Magnus Walker

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Magnus Walker
Magnus Walker Geek.jpg
BornJuly 7, 1967
OccupationNo Occupation
Years active2013–present
Spouse(s)Karen Caid Walker (deceased 2015)
Partner(s)Hannah Elliot
ChildrenNone
Websitehttp://magnuswalker911.blogspot.de/ (not active)
http://www.urbanoutlawshop.com/ (Closed)

Magnus Walker (born July 7, 1967 in Sheffield)[1] is a British former fashion designer and car collector. He emigrated to the United States in 1986 at the age of nineteen, after dropping out of school and finding it difficult to find work or direction at home in the United Kingdom. He accidentally fell into the fashion business and eventually established a clothing brand with his late wife, Karen Caid Walker. They called their brand 'Serious'. The brand eventually fizzled out in the early 2000s. Having been fascinated with Porsche since childhood, he started collecting and customising vintage Porsches, mostly of the 911 model. After the documentary Urban Outlaw (which first sparked his self-styled persona and nickname) about his life and fascination with Porsche, he became one of the world's most visible faces of the Porsche and car collecting scene. He has since been featured in a multitude of media, such as The Joe Rogan Experience (2015), and Jay Leno's Garage (2017), and the 2015 video game Need for Speed. The nickname Urban Outlaw is now applied to Walker himself, whereas it was the car featured in the 2012 short film that was supposedly the Outlaw and not the man. Walker often courts controversy with his online persona and his attitude. He divides opinion with a very loyal following contrasted with those who question his relevance. He gained notoriety for crashing with press reporter Vineeta Sawkar of the Star Tribune sitting alongside him at Porsche dealership opening in Minneapolis. Sawker is quoted as saying "This guy, I don't know why he was driving as fast as he was on that [frontage road]," and "All we wanted was some nice video of him in his car, that he restored. It was bizarre. I'm just thankful I got out of it alive and no one else was hurt." [2]

Early life[edit]

Walker was born in 1967 to middle-class parents.[3] Growing up in Sheffield, England, Walker's fascination with the Porsche brand sparked when his father took him to the 1977 Earl's Court Motorshow as a 10 year old, where he saw the Porsche 911 for the first time. After that, he wrote Porsche a letter, asking for a job. Porsche actually replied and encouraged him to apply for a job when he had finished school. However, in 1982, Magnus had dropped out of school without a degree, got involved with the punk rock and heavy metal scenes, and bounced around places and jobs. Seeing no perspectives for the future in Britain, he decided to follow the American Dream and try his luck in the US. He got accepted as an instructor at a summer camp north of Detroit in 1986. He traveled to Los Angeles soon after the camp was over.[3][4][5][citation needed]

Fashion career[edit]

Shortly after his arrival in Los Angeles, Walker unbelievably stumbled into the fashion scene by accident. When he was a little boy, his mother Linda had taught him how to sew,[6] and having resewn a pair of $10 pants to make them fit, they were noticed by Taime Downe of the band Faster Pussycat. This was all purely by chance as Walker was hanging around the 1980s LA glam metal scene looking for a break. Walker sold Downe eight pairs of his customised pants for $25 each and soon after established a stall on Venice Beach, where he would sell customised clothing he revamped from cheap clothes he bought at flea markets or second-hand stores. As the market stall was taking off he created a clothing company he named Serious, joking at the time "because it wasn't serious at all".[6] Simultaneously to launching it, he met Karen Caid, who went by the name Hoochie, a designer he had run into at trade shows. Hoochie, decided to ditch her own name line, Hoochie Clothing, and teamed up with Walker. She applied her flamboyant design talents to Walkers ability to choose fabrics and she made the brand a success. After opening a store on Melrose Avenue in LA[6] the clothing garnered a following and was worn by the likes of Madonna, Alice Cooper, and Bruce Willis.[4][5][3] To accommodate their company's growth, which was now being sold at a chain of retailers, the pair bought a run-down factory building in the Arts District of Los Angeles. This accidentally established a second venture, as when interest in their clothing line increased, they were approached and asked whether they would rent parts of their property as a filming location . Bruce Willis, Victoria Beckham, Jay-Z and Prince, among others, have filmed adverts, films or music videos on his company grounds.[5][3] After about 15 years of manufacturing clothes, the sales of Serious Clothing began to dwindle, and Walker and his wife no longer felt connected to the scene, so they sold[citation needed] their business and the company eventually closed.[7] On June 1, 2017, Walker published his autobiography Urban Outlaw: Dirt Don't Slow You Down, detailing his rise and fall in the fashion industry.

