatar

            I like restomods that are done well, and I suppose Singer is the ultimate example of that.

          • 0 avatar

            What bball said.

            Most restomods are tacky. The ones that are done right — which include both Singers and the OH MY GOD drool-worthy Mechatronik Benzes — are, in my opinion, the most desirable classic cars on the market.

            I see no reason why a car by a company as forward-looking as either Benz or Porsche was back in the day should be limited by the technological limitations of the time it was built. The key thing is for the restomod to stay true to the spirit of the original. Both Singer and Mechatronik do that in spades.

            If I could own one car without regard to practicality, purchase expense, or ownership expense, it would be a Mechatronik-massaged 280SE.

          • 0 avatar

            I enjoy restomod jobs which end up at much higher quality than factory. Like those people do with the XJS, wherever in Shedshire, England.

            Fixing up something to be better than the factory could manage, while looking original – what’s wrong there?!

          • 0 avatar

            I like restomodes very much which really should be limited to drivetrain, exhaust, and undercarriage components. The finished product should always look the period but with a new heart.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha ha – so nobody here really gives a crap about preserving original air cooled – they just want the destruction done tastefully. LO effing L

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t care either way. It’s not my money. I do think there is a huge difference between what Singer and RWB do though. The Singer cars are almost works of art. In comparison, RWB mostly adds widebody kits, wheels, a giant wing, and parts from newer 911s. It’s fine if people want to pay for that, but I don’t have to like RWB 911s.

      • 0 avatar

        I wonder if 964 production numbers are lower than some of the early cars?

        • 0 avatar

          That’s an interesting point. People talk about Singers being restomods that are updated classics, but really they’re back-dated moderns. They take cars that are currently just old instead of classic and eliminate their originality in the name of passing them off as long-hood 901s.

    • 0 avatar

      Different only inasmuch as a porn film is somehow a more acceptable “erotic” film if the women moan in a foreign language.

  • avatar

    Do you feel the same about Singer?

    • 0 avatar

      Singer is essentially a perfectly done restomod, and I for one love them. The craftsmanship is gorgeous and the quality level of the work is second to none.

      I sometimes toy with the idea of a classic car restomod. A Classic Mustang with a crate 5.0, T5, built rear end, coil-based suspension, IRS, and disc brakes all around just punches all the right numbers for me.

  • avatar

    The internal conflict between original and custom. Doesn’t matter what I think, it’s what the guy who has the money wants.

  • avatar

    I feel the same way about the Ford GT. Every now and again I read about a tuner who completely “transforms” a Ford GT into some unimaginable disaster of a car. 4000 cars were built, putting them in the same category as these Porsche 965’s.

    Hopefully there are enough current and future owners out there that appreciate the car’s lineage with the GT40 enough to leave them alone.

  • avatar

    I’d agree that many of these 911 hackers–er–tuners turn out crap. But to say “owners of aircooled Porsches should be conscious of their obligation to future generations…” Woah, woah….since when does ownership of a fun car carry high moral obligation?

    I agree these RWB cars are stupid but, really, they are just cars. Air-cooled 911s are special cars, yes (I’ve had two of ’em and will have another someday), but let’s not ascribe moral or even ethical boundaries around inanimate objects that can always be, with enough money, returned to stock configuration down the road.

    And it’s not like there’s a dearth of air-cooled 911 chassis out there in the world: over, what, a million were produced over the 911’s long production run. Sure, there are limited numbers of certain models, but overall there’s more than enough to support a cottage industry of classic 911 hackers, distasteful as it may be. And anyway, this too shall pass as does every fad, which this is.

    In the meantime, ever higher prices for original air-cooled 911s probably ensure a limited supply of chassis for hacking up by the tuner world. So, not to worry, IMO. There will be plenty of original 911s running around long into the future for future generations to enjoy.

    • 0 avatar

      “since when does ownership of a fun car carry high moral obligation?”

      Ever since Porsche went water cooled, and air cooled owners figured out they had an angle to lord over the simpletons who happened to pass on 911s when nobody wanted them.

      Indeed, they are just cars. RWB’s destruction of air cooled 911s was depressing, but the deifying and asset bubble of air cooled 911s is not far behind in awfulness and self-righteousness.

      • 0 avatar

        Amen, gentlemen. In my life I have only met a handful of owners of these cars with the proper sense of proportional appreciation. The rest? Wanna-be’s with driving gloves.

        • 0 avatar

          God knows I love classic cars and I see the esoteric side… the air cooled porsche, the carb fed V8s american or the v12 italians and the MGBs but lets have a sense of proportion.

          These cars are only special to a very small slice of society and even then, there are enough purists that these cars will always be around.

          And in the end, they are just cars. I personally do not see a lot of value with the magnus walker 911s (‘277’?) and I dont like what people like alex roy did to his Polizei 144 BMW e39. But people are free to do whatever with what they bought, they dont have any obligation for ‘future generations’.

          They are not art in the classic sense.

