Life is an Open Road for Magnus Walker
Magnus Walker holds a special edition Hot Wheels toy, complete with a figurine of Walker, in his Porsche 911 garage.
Magnus Walker has found success in a lot of things over the course of his life thus far – he created a hugely popular clothing company, Serious, that outfitted countless top celebrities, he built his dream live/work space in downtown Los Angeles and turned it into a profitable filming location for the entertainment industry, and, in the past six years alone, has become one of the most prominent personalities in the car world - starring in a popular short film, giving a Ted Talk with over 6 million views, and writing a book (the 2017 top selling release, “Dirt Don’t Slow You Down”, recently reprinted in paperback).
These days, Walker is most well-known for his incredible Porsche collection and his passion for the brand, particularly the iconic 911 models. His affection for Porsches began at the age of ten in 1977 in England, when his dad took him to an auto show and he fell in love with a 911. He purchased his first Porsche in 1992, and he now owns around 25 Porsches, but it wasn’t until he decided to let a filmmaker come shoot some footage of him with his favorite Porsches and turn it into what would become a spectacularly popular short film that he would become one of the most famous Porsche collectors in the world.
Magnus Walker's Porsche garage.
Starring in the short film, “Urban Outlaw”, by Tamir Moscovici, Walker’s distinctive style, complete with long hair, dreadlocks and tattoos, and his serious passion for Porsches made for a compelling combination and challenged what most people think of when they picture a Porsche owner. The film’s release happened to coincide with the 50thanniversary of the 911 and Walker believes that added even more interest in the film and in his collection.
Unlike some who may better fit that preconceived idea, however, Walker is someone who truly is in the car world for his love of it and nothing else, and his collection is definitely impressive.
Magnus Walker's famously customized 1971 Porsche 911, popularized by the short film, "Urban Outlaw" and immortalized as various Hot Wheels toys.
But his unique looks aren’t the only thing that make him stand out from the stereotype of a Porsche driver, he also loves to customize his Porsches, something purists are averse to, and Walker uses somewhat of a hot rod ethos to do so. He started by working on his own cars the same way he took to being a clothing designer, a mixture of DIY artistic attitude and functionalist necessity. He didn’t plan to do these things, he just was hands-on about following his inspiration and passions and those things translated into successful opportunities and adventures.
Some of the Porsches in Magnus Walker's collection, in his 911 garage.
At first, it was his goal to own a Porsche, then it became to own one of every year of the turbos, from 1964-1973. After having met that goal, and having owned over 40 911’s so far, his newest goal is to own one of every model of the sports cars that they have made. He has most of his 911’s in his garage space, but also has a storage shop with just his original year 1964 Porsche 911 and parts inside, a “non 911” room with a couple other Porsches and more tires and parts, and what he calls his “chop shop” in a garage space literally just across the street from the main property.
Donor Porsches wait in the lot outside the "Chop Shop" to be brought back to life in a future build.
He loves the interchangeability of the Porsche 911 parts from the first 30 years, and how they have maintained similar structure and usability over time.
“The soul is still the same,” he says.
His collection of parts is impressive, as well, and he regularly saves pieces from donor cars for future use.
Magnus Walker's first year 1964 Porsche 911 sits in a special garage room where various Porsche parts hang from the wall.
“I’ve got the space. I don’t throw anything away.”
When I ask what his favorite non-Porsche car is, he surprises me with another icon, the Ford Mustang, and talks about the similarities between the two marks’ history. Both the Ford Mustang and the Porsche 911 were first debuted to market in 1964 and both are two of what he considers to be the top three most iconic models in America’s long love of cars – the Ford Mustang, The Porsche 911 and the Chevy Corvette.
Porsche has always been his favorite, but he’s loved other classic cars over the years, even getting the logo to the 1969 Dodge Superbee, of which he owned two, tattooed on his arm.
His partnership with the Porsche brand has led him to some amazing experiences, including being asked to design his own Hot Wheels cars, being the first non-professional race car driver to have their own Momo steering wheel in production, hosting a TEDTalk, doing appearances with Porsche and racing Porsches all over the world. Earlier this year, Porsche brought him out with other Porsche enthusiasts to do a 3500k (approximately 2175 miles) trek across the outback of Australia in a Cayenne, with 1200k of that trip being off road.
Magnus Walker Hot Wheels toys on display at his warehouse shop.
He has also been seen in print, online and on tv doing appearances with his Porsches, including on Car Cast with Adam Carolla, Top Gear, and multiple appearances on Jay Leno’s Garage.
He says that what he does is “nothing new” and that even James Dean customized his Porsche, but that Walker himself, “brought a different inspiration”, even though he never planned it that way.
Magnus Walker's custom Porsche 911's in his garage. Some of his personalized design elements include his custom grafted lights, shaped into the body.
“I believe in saying yes to opportunity,” he shares, adding that by saying yes to doing the documentary, “the film changed my life.”
His TEDTalk, which has garnered over 6.8 million views as of this publication, is centered on “going with your gut feeling”, and Walker says that’s a part of his success. He dropped out of school, had no formal education, but still was able to become a leader in the fashion industry and to run a hugely successful locations business.
“If I can do it without an education, anything is possible, if you set your mind to it,” says Walker. “The best asset is creating your own luck by doing what you love to do.”
Magnus Walker's desktop is covered with the various Hot Wheels toys he has designed alongside one of his Momo special edition steering wheels.
As for what’s ahead for him, Walker says that the journey continues, and who knows where his passions will take him next, but just that he plans to keep enjoying the experiences that come along the way.
“The road is open.”
Magnus Walker's 1976 Porsche 930 Euro in his Porsche 911 garage.
An excerpt from this piece was first published in the Houston Chronicle on 9/29/18 in a feature about Magnus Walker in the car column "Heidi's Customs & Classics" by Heidi Van Horne.
Keywords: 911, auto, automotive, car, cars, classics, column, heidi van horne, Magnus walker, Porsche, Porsche 911, Porsche collector, Porsches, urban outlaw
Seems like a really cool dude
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