When you meet Magnus Walker you instantly know he is passionate about the Porsche brand. He walked me around his collection animatedly discussing the different models he owns and why they are important to him. Each car has a character, or better yet a soul that is deeply connected to him. Everything Porsche is very sacred to him. It's a religious experience sparked when he was just a 10-year-old boy exploring England's Lincourt Motor Show. Walker's father used to bring him to a lot of motoring events, but the one that sticks out most in his mind was when he first saw a 1977 930 Turbo.
"Growing up in Sheffield," Walker remembers, "you didn't see Porsches driving around on the street". Young Magnus was always up for a trip to Donington, Cadwell or Mallory Park when his father wanted to go watch a race. He dreamt of owning a Porsche, but he had to put that dream on hold until the time was right. In 1986, Walker made the trip across the Atlantic to New York to work at a summer camp. Once his camping adventure was complete, Walker hopped on a bus to Los Angeles via Detroit — a road trip that changed his life.
Walker couldn't wait to get behind the wheel and tackle the highways of California, but first he needed a driver's license! In 1987, he got both his license and a 1977 Toyota Corolla. With his first set of wheels came the freedom to hit the open road. His entrepreneurial spirit drove him to start a fashion line and he ultimately became successful enough to acquire his dream car. In 1992 he bought his first Porsche and experienced the thrill of street racing, canyon runs and plenty of speeding tickets. A fateful introduction to John "Otto" Williamson led to a new passion and partnership. Walker says, "John introduced me to the Porsches' Owners Club and club racing. It wasn't long after that I was driving my 911T to Willow Springs and learning all the shortcomings of the vehicle". He worked for years to build a car that he could drive to the track, win a race and then drive home. That's when number 277 was born.
"Growing up in Sheffield you didn't see Porsches driving around on the street".
The Ride: 1971 Porsche 911T
277 has a lot of character, patina and soul. Each and every outing in 277 adds battle scars in the form of cracks, paint chips and decals. It may have started life as a 1971 911T but it was soon converted into a '73 RS replica. Adding fender flares and a duck tail was only the beginning. Walker went through four engines and multiple suspension configurations before creating the car that now feels like an extension of him. There are no plans to restore this Porsche; after fourteen years of owning it, Walker still never tires of getting it on the road. Whether it's cruising down the street to grab a coffee, a morning blast through Mulholland Canyon, or a race on Willow Springs, 277 is Magnus Walker's go-to car. And he also has a go-to drive. "I have multiple driving routes that I like to go on," he says, "but the one that's always a challenge is Angeles Crest Highway".
"I have multiple driving routes that I like to go on but the one that's always a challenge is Angeles Crest Highway".
The Road: Angeles Crest Hwy, CA
Walker drives fast, but his years of experience on and off the track have given him a certain control that makes piloting 277 up Angeles Crest Highway seem so elegant. The car itself is loud and uncomfortable but it's also nimble and quick and feels right at home in the long sweeping turns of Angeles Crest Highway. "I like to setup my own mini race course each time I blast up ACH", Walker laughs. He sets goals each time he visits ACH, always setting up better reference points so he can brake later and gas it earlier. The goal is for consistency, but also to improve upon his previous runs. The elevation changes make the car run different from the bottom to the top so it's more than remembering certain turns, it's also about how much throttle you give the car at certain points of the ride.
One thing that doesn't change is a pit stop at Newcomb's Ranch for a bite to eat. Newcomb's is your standard roadhouse in the middle of nowhere (or top of nowhere in this case) serving good burgers and cold draft beer. It's not the food that makes Newcomb's so memorable, it's the people. You can always count on an amazing crowd of friendly folks swapping stories, admiring each others' rides and sharing their passion for the road.
The run down ACH from 5,300 feet is slower than the spirited dart up, but it gives us time to take in the scenery. From the towering mountains in the distance to the dry and rocky cliffs down toward the bottom, it's this variety that makes Angeles Crest Highway a favorite Southern California drive. Walker sums it up, "Once you hit the bottom and turn onto the 210 freeway, reality hits you and only by thinking about the next run up ACH can you fight back the thoughts of work".
"I like to setup my own mini race course each time I blast up ACH"