          In fact, I see them as something in decline. In 25 yrs time people will see these cars as quaint things like old duffers driving around in 1932 Ford A models or 1970s muscle cars.

          In my mind, I have an idea about what I would like to do to a classic muscle car… ‘purists will hate it’ but if you have to the money to make it, make it happen. Dont let your dreams be dreams.

  • avatar

    The first die-cast model car bigger than a Matchbox that I remember owning was a white Gemballa slant-nose. Sadly, I have no idea what happened to it, but I vaguely remember ripping the ducktail and one of the doors off, perhaps in an impromptu test of structural rigidity.

  • avatar

    Good for them finding a market to exploit. Free market and all that jazz. Right, Jack?

  • avatar

    “My suggestion is that at that point, the owners of these cars should consider themselves caretakers, not nouveau-riche toolbags with a license to deface.”

    Porsche hagiography at its finest. If you want to buy one, restore it, and keep it in a vault, that’s your business. If I want to drop a Chevy small block with a 6-71 GMC blower on it in mine, that’s my business.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    I thought I was going to wet myself reading your description of the “mildly retarded mooks”. Jesus, I havent found truth like that in a long time. No wonder its the “truth about cars” Priceless!

  • avatar

    Ah yes, Baruth’s ad hominem loaded opinion pieces never fail to deliver on ‘how not to write an article if you want to be taken seriously.’ But hey, I found out that I agree with Jack they look terrible but that’s why everybody gets to have an opinion on this.

    Personally, it’s up to the owner to decide what they want to do. If it’s DOT-legal and they want to drive it out there, I don’t really care.

  • avatar

    I can tolerate RWB because let’s be honest, before him, any non-930 aircooled Porsche was about as special and valuable as a boxter with a torn top. What I can’t tolerate is any modification whatsoever to the NSX (all of which seem to have been brutally violated by clothing/club/lifestyle promoters high on fiberglass resin fumes). If we need to save just one car from tasteless aftermarket assault, I vote Honda’s aluminum monocoque 90’s icon.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw a gorgeous NSX a few months ago with a somewhat oversized exhaust, (it was only noticeable if you were looking under, as the tips were subdued) but mostly it just looked like a brand new NSX. My 8YO asked, “is that a cool car dad?” I didn’t say “It used to be until…” Just “yes”.

      • 0 avatar

        I suggest you don’t look at the NSX that is at SEMA this year with a rocket bunny widebody kit on it. No actually don’t look at it, it is pretty hideous! I don’t mind the RB kits on say and FD RX7, but the NSX is ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      Some mods are OK on a car like that, and exhaust (if high-quality and catted) is one of them.

      Putting a body kit on a NSX, though, should be punishable by lifetime enforced celibacy.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree. I consider some of these cars just as worthy of respect and preservation as “fine are”. In essence, some cars are just that. If you are fortunate enough to own such a car, you are really more of a steward than an owner. I do respect your right to modify what is your property, much like I accept one’s willingness to burn the flag – I just don’t want to see it

  • avatar

    Yet another rant on a topic most people aren’t really into. Porsches. The only one that ever tickled my fancy was the 1965 905 sports/racer. And what some silly tuner or another is up to with old 911s has no interest for me.

    If one accepts the premise that the market is always right, as seems to be the bedrock philosophy of people here who’ve never gone hungry, then what these tuners are up to is no more than the application of the laws of supply and demand. To plead extenuating circumstances to save them in original form because you happen to feel that way is to deny how markets work. Tough. Want to have one of these mythically wonderful air-cooled cars? Then just buy one before they all get subsumed into the kustom kar scene.

  • avatar

    I’m fine with Jack’s premise that we need to act like caretakers. I don’t treat my 964 like a museum quality garage queen (especially because with her higher mileage, she never will be) and drive it for pure fun….but I definitely feel that with owning a car like this, there comes a responsibility to take care of it for the next generation. These cars feel so much more visceral than anything you can buy today, and it would be a real shame if kids today never got a chance to experience it as it was intended.

    If, and it’s a big if, my finances change radically for the positive at some point, I would however consider it for a Singer conversion as the Porsche experience of a Singer is probably heightened even more (although I think I’d still rather find a 964 in rougher shape)

    Until then though, I’m doing my best to keep it as pure as possible. Having that “responsibility” is part of the fun!

  • avatar
    formula m

    So is this what boxter owners think about?

  • avatar

    I actually met the Japanese d00d and have a pic with him from a few months ago. He came to an auto shop in Silicon Valley to perform his magic and my friend knew the owner so we got invited. While I do appreciate the skill somewhat I also wasn’t ecstatic to see a perfectly good 964 being cut and mangled. Although from what I gather that one was a race car to begin with so it may already have been lost as a street car.

  • avatar

    It needs more wings.

    I’d slap-hazzardly hot glue one on top of that one badly riveted to the cartoonish original, paint the whole thing red and pretend to be the Red Baron. If you’re going to make a fool of yourself in public you might as well go all the way.

