The Fast and the Furious star and noted enthusiast Paul Walker died Saturday afternoon in Santa Clarita, California, after the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT in which he was a passenger crashed and caught fire. The driver and owner of the Porsche was Roger Rodas, Walker’s longtime friend, racing partner, and fellow philanthropist; Rodas also perished in the crash. Just prior to the accident, the two were hosting a fundraising event for the Reach Out Worldwide organization to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Most famous for his role as Brian O’Conner in the Fast Furious franchise, Walker appeared in five of the six films and was preparing to shoot more scenes for Fast Furious 7. When not on a movie set, Walker raced cars and helped run Always Evolving (AE) Performance, an automotive tuning shop located in Valencia near the site of the fatal accident. In an interview with PASMAG earlier this year, Walker explained the philosophy behind AE Performance: “I have a performance shop called AE Performance and we do race prep and all that stuff out in Valencia. So I have a couple partners and we all race together. It’s a family business basically. We brought in friends and people coming from different economic backgrounds, let’s just say, but it’s cool because everyone gets to have their cake and eat it too.”
Walker’s time on the track included regular participation in the Redline Time Attack series, as well as in the Pirelli World Challenge and NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. He was said to own an extensive car collection that included multiple BMW M3 LTWs, a Nissan Skyline GT-R, several Toyota Supras, and more. This video from The Smoking Tire shows a tour of AE Performance in mid-2012; many of the cars seen in the video were allegedly Walker’s. Paul Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow.
To honor the noted enthusiast and his role in the success of the occasionally cheesy but undeniably influential FF film franchise, we present a few of the coolest cars driven by Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner:
1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse
While the second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse was never a paragon of reliability, it has proven to be one of the most popular tuner cars of all time. The specific car used in The Fast and the Furious started life as a naturally aspirated 1998 Eclipse GS but was turbocharged and heavily modified for its star turn in the first FF movie.
1995 Toyota Supra
After the first movie’s release in 2001, fourth-generation Toyota Supra prices shot sky high and stayed there, largely on the back of this example. Known for being able to take extreme amounts of abuse, the Mark IV Supra’s calling card was its available twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE engine. It’s said that several such models were part of Walker’s personal collection.
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Hailed by some as the best GT-R ever built, this 1999 R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R made its debut in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Occupying the same wing of the powertrain pantheon as Toyota’s 2JZ-GTE, Nissan’s RB26DETT is another twin-turbo inline-six engine capable of big power.
1970 Dodge Charger R/T
Originally seen in the first movie driven by Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto character, this 1970 Dodge Charger R/T is driven by O’Conner in the fourth and fifth movies, Fast Furious and Fast Five. The second-generation Chargers are highly desired by collectors and enthusiasts alike; 1970 was the last year of this model. Toretto tells O’Conner that this one makes “900 horses of Detroit muscle” and ran “nine seconds flat” at Palmdale.
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
It was only a matter of time before fans got to see O’Conner behind the wheel of a Subie. It finally came in the form of this 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, a car worshiped by the enthusiast masses for being highly tunable, reliable, and all around awesome. For 2008, the WRX STI received a brand new engine and chassis and did a good job exciting fans in Fast Furious and Fast Furious 6.
1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The C10 generation was the first of the Nissan Skylines to receive GT-R badging. Powered by a 2.0-liter inline-six that made 160 horsepower, it paved the way for several additional generations of GT-R goodness. This classic Skyline was driven by O’Conner in Fast Five.
1970 Ford Escort RS1600
The original Ford Escort is probably the last car anyone expected to see in a Fast Furious movie, however this 1970 Ford Escort RS1600 debuted in Fast Furious 6 and fans drooled over one of the most iconic rally machines of all time. With a 1.6-liter inline-four built by Cosworth, the Escort RS1600 was one of the world’s first sport compacts.