It’s a fortunate few that can identify their true passion at an early age, and even fewer that manage to successfully build a life around it. Magnus Walker is certainly among the latter, a renaissance man with an appearance not unlike that of Leonardo da Vinci, but with a creative eye turned to the automotive arts. His earliest muse was a 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo—in Martini livery—on a stand at the Earls Court Motor Show in London, which he attended with his father at the age of 10. And it was at the same age that he later wrote a letter to Porsche with the purpose of, according to Walker, “telling them that, when I was older, I was going to design cars for them.”
Fast-forward to the artist as a young man in Southern California, an entrepreneur that had started his own fashion brand and began investing in real estate, and soon his appetite for Porsches could be more fully sated. But it wasn’t until director Tamir Moscovici approached Walker with the idea of documenting his cars and craft that Walker would transcend the realm of niche car forums and become a cross-cultural sensation, even presenting his own TED talk.
Last year, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the release of the short film Urban Outlaw, Walker was invited by the Petersen Automotive Museum to display 10 of his most prized Porsche’s within the facility’s highly exclusive Vault. “From that kid who wrote a letter to Porsche, here I am 45 years later, more passionate about it than ever,” says Walker, who is also showcasing some of his most notable collaborations with the likes of Hot Wheels and Nike. “I wanted to bring my environment into this space, share what it is I’m about and have people leave more inspired than when they walked in.
We experienced just that as Walker recently gave Robb Report a private tour of his UO10 exhibition—open since October—discussing each of the cars which will be shared with the public until January 31. For those who can make it for the final week, here’s some of what you’ll see.
1965 Porsche 911
Whether watching highlight reels of LeBron James playing basketball in high school or golfer Tiger Woods demonstrating his swing on national television at the age of 2, it’s always fascinating to see legends in their nascent stages. Automobiles are no exception, as this 1965 Porsche 911 proves.
“This is the 310th 911 ever made,” says Walker. “The significance of this for me, though, is that it was delivered to Brumos Porsche, in Jacksonville, Fla., in early ’65. It’s probably one of the first half-dozen 911s that ever came into the country. So it’s a very significant car, a very early car and a very rare car. But it’s not stock. It goes back to what I call ‘sport purpose’. For example, this is running on a slightly later six-inch Fuchs wheel—Fuchs weren’t even out in ‘65—and features more of a gentlemen-racer’s livery, but has my favorite Outlaw slate gray with some gold and burgundy mixed in with the silver. Still narrow-bodied, it’s mostly cosmetically modified.”
1967 Porsche 911 SRT
“This is what I’m essentially calling the ‘Louvered-fender Car,’ says Walker, speaking of his 1967 Porsche 911 SRT. “People were starting to emulate my style, and the louvered decklid was just a pretty easy hot-rod thing. I wanted to elevate my own bar one step above, which was doing something that had never been done before—an individually hand-stamped louvered fender. In the original Urban Outlaw film, this car is on the dolly in primer with a black hood and orange bumper.”
Finding a craftsman capable of such metalwork was a challenge, according to Walker. “I asked a few people if they could do a steel, louvered fender—no one had the skill set or determination to do it,” he says. He finally found Rod Emory, founder of Emory Motorsports, specializing in restomods of the Porsche 356, to create one for him. “It wasn’t like Rod was going to put this in his own line,” adds Walker, “it was just an exclusive thing he did for me, a challenge to do something he’d never done before. So this ’67 [Porsche 911] S is actually the first louvered-fender car we ever did, circa 2014/2015.”
What also makes the car such a standout is the fact that it’s fit with a custom 2.5-liter twin-plug engine made by Wicked Sixes in Germany. The result is a 2,050-pound vehicle with an output of 271 hp. “The power-to-weight ratio of this car is modern-day-GT3 equivalent, minus the fact that it’s still narrow-bodied, still short wheelbase and doesn’t have any big-wing aero diffuser,” mentions Walker. “And on a relatively narrow seven-inch wheel with a 225 [mm] tire, this thing is swirly even in a straight line.”