  • avatar

    “Nobody deserves to be killed the way Gemballa was.” — Jack Baruth

    While I agree that it was a somewhat horrific end, and while he may not have done anything egregious, I think you may end up getting a couple of points on your writer’s license for that statement…

    A man with as many varied friendships and as many interesting stories as you have, surely must have come across at least a story of someone being rumored to have done something so horrible that meeting a sudden end, even without due process of the law, might have been fully justified morally, if not legally.

    Also, it seems to me that you are confusing the horror of the way the body was found with way he died. The partially decomposed body wrapped in cellophane conjures up images of both rotting flesh and suffocation within a tight cellophane tomb…buried alive, perhaps.

    But the classic gangland method that was almost certainly the proximate cause of death…two behind the ear, .22’s because they will get the job done, don’t require registration to purchase, harder to do lab testing on, etc….that was almost certainly a quick and painless death.

    Yes a brief moment when rendered immobile with the realization that this is the end of the road for your story, but then a quick and almost painless and almost certainly sudden death, is not the most horrible way to die. A simple reference to the movie Django should bring to mind enough counter-examples.

    I know nothing about the case, and never heard of it until I read your article. So nothing I say can be considered as definitive.

    But the little bit that I learned from a decade in NYC, beginning with attending engineering school with next-generation relatives of people you could read about in NYC papers, leaves me with the impression that death in those circles is almost always business, and seldom personal.

    One reason for this is that if there were personal animosity, the people involved would not be involved in business with each other. Where there is/was personal animosity, there is almost never a business tie, above ground or underground.

    And where it is a case of business, the idea of sending a message is not as simple as it is usually presented in the tabloid press.

    If the word gets out that a million Euro went missing, but with no proof of where it went, to simply take out a player “as a (supposed) lesson” doesn’t fit with reality.

    Where there is a possibility of several places where the money could have gone, simply taking out one of those people not only doesn’t intimidate the actual person, if different, since they got away with it, but it also tends to destroy whatever trust and working relationships that have been built up over time. Everyone starts to get skittish, wondering who is next, and that it could be them because of a corrupt government official in another country. And then the whole brigada starts to unravel. People start looking for protection under the wing of another player who is at least as powerful as the suspected perpetrator, who is usually well-known as the person whose money disappeared.

    When someone is taken out like that, it is far more likely that it became known that they were the one who broke the trust. When large, or even medium large, stacks of money mysteriously disappear, people who care have a way of finding out who had outstanding gambling debts, for example, that suddenly got straightened out.

    People who risk meeting an untimely end when situated comfortably in an ongoing lucrative enterprise seldom are tempted to rock the boat unless they are between a rock and hard place.

    And once people start checking with bookies, banks financing other properties, checking with connections to see who was heavily strung out and then suddenly had money to get straightened out, etc., etc.

    And usually there will be one and only one player in a situation where there is an ongoing enterprise between several seemingly unconnected players, who is first visibly hanging on by a thread, and then suddenly seems to have gotten straightened out again.

    And that is usually considered evidence enough, and is usually made widely known enough, that everyone else can understand that that was not just a first shoe dropping in, for example, a major takeover attempt, but just the correcting of an unjust action by a player. A one-shot deal, so to speak, though it might better be said a one-time deal, but a two-shot deal.

    And I am not saying that this is what happened here, or that the shoe fit Gemballa.

    But to say that no one deserves to die that way, first mixes up the way he died with the his condition when he was found, and hence its effect on loved ones, associates and family; and second, presupposes that in such cases, the person who takes the fall is usually just the one who is most closely connected with someone who lost a lot of money.

    If a person takes a fall like that because they were being extorted, for example, I would agree that they did not deserve to die that way. But when a person is deep in the game, a large sum of money goes missing, and someone puts two and two together and figures out that that person suddenly went from being in tight financial straits in spite of having a lucrative source of income, to miraculously being on their feet again, unless they had a rich uncle who died recently (in which case the will would have been probated as a matter of public record), then the money could have only come from one place…a “business” partner’s share.

    A legitimate business owner friend of mine, who owns a fair chunk of real estate both in the US and (with a Mexican partner) in Mexico, once told me about how someone burned him for a few thousand dollars. Since I knew him well enough to be able to ask the question, and was being told that in part so that I would understand how he operated, I asked him how much explaining/verifying someone had to do to not be in trouble.

    His answer: “It was only a small amount, and I knew what he was doing was a bit risky. But he was a friend, and I had agreed to help him out. So I didn’t make an issue out of it…it wasn’t worth it.” (It helped that he had recently gone from being an on-paper millionaire to a cash in the bank millionaire, which provides some perspective.)

    I then asked him at what level he would think it was worth the trouble. His reply was “If there is more than $X involved, I may or may not do anything. But someone is going to have to have the right answer to some questions, if something happens to make that kind of money disappear.”

