Paul Walker didn’t just play a car guy in the movies, he was one in real life. The late actor, best-known for his role as Brian O’Connor in the enormously popular The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, had a collection about 30 cars, most of which he drove, some of them on the race track.
An icon to younger generations of movie fans and car enthusiasts, Walker also was known as a philanthropist and disaster relief volunteer. He was killed in 2013 at age 40 from a car crash in which he was a passenger in his own Porsche Carrera GT.
Twenty-one of the vehicles from Walker’s eclectic collection will be auctioned at no reserve in January during Barrett-Jackson’s 49th annual Scottsdale, Arizona, sale, continuing the company’s trend toward adding vehicles that appeal to millennial, Gen X and Gen Z collectors and hobbyists.
Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson presented 13 of the cars and three motorcycles from the Walker collection in a media preview at the company’s new headquarters at the Scottsdale Airport. Jackson pointed out how Walker and the Fast and Furious movies helped raised interest in collector cars for that demographic.
“I think for this generation, he was truly that cool, laid-back car guy,” Jackson said. “He was unassuming, loved the cars, loved the people, and became over time, a guy who just loves all this stuff.”
The movies had two effects on younger people, along with video-game spinoffs, he added.
“It brought the younger generation into liking the muscle cars and appreciating them,” he said. “It also brought forth what the millennials and the Gen Zs like in the Japanese cars and the tuners, and melded them together in a worldwide audience.”
Highlighting the collection shown in the preview were seven classic BMW M3 coupes, all painted white. Five of them are rare, 240-horsepower 1995 E36 M3 Lightweights, of which 125 were made, and two earlier E30 M3s, which have soared in popularity in recent years.
The group of ’95 Lightweights are the most ever sold at a single auction, according to Barrett-Jackson. They include a rare example without BMW Motorsports graphics and high wing.
Also shown at the preview was a custom 2009 Nissan 370Z with 2,623 miles that appeared in the Fast Five edition of the films, and a 1989 Nissan R32 Skyline race car that Walker used on the track. Another race car, a 2013 Ford Mustang 302S, was never delivered because of Walker’s death, and remains a brand-new car.
Other cars to be auctioned include a 1995 Ford Bronco, a resto-modded 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle 2-door wagon and a 1963 Chevy Nova wagon that has been partially restored.
Newer collector cars from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s are making headway in the collector car market, Jackson said, and Barrett-Jackson is keeping up with the trend, including having “more and more of the Japanese cars that are coming up in value.”
“Car collecting is evolving and we’re evolving with it, and this really is some of the greatest cars that are coming out of this generation of cars, that the millennials and the Gen Xers relate to,” Jackson said. “Our goal is bringing Gen Z into this. I think we’ve been successful on having a good crystal ball into the future, and we’re changing the mix of cars.
“Paul Walker was sort of an icon for that, and these are the pinnacle of a guy who loved these cars, who would go out and buy them and take them to the track.”
The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale takes place January 11-19 at the WestWorld event center. For more information on the sale, and a full list of the Paul Walker collection, visit the auction website.