1971 Porsche 911 T No. 277
From 1968 through 1973, Porsche’s 911 base model was the 911 T (Touring). Its output only ranged from 160 hp to 190 hp through the years, but from those humble beginnings comes one of the most globally recognized Porsche 911 examples of all time, Magnus Walker’s No. 277.
Says Walker on an audio recording made ahead of the exhibition: “The 277 is my favorite of all favorites. It fits me like my favorite old shoes or my favorite pair of jeans. People often ask me, if I could keep only one car, what would it be. Without a doubt, it would be 277. The car started life as a ’71 911 T that I bought at the Pomona swap meet in 1999 for $7,500. I then joined the Porsche Owners Club in 2002 and started doing 40 to 50 track days over the next few years. It’s gone through four or five motors over that period of time. The current is a 2.8-liter twin-plug motor matched to a 915 transmission with a limited slip. It’s got character, it’s got patina, it’s got rock chips, and above all, it’s got a lot of smiles per mile and a lot of memorable moments behind the wheel.”
1973 Porsche 914
The predecessor to the 924, the mid-engined 914 was nicknamed the “VW Porsche” due to its collaborative development by the two German automakers. The example on display is “the complete opposite” of the Carrera GT, according to Walker. “This is the lowest of the low when it comes to 914s,” he notes. “It’s the four-banger 1.7-liter. I bought the car in 2019 from my buddy Felix Holst. When Felix had the car, he somehow dinged the door and swapped it out for one that was yellow, and then he painted this arrow on it with a meatball. I just bought the car for that door, because I knew the door was going to inspire me to do the rest of the car—it was a catalyst.
Walker and Holst teamed up on an artistic vision for the vehicle that included the use of Post-it notes, duct tape and Sharpie markers. “We did this livery, which was my interpretation of a former race car that had gone through many liveries, got parked in the desert, got sun-faded and then was brought back to life,” says Walker. “We did it in three days for less than $500 in materials. But the real kicker to the story is that I ended up showing it at SEMA [Specialty Equipment Market Association] in 2019 at the Mobil1 booth. All told, with new tires and stuff, I was in this car at the SEMA show for under $10,000.”
1976 Porsche 930 Turbo
A new flagship variant of Porsche’s already-flagship 911 model was presented in 1975 in the form of the 911 Turbo, which was internally referred to as the 930. And while the Turbo remains the top tier for 911s, the 930 platform ceased production in 1989. The one on display at the Petersen, though, is notable for another reason.
“This is VIN No. 15, the first-ever US Turbo sold, and it’s documented by the factory,” says Walker. “It was originally delivered to Bob Smith Porsche in Hollywood, and I’m the fourth owner. The interesting rumor behind this one is that it was, supposedly, originally ordered by the actor Robert Redford, who never took delivery of it. This car has never been restored. It’s been driven hard and put away wet, but it’s been maintained.”
1978 Porsche 911 SC Hot Rod
In 1973, Porsche introduced the second generation of the 911—what became referred to as the G series. The changes were substantial, many due to more stringent safety regulations stateside, which resulted in new impact bumpers and the addition of three-point seat belts among other considerations. Also new to the model were the Cabriolet and Speedster variants. In 1978, the 911 SC (Super Carrera) premiered and was eventually powered by a 204 hp 3.0-liter mill. The G series of 911 was built for 16 years and had a run of 198,496 examples when considering all of its variations.
Perhaps its sheer numbers were what made it such an enticing car for Walker to exercise his creative vision with. “This budget build is a 1978 SC that I picked up for next to nothing about 10 or 12 years ago,” says Walker. “I bought some vintage seats for nothing [$500] and re-covered them myself.” The vehicle also sports a roll-bar found in his garage. The entire car, as seen, is purported to represent a $20,000 investment in total.
1980 Porsche 924 Carrera GT
Released in 1976 and made for 12 years, the 924 was Porsche’s replacement for the 914. It’s significant for being the model that debuted the use of a liquid-cooled front engine by the marque. The Carrera GT, a homologation variant, came on the scene in 1980 and featured output bumped to 210 hp from the standard 924’s 125 hp. Only 406 examples were built.