    And I would guess that if not he, then some people like him, might feel that under certain circumstances, especially if it threatened the security and well-being of his loved ones, some people might deserve to die. And even if not, there is clearly some point, some threshold, some line that might get crossed, where what was done was so wrong, so far out of line, that maybe they did deserve to die.

    I have made it my business to stay out of such situations. But I do not delude myself into thinking that nobody ever deserves to die with two behind the ear.

    It may be against the law, but at the same time, it is conceivable that in some circumstances, for some people who chose to play in certain arenas, that it is clearly understood by all involved that if one does certain things, crosses certain lines, causes certain harms to another, then that person deserves to die, because they are a threat to the lives and/or livelihoods of others if they continue unchecked in their ways of doing things.

    And certainly if someone were a fairly big player, seven figure transactions and all that, they were almost certainly involved with someone even bigger. And if they couldn’t find out and take care of whatever problems might have arisen in their organization, they could probably count on someone figuring that they were in on what went wrong.

    In situations like that, it is probable, maybe even certain, that someone must and will die.

    And usually, the someone who is at fault will be revealed through their carelessness as they act in desperation due to some “character defect” for lack of a better term.

    So if circumstances evolve to the point that something wrong has been done, that the legal system cannot or will not provide a remedy, and that the wrongdoer can be identified by what they have done or are doing, then it follows in certain circles that someone will die, and the person who did wrong deserves to die, if a death is an inevitable byproduct of a business relationship that has ended in betrayal.

    Especially in something like this, I am certain that many will object to what I have asserted. But I believe it is just a fact of life, when it is lived in the fast lane. And that is one of several reasons I pulled over to the side of the road, and stopped trying to live in ever faster lanes.

    When I was younger, single and had some “sketchy” but honorable and trustworthy friends, I would have taken risks and done things that I will not do today and haven’t for some time.

    But it was always understood that if you agreed to take part in certain things, whether it was high stakes backgammon, playing darts for money, or other things too numerous to mention, that if you got yourself into a situation, you had to continue to act honorably, and not expect that anyone would let you get away with someone else’s money, regardless of how it came to be that you were involved with their money.

    And if you followed the rules, you could “stay at the table” as long as you liked. And if all your markers, if any, were satisfied, you could walk away whenever you wanted to.

    But like the movie “Jersey Boys”, a great movie in my opinion, the way things worked was that things had to be satisfied, the books had to be balanced, one way or another. Nobody ever questioned that. It was just a matter of how that could be resolved. But nobody gets a pass for a large stack of money that they had and that didn’t belong to them.

    Perhaps that is the law of the jungle. But if it is, then once you go outside of ordinary jobs and ordinary small real estate transactions, things are expected to be settled with a handshake, a man’s word is supposed to be his bond, and if you are working with someone else’s money, you are expected to either pay it back, or have an agreed upon acceptable reason as to why it was lost. And don’t expect to come after the fact trying to negotiate an acceptable reason…it was only reasonable if it was discussed and agreed upon in advance.

    So to bring it back full circle, I doubt very seriously that anyone paid the price for a crooked customs inspector or longshoreman. If one of them was the problem, it would have been identifiable by the pattern I described above, deep trouble beyond where one should be, followed by a sudden squaring away and removal of those troubles right after money disappeared. And we would instead have heard about a body in China wrapped in cellophane (merely a disposal method, and not a form of execution), and with the standard “two behind the ear”.

    As I said before, I never even heard of the man before today. But I seriously doubt that he would have ended up “buying the farm” unless there was a lot pointing towards him and nothing pointing to anyone else.

    When you play in the fast lane, you have to be able to keep up the pace. And if you don’t want to run wide open, you’d better pull into the pit and let someone else get behind the wheel, because the vehicle needs to keep moving down the road, and until you pass the baton successfully, the responsibility is yours.

    If I am honest, I cannot say whether or not I am sorry for the gentleman, if he was in fact that, as I have only been speculating, because I know enough that I think I can do so in a way that makes sense and is comprehensible.

    I am sorry for his family, whatever the circumstances are, because it is often the bystanders who are hurt the worst, and the most unexpectedly.

    But the bigger the stakes, the greater the likelihood that the whole operation will be a “tight ship”, and that when the wrong kinds of mistakes are made, the right person will be found and called to account. And sometimes, this can lead to death, and it is only a matter of hopefully making sure that only the deserving die.

    As a closing note, if the people who ran the five families in NYC decades ago were as much of a bunch of haphazard buffoons of most of our presidential candidates, instead of a few of them getting rounded up, the whole bunch would have gone down. And a lot did, but a lot also did not. And they didn’t get there and they didn’t stay there by haphazardly whacking somebody, anybody, because someone, who knew who, had stolen some money.

    And I doubt that things work that much differently in S. Africa, Eastern Europe, China or Japan, name it…the names change, the specific games often change, but everyone knows their place, and unless someone decides to try to move up on their own, everyone keeps their head down and silently keeps on making their own bread, collecting their share of their daily bread, or cake, or pie, and keeping their hands off the other guys’ stacks.

