We uncover Indonesia’s fascinating RWB car culture…
When we think about places with an abundance of automotive enthusiasts, what countries come to mind? Japan, too many different countries to list in Europe, the USA, Australia? But how about Indonesia?
The world’s largest island country is known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture and, as I found out on a recent trip, amazing coffee. However, most wouldn’t think this island is filled with spirited enthusiasts wanting to drift, race and show off their project and demo cars as much as any country famous for petrolheads?
Living in Japan and being my first time to Indonesia, I wanted to see first hand what kind of car culture Indonesia was hiding, and if it would be different to the car culture in Japan. I went with a set of questions. What kind of car does the average enthusiasts seek to modify? Which would be more popular, form or function? What would the people be like in the automotive scene? I really had my work cut out.
Luckily, I had the help from the guys at GoodRides, a media team based out of Jakarta hosting the Speed Matsuri. They showed me around and introduced me to automotive enthusiasts from all over Indonesia. I quickly found out that the scene in Indonesia is similar to more commonly known places. The desire for both form and function was strong and the cars, although much more difficult to obtain thanks to the Indonesian government, somewhat similar as well. However, I still wanted to try and spend a day with some enthusiasts to get a sense of why they are petrolheads in the first place. That’s how I ended up meeting Yanto Widodo and his wife Natalia Widodo, petrolheads with the common obsession of everything Volkswagen, and owners of Terror Garage and RWB Indonesia branch.
If there is a stronger word in the dictionary for obsession, that word can only describe their love for Volkswagen. When they were younger, and to a certain degree still today, Volkswagens were very rare in Indonesia. With the government’s strict importing rules and absurdly high import taxes, of not only new cars but older ones too, you just can’t walk down the road and find a Volkswagen parked at the local store. It was this rarity that sparked their love and they started collecting everything Volkswagen. They probably have the most impressive collection of Volkswagen among private owners anywhere.
A few years ago, Yanto bought a second villa close to his house with the sole purpose of tearing down walls and turning it into Terror Garage’s new workplace and storage for some of his collection. On entering, you’re immediately aware that this isn’t just an ordinary workplace, rather a museum with a section dedicated to building and restoring classic cars, and creating RWB Porsches. Along with a fully restored 1957 350CC AJS7R ‘Boy Racer’, parts hang from the walls as if they were paintings – waiting to have their second chance at life.
The workshop, which once again looks more like a small display of Volkswagen history, is filled with restored vehicles and Porsches getting ready for the RWB treatment. In the back area, a wooden shell is proudly on display. The Wooden shell was fi ne-tuned by hand to make the aluminium roof of the RWB Speedster. With the help of his design partner Michael Lesmana, the duo created the shell with the purpose of making it look like the original cabriolet top the 1984 911 came with. Out back, the collection of classic Volkswagen continues – in particular Volkswagen Vans. Yanto has a special softspot for the vans and is always on the hunt for old and rare ones. One vehicle in particular that stood out to me, in part because I had no idea what it was, was a 1957 Tempo Matador. Founded pre-WWII, the Matador wasn’t owned by Volkswagen. However it did use 25hp 1,100CC engine from Volkswagen. So it meets Yanto’s criteria.
You really could stay at Terror Garage for hours, looking at all Yanto’s unique and rare collection of Volkswagens. However, Yanto wanted to show me his really special collection at his private house just down the road. ‘What could be more special than this?’ I thought to myself…
Turns out that just like the second villa he turned into a workshop, his main house has also been transformed into a private museum full of Volkswagen cars – and home of all the RWBs in Indonesia. Yes, all four air-cooled examples. The Speedster has to be one of the more unique builds, and differs greatly when compared to Nakai-San’s usual creations.
However, it was the Terror Targa, another collaboration with RWB and Terror Garage, that stole my heart. Something about Targa tops makes me all warm and fuzzy inside and the fact they gave it the RWB treatment makes this the most stunning one yet.
The transformation of the G Model 911 started back in the summer of 2014 and, similar to the Speedster, was a collaboration between RWB and Terror Garage. Ironically, the idea was spurred on by what the new name of the car would be – the Terror Targa (TT which also means Targa Top). Nakai-San flew down to Indonesia to put his magic on the bolt on over fenders and fabricated a custom exhaust system. Beautiful 18-inch Work Lanec LM1 wheels wrapped in Advan Neova tyres match perfectly with the styling lines of the 911 and custom matt silver paint.
In the rear, the ‘Porsche’ which is normally inscribed in the brake lights has been replaced with a custom one with the words ‘Zweite Entwicklung’. The 930’s 3.0L flat- six engine remains in its natural air-cooled state, but with a new aluminium body for weight reduction means the Terror Targa is no slouch. Upfront, the fuel tank has been modified for racing applications – a hint to what Yanto might have in mind for this car in the future.
The interior has also received the Terror Garage treatment. The main goal here was to have a factory feel, with a touch of modernisation. Beautiful custom red Bride Racing seats, MOD. 07 leather MOMO steering wheel, and that gorgeous custom aluminium dashboard help achieve the interior vision Yanto and Michael had in mind.
I started this quest with the simple question, wondering what kind of car culture and enthusiasts Indonesia was hiding. After spending the day with the guys a GoodRides and Terror Garage, it’s clear the passion for automobiles is just as strong here as it is anywhere. I’ll definitely be back in the very near future!
Terror Garage’s RWB ‘Terror Targa’
Terror Garage RWB ‘Terror Targa’
Porsche 930 3.0L fl at-six air-cooled engine.
Factory manual transmission.
Wheels & tyres
18in Lanvec LM1 Work Wheels; 265/35R18 ADVAN Nedva fronts, 295/30R18 ADVAN Nedva rears.
Custom matt silver; RWB fender fl ares; RWB bumpers; custom ‘Zweite Entwicklun’ brake lights; custom race fuel tank.
Custom aluminium dashboard; custom Red Bride racing seats; MOD.07 MOMO steering wheel; Terror Garage aluminium pedals.
Words and photos Ron Celestine