For most petrol heads the journey to owning your ultimate car can be an expensive, time-consuming and often frustrating route. But for Magnus Walker it’s simply a way of life.
Magnus Walker isn’t your typical-looking idol. With dreadlocked hair, oil-stained clothes and a Northern England-meets-American accent, the Sheffield-born petrol head wouldn’t look out of place asking you for a quid outside the local bus stop.
But as we were taught from an early age you should never judge a book by its cover, as underneath his hardened exterior is a man with one of the greatest early Porsche collection in the world – and an attitude to life nothing short of inspirational.
Situated in Downtown Los Angeles in the now desirable Arts District, Magnus and his wife Karen are proud to call this 26,000 square-foot warehouse home. The walls are decorated in Porsche memorabilia, the garage houses enough spares to build several Porsche models from the ground up and then there’s the showroom. Magnus set out to collect one of every Porsche 911 model built between 1964 and 1972 – the first ‘proper’ generation. It’s safe to say he succeeded, but how exactly does a man from Sheffield end up with the Porsche mecca pictured here?
After moving to America in the late 80s Magnus found himself renting a spot on the boardwalk for a mere $10 a day. During this time Magnus was buying old Levis jeans, patching them up, adding his own touches and selling them to make money – a good way to scrape the cash together for the uber-creative Sheffield boy who was now surrounded by creative types in LA.
Fast forward a few years and Magnus – now joined with wife Karen – had established a successful clothing line that led them to expand into the huge warehouse here. At the time their friends thought they were mad (it was far from being a safe or desirable location) but it’s now one of the trendiest areas in LA.
With the clothing line ticking over, a film company wanting to use their premises for filming a commercial approached Magnus and Karen. The pair agreed, and after 22-hours of stressful filming later Magnus and Karen swore they’d never do it again! But after being paid for the work the penny dropped, and soon enough there were multiple film companies paying to use the super-cool warehouse. A new film location business was established, the perfect means of funding their (cough, his) Porsche obsession. And the rest, as the Hollywood types like to say, is history!
Urban Outlaw – Porsche 277
In the past few years Magnus fever has definitely blown up thanks to the success of the Urban Outlaw documentary, and one of his most iconic models featured is Porsche 277 – a 71T 911 made famous by its unique exterior and signature modifications including the 52 Outlaw Wheels – a design collaboration between Magnus and Fifteen52 wheels (also based in LA).
Often seen screaming along the 6th Street Bridge, Porsche 277 has been developed over the past 14-15 years to create the ultimate road-legal, race-ready 911. ‘Once you get involved with track driving, you start developing the car – stiffer suspension, better brake set-up, stickier rubber and this was the beginning of me making this ‘71T a more aggressive track car.’ Magnus explains.
With a 2.4S, twin plug, 6-cylinder boxer motor in the back 277 is the epitome of Magnus – super-cool, super-fast and a little rough around the edges!
Nicknamed the ‘widow maker’, it’s safe to say the Porsche 930 Turbo is a complete animal. This was the first turbo 911 built by Porsche, and it’s rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration combined with a big, laggy turbo made them a proper handful for yuppies that soon found themselves going backwards into a ditch.
Magnus currently has five 930 Turbos. Finding a good one is difficult in 2014, but Magnus also happens to own the first ever 911 Turbo ever registered in the USA – a car that Magnus bought and shipped over from Australia of all places! But don’t think this is some collector car that’s never going to be used – with a cracked indicator light and stone chips littering the front, it’s safe to say Magnus continues to use the 930 Turbo exactly as it was designed for back in the 70s.
Magnus Walker quick fire interview
Where did your passion for Porsche begin?
I tell this story a lot. I was at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1977 and I was ten years old when I saw a 911 Turbo in Martini Racing Colours. This was the supercar of the 70s and where I fell in love with the shape of the 911.
What is it about the 911 that excites you so much?
I always talk about the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The 911 ticks all these boxes for me. Obviously when I talk about taste, it’s figuratively speaking. I’ve had many other cars, but the thing that makes Porsche special is the way that they drive. The 911 experience is stimulating and exciting when you’re behind the wheel. And when you’re not, the cars are pretty to look at.
So it’s about driving?
Absolutely. It got pretty serious in the early 2000s. I was doing maybe fifty or more track days a year with the Porsche Owners Club and car 277 got a lot of miles put on it. I would always drive to the track, thrash around for hours and then drive home. For me it’s all about getting out and driving these cars. That’s what they were built to do.
And is it only about old school Porsche?
No, weirdly enough over the past year or so I’ve been driving a lot of new Porsche models. The new 911 Turbo, for example, offers explosive power and is very exciting to drive. Truth be told I’m a driver at heart. So new or old, if a car really gets the blood pumping then that’s what it’s all about.
Photos Scene Media