    But when, and mostly only when, people break the rules and try to take something from someone else, the transgressor is easily spotted and usually pays a severe price for breaking the trust and for breaking the bank.

    Short of everyone being satisfied with a nine to five, can you think of a more efficient and fair system. It seems like it shouldn’t be, but it is, and it is hard to argue against its rules. They are harsh, but for the greatest part, they are fair, and everyone knows their job and their cut. And sticks with it or knows the consequences.

    And when someone takes a fall like that, it is either a takeover attempt (but not here, no successor stepped in to take over the business), or it is the result of someone not playing by the agreed upon rules.

    Or at least that is how it looks to me, after having been a few places and done a few things. Not because I am an insider, but because I have always been a “straight shooter” (in the good sense of the phrase), and I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different walks in life.

    And I have learned that if people know that you know what can be repeated and what cannot, they will usually lay out for you exactly what the name of the game is.

    Honor is a necessity in all walks, but the most when there is no other remedy available for differences. And I believe I have seen and learned enough to say that random killings might occur in a robbery at a gas station, for example, but the higher up you go, the less likelihood that any killing is random. Instead they are usually very specific, and usually made for a good cause, the direct result of someone having broken the code, of someone reaching into someone else’s share of pre-arranged things.

    If you want to say that in such cases, those people still deserve to live, or that they deserve to die more humanely (state execution protocols? Please, amigo). But I say death is a direct consequence of injustice, which is not the same thing as law-breaking, and that the reality of things militates towards those deaths being applied fairly and deservedly, not haphazardly as a warning to others.

    Pol Pot? Maybe. Josef Stalin? Maybe. I’ll stop there, so as not to get into a political debate. But when you pick up a newspaper and read of a killing, not a robbery in the street, but of someone who supposedly was a successful person who appeared to have been killed for no reason, you can almost bet with one hundred percent certainty that yes, there was a reason, and it was likely a good one, and likely brought on by the person who supposedly “was in the wrong place at the wrong time”, “during a household invasion gone awry”.

    That is as big an error, or you could call it a lie, as the three most commonly told lies. You know, “It’s a standard deal, just sign on the dotted line.” Sort of like the VW credit cards, eh?

    Then there is “The check is in the mail”. It almost assuredly is not.

    We’ll skip number three…this is somewhat of a family publication, and for those for who it isn’t, you already know the third.

    But the idea of a “random senseless killing” in the world of the high-rollers, those who live life in the fast lane, is right up there in the pantheon of the classical big three.

    That is why I am skeptical of your theory that this was done to send a message to others. My money is on the fact that it was done to put a stop to a wrong that was done by the unfortunate victim.

    I hope I am wrong, and I don’t want to point a finger at a dead man I don’t even know.

    But that just isn’t the way the world works, or would be able to work, at lealst 99% of the time.

    I know this is long, but I feel that I am taking a position that most people differ with, and I feel that I needed to provide some strong justification for it. And I hope I have done that.

    I also felt like I was in a writing mood tonight, and you gave me an idea for something to write about. I respect your opinions a great deal. But when I think (rightly or wrongly, I will admit) that I may have a contrary viewpoint that is tenable, I enjoy tossing it out.

    Perhaps you will read this and reconsider your viewpoint, and agree.

    Or perhaps you will read this and feel that my points, and especially my central idea, that sometimes people do deserve to die, and for valid business reasons, it is usually the person who is most at fault who ends up dying.

    I will be curious to see if you reject my viewpoint, or if I have persuaded you of mine.

    But in closing, I will use an old line from that kind of world.

    “It is strictly business. It was (and is) never personal.”

    [Hope your leg is doing better, and that you and John are having a lot of fun with fast vehicles. My son is 21, but in order to not have to spend money on insurance, he has been content to be my navigator til now. But today we went for our firs lesson, in a rainy almost empty parking lot. He started out, as he described it, thinking it might be something like Grand Theft Auto, and that a two ton Panther might need a lot of throttle and brake to go and stop. He quickly caught on to the idea of using the least amount of input necessary to achieve the desired output. I think this bodes well for future lessons, especially since he has been spotting traffic situations for me for about fifteen years now. A different kind of a father/son car adventure, but I thought you might get a kick out his using GTA as his first approximation, then quickly recognizing, as he told me later that evening “I’ll be good with it as soon as I get the GTA ideas out of my head”, said with a sheepish grin. I assured him that he was most assuredly on the right path. He added the following ideas “Cars can’t just crash into things like in GTA, and when you get killed, you don’t get to just start over”. I have seen a lot of drivers in NJ who don’t seem to have grasped these home truths yet.]

    • 0 avatar

      I did read all this just to know that I read the longest post ever on TTAC.

      3,500 words. I have submitted shorter papers for university.

