Magnus Walker book tour: Sprechen Sie Porsche

Stuttgart, the birthplace of Porsche, is also the chosen city for one of the world’s largest classic car shows. The spectacular ‘Retro Classic’ hosts hundreds of cars and thousands of enthusiasts every year. Like proud grandparents, the people of Stuttgart never miss a chance to show off cars from their local marque. The monster-sized halls were filled with dozens of pristine, factory-correct 356s, 911s and 912s. However, there was a definite shortage of Sheffield-born Californians sporting dreadlocks, tattoos and beards.

Flying the flag for this very niche category was Magnus Walker. His recent best-selling book, Urban Outlaw – Dirt Don’t Slow You Down, has raced round the globe capturing the imaginations of Porsche fans and inspiration-seekers alike. At the Retro Classic, he was doing two book signings that would eventually take several hours longer than scheduled, due to the massive fan turnout.

Some celebrities could have hastily chewed through both snaking queues in barely an hour, but that isn’t how Magnus works. Old, young, German, English, a toddler with an Urban Outlaw cap, even a fan from Croatia had turned up and every single one of them returned home with a signed book, a photo with Magnus and a glowing smile on their face. Magnus spent time with each individual, chatting about their car, what they thought of the show and creating a special moment for every one of them. All without speaking a fluent word of their language.

Talking with Magnus afterwards, I asked how he felt the tour had gone: “I would say it went extremely well, super-well organised, of course.  The turnout at the events was surprising, some were even bigger than on the UK tour in 2017. The highlight for me was the kickoff at Leipzig where I got to tour the amazing facility and drive on the iconic track. The support has been overwhelming, with some phenomenal events.”

Also at the show was legendary Porsche name and designer of the 993 Turbo, Tony Hatter: I asked Tony why he believed Magnus has such universal appeal: “He has an enthusiastic emotion for his cars that people pick up on. Also, the ease with which he builds these cars is incredible. Some people spend years trying to find the correct bolt but Magnus just thinks, I’ll put this engine in that car and those wheels on that one… which makes him very different,” Hatter said.

Back with Magnus, I asked him why he thought so many people had bought into his story: “There is a common bond and language which we all speak, I jokingly refer to it as, ‘Sprechen Sie Porsche’. We might be English, German or Japanese, whatever, but Porsche is a universal language that brings us together.”

The book’s life isn’t finished yet, either: “A Japanese edition is coming out and I’m really hoping to see it translated into Spanish. The plan is to just keep the book rolling – I hear reading is making a comeback. It’s all about spreading the Outlaw word and hopefully telling my story,” Magnus said. Regardless of where you’re from, it seems we’re all connected by the language that is Porsche…

This story was written by 15-year-old Alfie Blue for Total 911 magazine

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