To be honest, we’re really over the whole celebrity thing. Meet one or two big-name racers, or actors turned racers, and you’ve (more or less) met them all. We’re willing to give autographs to anyone who wants one, but we’re not exactly the celebrity-stalker type ourselves.
That’s not to say we don’t have our own rock stars, and when we recently ran into Magnus Walker at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, it was all we could do do stammer out, “Mr. Walker, we're huge fans of your work.” (Tip: he much prefers Magnus to Mr. Walker.)
We’re glad to see him back on Jay Leno’s Garage for another visit, since we can’t get enough of his “sport purpose, hot rod-inspired” early Porsche 911s. If you’re looking for originality, look elsewhere; if you’re looking for a car you can drive, with subtle touches of art you can appreciate daily, Magnus Walker’s 911s offer just what you’ve been looking for.
His Porsche 911 72STR 002, for example, pays homage to the late 1960’s Porsche 911R, as well as the Porsche 911 ST models of the early 1970s. Some bits (like the door handles and window cranks) come from earlier 911 models, while the engine is a de-stroked 3.2-liter flat six from a 1984-89 911 Carrera.
In its current tune, it cranks out about 275 horsepower, which is plenty for a car that tips the scales at 2,200 pounds with 10 gallons of gas in the tank. As Leno points out, “all the fun happens between 40 and 120 mph,” and Walker’s vintage 911 serves up plenty of amusement in that range.
The attention to detail in the build is impressive, too. Fender flares are steel, the filler cap has been relocated to the center of the hood, and both front and rear turn signals are integrated into the body work. The rear hood is louvered, which gets more air to the engine and looks cool, too.
Inside, the retro chrome-trimmed gauges, vintage steering wheel, chrome-trimmed mirror and bare wooden shift knob are a few of the nods toward aesthetics, while everything else seems to lean towards the functional side. For track work, the car has a removable roll cage and racing seats with six-point harnesses.
While Porsche purists may decry Walker’s art as blasphemy, the Urban Outlaw recently got an invitation from Porsche to attend the 911’s 50th anniversary celebration, showing that even Stuttgart admires what Walker is doing to keep its early cars alive.
In a world chock full of rolling smartphones filled with electro-nannies to save us from ourselves, cars like Walkers are a breath of fresh air. In fact, if given the choice between the keys to his 72STR 002 or the keys to a new GT-R, we’d take the keys to the Porsche.