      • 0 avatar

        So have I. But I just happened to be in a mood to write, and it coincided with me feeling that Jack had succumbed to buying into conventional feelings about the “wrongness” of certain things.

        Since I have great respect for Jack’s writing, and his insight into most things, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to see if I might be able to marshal enough facts and reasoning to perhaps persuade him to change his point of view.

        He may or may not read this, but it isn’t the end of the world to me if he doesn’t. It was still a good exercise for me. And no one else is forced to read it.

        Jack may or may not reply. I would be curious to know what he thinks about my argument, and if it has changed his viewpoint, or if he feels that I have somehow completely missed the boat.

        I suspect that if he does decide to reply, he probably will not rush his reply, as he will want to give a good account of his final view on this. And he may or may not do it here…he might decide to take it on only in his blog.

        It’s all good to me in any case, though I hope I haven’t left a gaping hole in my logic for all to see. Feel free to offer a counterpoint if you wish, even if you aren’t Jack.

        But to me, seeing an opportunity to challenge his viewpoint on anything, given how good a writer he is, and what a good student and expounder of on a wide variety of subjects that he is, to me it is a bit like having a chance to go to bat against Mariano Rivera in his prime, in the bottom of the tenth.

        Even to take a few swings, and to strike out, means that at least you weren’t afraid to step up to the plate. And if, perchance, you manage to persuade him that perhaps he needed to reassess his viewpoint, well, that to me would be a bit like hitting the game winning HR in that situation.

        Especially since his viewpoint on the matter at hand is not merely a question of what to think about people modding rare cars that they own, but rather is a question about fundamental rightness or wrongness, and the kind of situations that arise at times, and the way that they get resolved. Matters of life and death, if you will, instead of matters of personal preference.

        If, at some time in the future, it should be proven that there is a global shortage of space on TTAC, I will consider no longer writing lengthy replies when I feel I have something to say that doesn’t fit in a nutshell.

        But until then, I will fire away at the things about which I think I might have something worthwhile to say, and people are free to read them or skip over them, as they like.

        But I sincerely feel that some positions or situations cannot be resolved with simplistic short statements or replies, and in those cases, if I have the time, the inclination, and feel that there is a point to be made that requires a lot of supporting argument, I will have at it.

        I hope some of you enjoy it.

        I know enough not to think that I could or would ever try to please all of the people all of the time. Or even all of the people some of the time, on TTAC, given the wide variety of viewpoints.

        But there is a chance that I might please some of the people some of the time, and since that is probably the best anyone can do, I am willing to have at it from time to time, with that understanding being “just fine” with me.

  • avatar

    Don’t know or care anything about Porsche. Still not sure about the pronunciation. I do know something about how the market works. Every Porsche taken out by bad driving or bad customization is like a gift to the remaining owners. In fact, it is a gift. Supply and demand works for cars, just like corn. As the pool of a particular car shrinks, the remaining cars increase in value. The more they increase in value, the less likely the remaining owners are to do something to desecrate the sacred object, I mean car. What this means is that other than actively seeking out a whole class of cars and destroying them all, there is very little someone can do to dramatically affect the long term market value of vintage cars.

    One possible scenario is that this particular modification will become so reviled that very few survive, which then become extremely valuable. Sort of like the Batmobile.

    • 0 avatar

      @jfbramfeld I believe I am safe in saying that the pronunciation of Porsche is not just “Porsh” as if there is no final syllable. Nor is it pronounced with a full final syllable, such as “Poor SHE” or “Poor SHAH”.

      Rather it ends in a half-enunciated and shortened syllable, sort of like “POOR-sha” with the final a clipped a bit.

      I have often seen and heard of people being ridiculed for pronunciations like those in my first paragraph, but never for the pronunciation in the second paragraph.

      Though on TTAC, I would not be surprised to see someone (try to) correct, or object to, the pronunciation I give as preferred or correct.

  • avatar

    Jeeze, there’s so much unnecessary anger. Why not let people do what they want to do? In the grand scheme of things, to get so worked up over “mooks” enjoying a car in a way that makes them happy is, to be honest, somewhat disappointing to see. There is a concerning emphasis of admiring a hunk of metal rather than for being happy for another human being (even if what they do with their cars might seem silly, if that’s the case, more power to them!)

    Many of us do not get to experience having one of these work of arts for ourselves. Many of us can’t even say that we a car at all. On top of that, all of us have a limited on this tiny blue marble. If you aren’t genuinely hurting anybody, why not have a little fun?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve realized that I’ve left out a few words from some of my sentences! But I hope that you all can are still able to understand what I mean in my response!

    • 0 avatar


      Because the modern world is obsessed with Authenticity, and like any obsession, it’s essentially pathological. Part of that pathology is a demand for evangelism by the faithful to spread the One True Vision, and witch hunts to root out heretics.

      You see this idiot phenomenon everywhere, in so many forms. Real Music. Keepin’ It Real. I’m Just A Poor Working Stiff.

