The story of how Magnus Walker rose from a Sheffield dole queue and a bleak future in Thatcher-era England to become a leading figure of the LA rock music scene, and then one of the world’s most prolific Porsche collectors and modifiers, is one that has been told in various parts across the countless YouTube videos and interviews that you’ve all surely seen.
You know the bones of Magnus’ story; sees the Porsche 930 Martini Turbo as a kid at the 1977 Earl’s Court Motor Show and is awestruck. After doing pretty poorly at school, hops across the Atlantic completely skint, bums around the rock music scene for a while before he begins to sell jeans that he’s cut up and modified to his own tastes on Venice Beach. That little enterprise goes spectacularly, and it morphs into a clothing company that ten years later is dressing some of the world’s biggest rock acts. He’s rubbing shoulders with rock royalty, has the money to indulge in Porsche’s, does innumerable track days, starts getting more cars and modifying them, and then Canadian filmmaker Tamir Moscovici makes a documentary called ‘Urban Outlaw’ and the rest is history.
Magnus has just written an autobiography, entitled ‘Dirt Don’t Slow You Down’, and it was its launch that drew me to Aberdeen in the Scottish Highlands on a foggy Tuesday night. As the final call on his UK book tour, Magnus would be stopping by the Porsche Centre to meet up with some guys from the local Porsche scene, do a Q&A session and basically just hang out with whoever wanted to come.
The night at the Ace Cafe in London a week earlier had brought out a huge number of modified Porsche’s, and I was quietly hoping that the same might happen in Aberdeen. Whilst it was warm and sunny for the night at Ace Cafe, the night at Aberdeen was preceded by a solid day of rain and fog so heavy that it engulfed some of the taller city buildings. And for those that have been to Aberdeen, the buildings aren’t terribly tall.
Air-cooled and GT3 parking was allowed within the grounds of the Centre, and everything else parked across the road. This mint green 993 Carrera, Paint To Sample ordered and allegedly one of four RHD examples in this shade, was particularly striking.
The 991 GT3RS of Tartan Outlaws leader and event organiser Jools was fitted with a kit of parts from Californian Porsche tuners Sharkwerks, including their full exhaust which makes the GT3RS sound arguably as angry as a Cup Car.
Without a doubt, this 996 GT3CS was a favourite. It seemed to sit a little lower than a regular GT3, and there’s just so much racecar stuff going on that it’s hard to believe it is all factory fitted. A chin spoiler, that massive carbon wing on the rear, the roll cage, the fixed Recaro seats, the Schroth harnesses and that massive red fire bomb sitting where the passenger’s ankles should be. It was undoubtedly a handful in these slippery conditions.
Inside the showroom, nestled amongst the new stuff, sat some of the dealer’s classic stock. A 964 Turbo, G-Series cabriolet, 993 Carrera 4 and a short wheelbase 911 provided an interesting contrast to what made the guest speaker so famous. Magnus is all about ‘Get Out And Drive’, not worrying about using the cars, tracking them, modifying them to suit your tastes, getting stone chips and driving hard. And here sat four pristine cars with the phrase ‘Peter Vardy Heritage – Iconic Investments’ on their dealer plates. I guess that probably helps to sell the cars a little easier.
Magnus first spoke about his trip so far, and then just told stories and answered questions from the crowd until he was asked to start winding it up. The guy genuinely loves to talk, and the passion he has for Porsche and cars in general is obvious. He had a stab at those typical types of Ferrari owners, had a stab at people who don’t drive their Porsches and keep them only for investment, joked that he’s a little surprised of his association with Porsche given that he’s never actually bought a new one, and spoke about the dreams and plans he has for the future. Other than the pull-up banners behind him, there was almost zero talk of the book. It was more about how he’ll have to swap out the Hoosier slicks and get the windscreen wipers working if he can pull off a European road/track trip in his #277 911 at some point.
The questions from the audience were the most fascinating, such as when asked about his most memorable speeding ticket. You’re know your cool when your answer is: ‘my most recent one, it was in an F40 in Florida and we were almost arrested for it’.
Afterwards there was time to meet him and I had the obligatory photo taken. He took the time to speak with everyone who came up to him, I mentioned that I was from Adelaide, Australia and that he really should come out for the Adelaide Motorsport Festival. Interestingly he had actually heard of the event before.
As for the book, at time of writing this story I’m about 1/3 of the way through and it’s proving to be thoroughly interesting, going into great detail about how exactly you go from working class Sheffield to rubbing shoulders with the world’s Porsche elite. In short; a great deal of hard graft, an intense passion for rock music, a little luck and a whole lot of faith in your own instincts. Before I began reading I knew very little about his clothing company, and had no idea that they ended up making clothes for the likes of Alice Cooper, Madonna and Nine Inch Nails. His clothing even ended up on the front cover of Rolling Stone a couple of times.
Words, photos and video by Andrew Coles