Magnus Walker is a passion-driven man and he’s living the American dream – one vintage Porsche at a time. “America is still the land of opportunity,” Walker told Autoweek. The humble and well-spoken collector is a happily married, successful entrepreneur who builds and drives vintage Porsches for fun out of his downtown Los Angeles warehouse. Starting his mornings at five o’clock, Walker can often be found driving one of his many Porsches around the L.A. area, taking pictures and enjoying his cars.
Born in Sheffield, England, in 1967, Magnus Walker left his formal education at age 15. He crossed the pond for the United States four years after that and never looked back. He landed in Detroit for a short time and then made tracks West to California, where his rocker lifestyle allowed him to fit right in with the 1986 Los Angeles music scene.
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As he assimilated, Magnus Walker developed his own brand of clothing that grew into a passion for trying to reinvent the fashion industry. Serious Clothing remains active, but as time passed, Walker turned his attention to the film industry. He and his wife of 17 years, Karen, bought a large warehouse downtown L.A. and converted it into a living space, garage and studio for their work. Working at home allowed him to have the time to turn his attention to automobiles.
“When I was a boy, my father took me to a lot of motorsports events. I grew up during the glory days of Formula One and have motorsports ingrained in me early on,” he said. While at one of these events, Walker spotted the car that started it all for him—a white 1977 Porsche Turbo with the red and blue striping of the Martini livery. “It was my dream car,” he said.
As time marched on, Magnus Walker’s passion for Porsches evolved – as did his collection. His original goal was to own an example of every Porsche 911 from 1964, the first year, to 1973. “I have one from every year except 1973,” he said. “I have had plenty of opportunities to buy a ’73, but my priorities have changed. The novelty of having ‘every one’ wore off. The real challenge was to find and buy a ’64 because, without it, there would be no icon.”
While his collection of 911s is remarkable by itself, what Magnus Walker has done with them is a whole different animal. Canadian filmmaker Tamir Moscovici discovered Magnus Walker through an ongoing thread on the Pelican parts Web site about his ever-changing projects and updating vehicles. “He saw my thread and contacted me about doing a documentary. I had seen his films about Honda IndyCar and a gritty piece about tattoos and knew he was a kindred spirit,” Walker said.
“So, on a leap of faith, a handshake and a shoestring budget, Tamir flew down to Los Angeles to start filming.” Moscovici gathered more than 40 hours of footage over the course of four days that was to be paired to a five-minute mini-documentary, a passion project for him -what would turn into a 30-minute feature documentary. “While the trailer is about 95 percent Porsche, the film is more so about my drive and passion. I want people to know that they can follow their dreams, whatever they may be.”
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Walker’s passion for building older Porsches occupies roughly 80 percent of his days, he said, most of which are spent doing the work of a self-taught mechanic. He does both numbers-matching original builds and full-on custom dream machines. “If I find a car without an original motor, I’m comfortable with taking creative liberties and throwing in a stroked motor or making other upgrades”, he said. Walker has been known to incorporate personal touches and updates to many of his cars, including leather pull straps, drilled-out door handles, vented Plexiglas windows and other pieces he’s developed from years of driving and racing. “I want them to have soul,” he said.
Having spent the better part of a decade competing in Porsche club races and track days, Walker’s tastes have evolved from pure track to streetable track cars. “The more I got involved with the events and racing, the less fun it was. It became all-consuming”. Walker now focuses on building cars at his own pace, and selling them unadvertised. “I did my first restoration four years ago. These cars are easier to work on, and a person of little mechanical knowledge like me can work on them. I build outlaw, sport-purpose-art-inspired cars, Monte Carlo-rally type cars merged with the 1970s R S and the RSR tastes, a race car converted into a street car. I want to offer a happy medium from the ‘less is more’ stylistic approach.”
While Walker has spent time behind the wheel of new Porsches, he prefers the older models. “I’m rooted in the older cars, but am starting to step out into 1970s Turbos. The modern hatchbacks can blow them away, but that’s not the point. My Irish green 1966 911 is one of my favorites. It’s rewarding to get the most out of the car; it packs a punch and is a real thrill to drive. You have to be involved. It’s a definitely rewarding stimulation.” Even though he has owned more than 40 Porsche 911s, when asked whether he’ll ever part with the 1964 model, Walker responded, “My theory is: certain things cannot be duplicated. Something like a ’64 911 cannot be duplicated, so it’s one of those cars that has a lot of sentimental value. You’re connected to it a little more. I have a few cars that are pretty rare and I don’t think I’ll be selling those”.
Gently via AutoWeek
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