      It’s a race to the bottom, of sorts, to see who can be the least-refined, least-developed, least-advanced whatever on the planet, because that’s somehow more “authentic” than trying to be better than you actually are.

      TV Tropes has wonderful articles on this problem:

      Perhaps in this case, the idea should be called Three Cylinders And The Truth.

  • avatar

    God, enough of the hyperbole.

    Unless we’re talking about actual sexual assault, we should stop using the word “raping” as shorthand for “Mr. X is doing something that differs from my preferred interpretation of the subject!”

  • avatar

    @OneAlpha Although I was surprised to see Jack join the crowd that delights in calling anything they don’t consent to as rape, the modern ethos of PC reasons that “they did something without my consent that violates my inner beliefs, therefore I was a victim who was raped by their violation of my cherished personal beliefs”.

    Perhaps it is his way of illustrating a point about how clickbait works. Or perhaps he really does feel that doing something like this to vehicles he feels are sacred objects that rise above mere automobiles, and even above mere Porsches of today, is a violation of some sacred automotive principle.

    The problem for me is that I believe in the sanctity of the principle of private ownership, and like the principles of freedom of speech, and the right to the pursuit of happiness, if I truly believe in them, I am forced to observe some people arriving at places and viewpoints I disagree with. And as long as I don’t own the object in question, all I get to do is to register an objection.

    Though I certainly cannot find any reason to objecting to the statement that they are “bastardizing” otherwise excellent cars.

    There was some discussion a while back about a young woman who had consented to some drunken sex with some drunken fraternity boys, but afterwards she felt bad about it. So even though she had said yes, and was conscious, she felt like she had been raped. It was published under a headline that took the point of view that sometimes even saying Yes doesn’t make it OK.

    Though the author of the article had no good reply to the question that was raised as to why she wasn’t equally guilty for having had sex with young males who were too intoxicated to give informed consent, a fact she had admitted to knowing in her narrative.

    So today, the word rape has fallen under the Red Queen’s rubric: “words can mean whatever I want them to mean.”

    As a result, I am forced to give my 21 year old son cautionary warnings that would have been entirely unnecessary 20 years ago. Fortunately, he understands what that is all about, having, for example, followed the Duke lacrosse team alleged rape scandal of a few years ago.

    Due to the hysterical over-extension of the word towards things that are not legally rape, he has had to come to an understanding that it is better to miss out on certain opportunities, than to take a chance that he might end up being deprived of many more future opportunities, and a whole lot more besides.

    Welcome to the brave, new, PC world.

    I’ll give you even money that someone will reply to my post saying that they feel raped by my callous indifference to the difficulty of trying to express their sexuality without feeling violated.

    “’tis a wicked web we weave,
    when first we stoop to deceive.”

    Welcome to the world of deception by redefinition.

  • avatar

    Good lord, who cares? It’s just an air cooled Porsche 911. They were mass-produced and Porsche made hundreds of thousands of them. There are countless pristine examples of every model and option package still around that will be preserved forever.

    It’s not like this guy is cutting up Duesenbergs, where very few were ever made, and each one is unique and of bespoke build.

  • avatar

    A guy was killed and wrapped in plastic, and the story here is that he won’t modify porches anymore? Am I the only person to find that view twisted? Until I read this I thought I was callous. Now I know I’m a down right humanitarian compared to this site’s contributors. Unless a guy is a serial killer or mass murderer I don’t see how there is a brightside to them being killed like that.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagon Of Fury

      Hey, look, someone didn’t read the article, the link in the article, or any of the comments in the thread, but still wanted us to know his opinion. Good job Sparky ! You make the Internet a better place.

      • 0 avatar

        No @Wagon of Fury, you, like I are part of the great mass of people who don’t see the need for greater kindness towards those who “disappear” a million+ Euros. Fortunately, there are people like Chichi, who, although they have no solution to the problem they think exists, still care enough to deplore us for talking about Porsche mods, and for merely stumbling upon the guy’s death, instead of making a death like that, and the solution to preventing things like that from happening, as our life’s work. Instead, we waste our spare time reading about the various players who modify Porsches, never once thinking about the well-being of their well-to-do *sses, when they are the proximate cause of millions disappearing.

        I hope Chichi will figure out a solution, other than telling us that we shouldn’t care about the cars themselves, in time to save the next person who steals a million, if that was in fact the reason he met an untimely end.

        Though I am concerned as to what might cause him to identify so strongly with the dearly-departed, and to be so blind to the effect that the disappearance of a million plus Euros could have had on someone else’s life.

        But then again, I never have understood bleeding hearts, although I do understand true compassion for the less fortunate. But except for having gotten caught up in some bad business, I fail to see how the dead man had been living an unfortunate lifestyle.

    • 0 avatar

      @chichimuyo A guy is apparently involved in an illegal business that involves individual transactions involving more than a million dollars EACH, and he is apparently the prime suspect in the disappearance of one of those million dollar plus “packages” that were apparently being smuggled in cars he prepped, and you would expect, given the people he was doing business with, that what would be the outcome?

