You see, The Fast and the Furious started a car culture around the world and Walker was the star; the underdog cop breaking through into the underground racing scene. That film’s importance to the tuner car culture around the world cannot be ignored, nor can another car film replicate its impact - I feel.
He came on the petrolhead or gearhead (as they say in the US) radar in 2 Fast 2 Furious again and it was around this time that we discovered he was just as car-obsessed in the real world as he was in the films. He shared a dream common to most car guys as he once said: “I’ve always wanted to race cars, ever since I was a young boy, as I think a lot of guys have.”
The Fast and the Furious star was one of the most infamous petrolheads to ever grace the silver screen. It’s just so sad that someone who had so much good to offer the world had to be taken so soon. The only saving grace is that he went out doing something that he loved as he said years before the incident: “If one day the speed kills me, don’t cry because I was smiling.”
Walker and Roda tragically perished last year when the Porsche Carrera GT in which they were travelling crashed into a concrete light pole and two trees at around 160km/h, which caused the vehicle to burst into flames.
A recent video on YouTube unveiled Walker and long time friend, Roger Roda’s car collection, which is seriously impressive. Walker was quoted as saying: “I have an airplane hangar with 17 cars in it and that’s no joke. I have a half-pipe in there, too - you know, like a big ramp, where I skateboard. It’s awesome. It’s the ultimate fantasy.”
Some of the machinery on display were new and classic muscle cars, which included an Elanor Shelby Mustang, a Ford GT, a range of BMWs, which included a mint M1, a Rolls Royce Phantom, new and classic Porsches, several Ferraris, fast Audis, a Toyota Supra, a Nissan Silvia S15 and, of course, the Nissan Skyline R34 that we’ve seen him photographed next to, several times.
Those of you who are Walker fans and would like to see what happened to his character, Brian O’Connor, in-between the first and second Fast and the Furious films, I urge you to watch Turbo-Charged Prelude (2003). It’s a short film dedicated to bridging the gap between The Fast and the Furious with its first sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious. The film does appear on the tricked-out edition of the original Fast and the Furious DVD.
The fact that we are thinking about him, discussing him and honouring his memory one year after his untimely death shows just how much the guy meant to the car fraternity. There are countless cars driving around with Paul Walker-inspired stickers, some sporting the iconic “Dude I almost had you,” quote at the rear.
Let’s remember Walker by sharing our passion for romanticising car culture, ensuring that his death inspires another generation of car lovers and, more importantly, let us all be vigilant when it comes to reckless speeding. RIP Paul.