Urban Outlaw Film[edit]

The term Outlaw has been associated with vintage Porsches for over thirty years. In the 1980s a Porsche customizer called Rod Emory (his father Gary ran the world-famous but now closed Porche Parts Obsolete) started building highly modified Porsche 356 models which he badged '356 Outlaw'.[8] The term 'Outlaw' has been applied to the underground customization of cars (mostly Porsches) for many years. The most infamous cars belong to the members of the secretive and contentious (invitation only) L.A. Porsche club, 'R Gruppe'.[9] Walker is not a member of this club. In 2012 luck came knocking when Walker was approached by Canadian filmmaker Tamir Moscovici, who had a concept for a film, and it took no convincing a fame-hungry Walker to agree to film a documentary about him and his car collection. The word 'Outlaw' which had already been applied to customised Porsches for many years was adopted as the title theme. The resulting short film, Urban Outlaw, was premiered at the 2012 Raindance Film Festival and suddenly turned Walker into a public phenomenon for the custom car scene. Subsequently, he was featured in multiple automobile magazines and invited to events. Ironically it was never Walker who was the 'Outlaw', but the car featured in the film. Walker now refers to himself as "The Urban Outlaw". At the time, Walker tried to capitalise on his newfound fame and displayed his cars at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. Porsche executives visited at the time and spokesman for the company Nick Twork was quoted as saying "“We can't go as far as to say we endorse his work. That's pretty hard for a company like ours to say, but his cars have a unique style, and we have taken notice.”,[10]

Car Collection[edit]

With his and his wife's fashion business soaring, Walker was finally able to fulfil his childhood dream of buying a Porsche when he bought a 1974 Porsche 911 in 1992. He started to collect more and more cars and joined the Porsche Club of America in 2002, to find a more suitable outlet for his love for speed. He started participating in race events[citation needed] and he sold all cars of his that were not a Porsche[citation needed] and instead focused his efforts on completing his collection of vintage 911s.[4] He now holds a customised collection of 25 cars worth approximately $7.5 million[citation needed], which are not for sale.[7][citation needed] Having a background in fashion design, he did not conform to the unwritten rules of vintage car restoration and he strived to turn every car he owned into a unique piece of art without compromising its Porsche roots.[4] Due to this and his unkempt appearance, unusual for a Porsche enthusiast,[4][3][1] he has attracted public attention.

At one time he sold merchandise and offered customisation services[citation needed] under the name Urban Outlaw, the name he took from Tamir Moscovici's film. This business failed, with Walker losing interest in it, and it has now closed. His newfound fame led to Porsche, 35 years after he wrote a letter of application as a child, reaching out to him[citation needed]. He has since featured in several Porsche adverts[citation needed] and claims that he acts as a spokesperson for the brand.[citation needed] This has however been called into question with Sabine Schroeder of Porsche AG in Germany saying "Magnus Walker is not at all one of our official Porsche brand ambassadors. He visits many public events around the world were Porsche takes part – at his own expenses. And he is always in the center of media interest. That's part of his business model". [11] This follows various videos of Walker driving at illegal speeds on the public roads of the USA having surfaced recently.[12]

Furthermore, he appeared in several other documentaries, such as I am Steve McQueen (2014) and Motor City Outlaw (2016) and TV shows, such as How I Rock It (2013), The Joe Rogan Experience (2015), and Jay Leno's Garage (2017), mostly centering on his role as a Porsche collector and customiser. In 2015, he was featured in the video game Need for Speed, as one of the icons the player character and his crew seek to impress.

Personal life[edit]

Walker was married to his wife, Karen, for 21 years. She died in 2015 from alcoholism.[13] Walker has said that he doesn't currently have a job, nor does he want one.[14] Since 2020, he has been hosting a cooking and sewing show on Instagram which is being filmed and produced by his girlfriend Hannah Elliott, the editor of Bloomberg News' Auto. [15]

Filmography[edit]

Documentaries[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Urban Outlaw Himself
2014 I am Steve McQueen Himself
2016 Motor City Outlaws Himself

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 How I Rock It Himself 1 episode ("John Varvatos, Magnus Walker, Rob Zabrecky, Marcus Samuelsson")
2015 The Joe Rogan Experience Himself 1 episode ("Magnus Walker and Alex Ross")
2017 Jay Leno's Garage Himself 1 episode ("Hand Made")

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Need for Speed Himself

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Knapman, Chris (20 June 2017). "Magnus Walker: The Urban Outlaw interviewed". Goodwood. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  2. ^ Star Tribune 2015
  3. ^ a b c d e Knapman, Chris (27 July 2017). "Magnus Walker: chatting to the world's coolest Porsche collector". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Riccioni, Marc (1 April 2015). "Who is Magnus Walker?". Top Gear. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c John, Caroline (3 August 2017). "Magnus Walker Wiki: Age, Net Worth, Wife, Clothing, & Facts to Know". Earn the Necklace. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b c LA Times 1997
  7. ^ a b Bloomberg, Jonathan (2 August 2017). "Magnus Walker has 25 Porsches that could be worth $7.5 million, but he's not selling". CNBC. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  8. ^ Rod Emory Interview 2016
  9. ^ Article on R Gruppe 2013
  10. ^ LA Times 2013
  11. ^ Porsche Press
  12. ^ Illegal Driving
  13. ^ Red Bull Interview 2015
  14. ^ Tobias Moorstedt Interview 2017
  15. ^ Cooking Show

External links[edit]