      Everyone would sit down to “cookies and milk” and have a discussion about how “nice people” don’t do things like that?

      And don’t forget, this is an auto site, not a crime prevention site. So the reason that this story was told, and not one about some husband and his GF killing his wife, or something like that, is precisely because it is ancillary to the Porsche angle.

      What were we supposed to do, all deplore the fact that not everyone who likes performance cars has great character, and treats others kindly, even if they are being ripped off for mega-bucks?

      If you know of a site that has lots of followers who sit around deploring the evilness of people who take retribution from their “partners” for wrong-doing, let us know, and if we feel that that is a noble social cause (which I doubt), we will go there.

      In the meantime, most of us will read about, and in most cases learn something new, about some players who were big in the modification of Porsches, but who apparently met a bad end, not because they lived in a crime-ridden neighborhood, but rather apparently because they thought that they could get away with something, and found out that their business partners took a dim view of being ripped off. And those partners, having no legal recourse within the system, caused said person to meet a sudden end.

      And as I pointed out in my long rebuttal to Jack’s claim that this was a horrific way to die, and one that no one deserved, there was no evidence of torture, he was executed in a quick, efficient, and relatively painless way (probably less painful than many state-sponsored executions with “lethal” drugs), and the cellophane was simply a cleanup method, and not an instrument of torture or death.

      I agree that this is much more than merely unpleasant for the average citizen to contemplate, but given the apparent amounts of illegal money-laundering involved, it can hardly be expected that someone would say “that wasn’t very nice, you taking MY million plus Euros. If you can’t or won’t give it back, I’ll let it go this time, if you promise to never do it again.”

      And then I suppose they would go back to what they were doing, and hope that no one else thought that they could get away with it too.

      I don’t THINK SO!

      You play high stakes hardball with tough people, and you get caught cheating them out of their cut, and if you think you could or should be able to convince them that they should just let it go, you are living in a dream world.

      As Dylan once wrote “To live outside the law you must be honest.” This is more than just a line in a verse, in order to get it to rhyme.

      Rather than claiming that there is either honor among thieves, or NO honor among thieves, I would claim that there is sometimes honor among thieves, and that when there is, everyone gets their agreed upon cut and no one gets burned by their partners. And sometimes that is how it goes, and sometimes it doesn’t go that way. And when it doesn’t, someone ends up paying. Usually it is the person who tried to cheat his partner, not the person who was cheated, unless the cheater manages to hide.

      But when you are running with someone else’s millions, the world can be a small place, and the eyes and ears of others can be all around you, especially if the person who was cheated can afford to spend even more to be sure that no one gets the idea that he is an easy takeoff.

      So to deride an auto site for mentioning a gangland style killing in passing, while talking about what was going on in the world of modified Porsches, is to simply blame people for liking cars more than they are interested in finding peacable ways to resolve dishonor among thieves, smugglers, money-launderers, or whatever else.

      I am not saying that he was involved specifically in any of those, but rumors of missing millions usually are not fabricated for no reason, and people don’t usually end up dead with no signs of being robbed simply because they didn’t get a good enough panel fit on their customer’s custom modified Porsche.

    • 0 avatar

      @ChichiriMuyo don’t break your arm patting yourself on your back for your great humanitarian contributions. Best to keep your arm out of the way of the millions who will be hailing you as the next Gandhi or Mother Theresa.

      Damn, I feel better already knowing that someone cares for the well-being of people involved in millions disappearing…they have never had a patron saint before. Although Saint ChichiriMuyo might be a bit difficult to remember, or fit on a medallion.

      But you have to start somewhere. Damn, I feel guilty already for not proactively seeking out unfortunate victims who have taken millions not belonging to them, and who met untimely ends as a result. I can see now that there just aren’t that many people who manage to feel sorry for them. Fortunately, Chichi is on the case, though…let that be a lesson to the rest of us.

      He is proof that mankind is evolving, although slowly. I’ll sleep better tonight for sure, knowing that Chichi is on the case.

  • avatar

    As someone who really appreciates asthetic, I can completely understand where the Stance kids are coming from- those cars really do look kinda cool in a non-functional, Barris custom-sort of way.

    The thing I don’t understand is WHY must they use valuable performance cars to do it?! There are legions, I mean legions, of old 80s-mid 2000s CamCordAurusUmina cars that are waiting with open arms to be lowered within an inch of their lives with massive XXRs and ludicrous camber. But please, please don’t ruin our Miatas and Porsches, we’ll need them later.

  • avatar

    I find it laughable that self-described car geeks are up in arms about what RWB does to Porsches… do you realize that almost all of Nakai-san’s work is inspired by Porsche race cars like the 934, from the spoilers to the fender flares? Those willing to talk shit about RWB should be willing to sling that same mud at Martini Racing, Brumos Racing, Kremer, DP Motorsports.

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