As car enthusiasts, we are all, surely, intimately familiar with the Fast and Furious movie franchise and its star Paul Walker (who played Brian O'Conner for the 6 movie series and 14 year duration). Walker, along with friend and financial advisor Roger Rodas, died late Saturday in a horrific and fiery crash. Always Evolving Performance Motors, a race preparation and tuning company Walker owns, and which Rodas is the CEO, was hosting a charity car show to benefit the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. As the show was winding down, Rodas and Walker reportedly decided to go for a drive in the Carrera GT owned by the shop when the crash occurred.
Video Taken Just Seconds After The Crash
Around 3:30PM on Saturday afternoon, deputies reported to the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop Road in Santa Clarita. The bright red Carrera GT was heading eastbound, just west of Constellation Road, in an industrial park, when the driver (Rodas) lost control at what was believed to be a very high rate of speed. The skid marks on the road indicate that the Porsche slid off the road and into a pole, erupting into flames. The site of the accident was less than 1 mile from the offices of Always Evolving and the site of the car show.
As we said before, Walker was best known for his acting in the Fast and Furious series, but he has around 40 movies to his acting credit, including Into the Blue, She's All That, Eight Below, and Takers. Outside of the acting world, he was known as an avid gear head. He owned Always Evolving Performance Motors, as well as a chain of service shops specifically for hybrid vehicles called Hybrid Haven. He was a racing driver, in his own right, with credits in Redline Time Attack, NASA 25 hours of Thunderhill, and Pirelli World Challenge, not to mention his foray into the Toyota Pro-Celeb event in Long Beach. He was a surfer, a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu, an oceanic conservationist specializing in shark preservation, and an outstanding humanitarian. Walker was in the middle of filming the 7th "Fast and Furious" film, and it is not yet clear how the series will move on from this. Walker leaves behind his 15 year old daughter, Meadow.
Roger was a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch, working with several high profile accounts, including Paul Walker's. He and Walker first met at the race track, and became fast friends. When they met, apparently Walker's portfolio was a mess, and Rodas helped him to diversify, as well as work with his sporadic acting income to develop long term goals. He was an El Salvador native, living in Valencia, CA, working on the day to day development of Always Evolving and Hybrid Haven. Rodas was an accomplished Pirelli GT3 Cup driver, and drove Mustangs in the Pirelli World Challenge, having taken six podium positions and two race victories in the GTS class. Together, Rodas and Walker had shared the track many times, including a recent excursion to the 25 hours of Thunderhill in a Mazda Miata. Roger, like Paul, was also a tremendous humanitarian as board member of the Asomugha Foundation and helped Paul to form Reach Out World Wide. Roger's passing leaves behind his wife and two children.
Carrera GT #479
Chassis 479 began life in 2005 as one of the 1270 Carrera GT (980) produced for worldwide consumption. Less than half of them were shipped to the United States. The Carrera GT is notoriously difficult to drive, and requires a level of finesse and a level of heavy handedness to control at times. Strapping into a Carrera GT is an eye opening experience, and if you aren't careful, the car can bite back. Even for experienced drivers, the low, wide coupe can be a handful. Originally sold by Beverly Hills Porsche in March 2005, the car's first owner drove it only 456 miles until 2007 when it sold. The second owner sold to the third owner in 2009, shipping the car to Texas with a mere 1510 miles on the odometer. The Texan owner sold the car in 2011, having only driven it 200 miles. From there it went to a dealer in Florida who sold the car to a young owner in Indiana. In that time, the car was fitted with the black wheels and an acoustically amazing GMG WC titanium exhaust. In the summer of 2012, I drove to Indianapolis to meet with the owner and take #479 for a spin around the block. From there, the car was apparently sold back to Florida before being purchased by Always Evolving this spring.
Our condolences go to the families of all involved. We will never get used to losing members of the car community, especially those as nice and generous as Paul and Roger. Rest peacefully.
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