“The car was on my wish list, and this example has an interesting story because it had actually been impounded and was in a tow yard in Japan,” Walker explains. “This guy pulled it out and shipped it to Sydney, Australia, but couldn’t get it registered because it was left-hand drive and wasn’t old enough at the time. I got an email from the guy essentially saying, ‘I got a car I think you should own.’ I’ve had it about eight years and just did a light cosmetic makeover, putting on my own 16-inch wheels and this Minerva-blue paint scheme. This car had been semi-restored before, but it’s what I call ‘driver-quality, sport-purpose streetable track.’ And it’s somewhat of the holy grail of the 924, with it being a Carrera GT.”
1990 Porsche 964
The 964, built from 1989 through 1994, was the third generation of Porsche’s iconic 911 and was the first configured with all-wheel drive. In addition, 85 percent of the car showcased new parts compared to its predecessor. It’s no surprise that such an innovative iteration was also one that inspired Walker to push boundaries as well.
Referring to it as the “big brother” to his ’67 911 SRT, Walker also calls this one, “perhaps my most performance-orientated to date.” As per his inimitable style, however, he didn’t follow what others had done before in customizing the car. “A lot of people take the 964 platform and either backdate it or they update it into something completely different,” notes Walker. “My goal here was to add every influence from the 356 to the Ruf Yellowbird to sport classic, but still keep the 964 DNA.” This example carries a 3.8 RS-spec 993 motor, Brembo club race brakes and KW coil-over suspension. “What separates me on my journey of Porsche modification is that I never actually emulate stuff the way it left the factory, like a lot of people do,” adds Walker. “I take that inspiration, throw it in the blender and mix it up a bit.”
1995 Porsche 993 RS
“I jokingly refer to the 993 as ‘the Cadillac of 911s,’ because it’s the softest and floatiest one in stock format,” says Walker. Revered by Porschephiles the world over due to being the swan song of the air-cooled 911, the 993 iteration was built from 1994 through 1998 and has become a favorite donor car for restomods from exclusive restoration houses like Gunther Werks and Paul Stephens. This car, however, is not one of those. Aside from being a 993, this example’s uniqueness is, well, skin deep.
“A buddy of mine, Robert Angelo, who used to be Jay Leno’s producer and got me on Jay Leno’s show 10 years ago—three weeks after Urban Outlaw came out—drops it off and leaves it with me for a week, as I was mildly interested in buying it,” explains Walker. “He hadn’t told me the Riviera blue was a wrap. I hate wrapped cars. Everything in here, except this car, is painted because I’m committed. But the more I drove it, the more I liked it. I didn’t want to de-wrap it because I like the Riviera blue, so I created a livery with tape and teamed up with Vader Werks [in Los Angeles] who did the vinyl application of my livery.” As for the design motif itself, Walker reveals that it was inspired by “camouflaged warships that are usually black, white and gray, but have this trapezoid, asymmetrical pattern.”
2004 Porsche 996 GT3
The fifth generation of 911, known as the 996, was a benchmark version that was either beloved or berated depending on one’s perspective. The reason for such polarization? It was the first 911 to feature a water-cooled engine. It was a car that was more cost-effective from a production standpoint, which gave the marque room to breathe financially, and eventually grow, much as the 911 itself did with its now-larger dimensions. By the end of the 996’s run in 2005, 175,262 examples had left the factory.
“The 2004 996 GT3 is the first water-cooled 911 I ever owned,” states Walker in an audio recording for the exhibition. “Of all the GT3s I’ve driven, the 996 is perhaps my favorite. It’s pure, analog, raw and a real fun blast up your favorite mountain road. As you can see, it’s got a Brumos-inspired striped livery, a bolt-in roll bar—and that’s pretty much it. Every time I get behind the wheel . . . I’m reminded of just how great these early GT3 cars are.”
Magnus Walker’s UO10 exhibition closes on January 31.