Thursday, March 31, 2016

Prelude to RWB El Hefe

January 21, 2016
Turbo Kraft
Mesa, AZ

There is usually great anticipation and excitement leading up to any RWB build. This build was no different. I met John the previous night and he was elated beyond words for his upcoming build. Although there were a couple of uncertainties with regards to some outsourced parts and the car's operability, his general demeanor was confident and cheerful. I immediately felt reassured that the whole build experience would be fun regardless of the circumstances at hand. Sure enough, my initial impression was correct. The experience was one for the books. 

Our Thursday started out early. Up on our agenda was to pick-up Ben who was flying in at 10 AM from Pennsylvania, aid in the preparation of the car for the build, then pick Nakai-san up from the airport at 3 PM. We had a light meal at the hotel's free continental breakfast, but we were craving for some real local food. Armed with Yelp on our phones, we began the search. Interestingly, this barbecue joint located very close to the airport popped up in our search boasting a 5 star rating. Five stars! That is some kind of a rarity given the yelpers' erratic temperament towards food in general. 

We just had to try their barbecue and see for ourselves whether it was indeed worthy of the 5 stars. Getting there early is the name of the game, since the queue for the sought after barbecue gets out of hand on any given day. We arrived at the place at 9:30 AM and nobody was there except for the parking guy, which meant that we were first in line. By around 10 AM, people began to arrive and the line was quickly getting longer. While waiting John had to leave to pick-up Ben, so the task of ordering fell upon me and JM. We just ordered a bit of everything. Also, we were in luck because it was pastrami day.

Just a quick note, their food was great! The brisket and pastrami were so tender and moist that they melted in the mouth. The flavor was on point and eating all the meat was like heaven for the palate. Yelpers are right on this Phoenix foodie treasure.

These two RWB's greeted us when we arrived at Turbo Kraft. They would then serve as our inspiration to begin with our tiny contributions in the preparations for the build. There is only one RWB in the Phoenix area, so knowing that at that specific time there were currently three and another one in the process of being built was crazy. It was like being stuck in a room with four hot girls while everybody else was just outside the door going about their lives and oblivious to your situation. 

The day has been pretty chill. We began our day at the shop with a few shots of Privilege. There wasn't too much heavy lifting to do, since Chris and the team were preparing most of the stuff for the car and there were only a few people coming for the build. The atmosphere at the shop was very calm and laid-back. 

There was some downtime for us before we would leave and pick-up Nakai-san, so I grabbed the opportunity to take some detailed shots of the car. I tried my best to capture sharp photos after downing some shots of cognac and a bottle of beer. Fortunately, the car was up on the lift making it super easy to shoot the powertrain and suspension bits.

The finish on El Hefe's Work wheels look perfect - all bronze with a matte finish on the face and a polished barrel. The wheel pictured below is one of the front wheels. Admittedly, it never occurred to me to photograph one of the rear wheels as well. I apologize for the oversight. 

At around 2:45 PM we left the shop for the airport. There was some accident on the freeway which delayed us for a couple of minutes. "Don't worry. I'll smoke." That was what Nakai-san said when John informed him that we were running late. He is such a sensible and patient guy. Also, he is extremely humble considering the status that he has already achieved. 

Nicotine and caffeine - the two ingredients for a wildly energetic artisan. We made two requisite stops. One at a convenience store and another at a Vietnamese sandwich shop. Everybody wanted to fit in, so we all got Cafe Sua Da. 

Medusa and Clermont greeted Nakai-san upon arrival at the shop. He carefully checked out Medusa and admired its current state. 

Nakai-san wasted no time and immediately checked the status of El Hefe as soon as he came inside the shop's work area. His work ethic is truly admirable. 

Seeing Nakai-san so relaxed was a welcome sight, because a few minutes after the photo below was taken, he was already buzzing around as he started the creation of El Hefe. One could only wonder what thoughts are running through this craftsman's mind as he finishes a stick of Winston. 

The coverage of the build will be coming up shortly. Be sure to check back in a few days.

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