Within Jalopnik there have been many, many Meme's, jokes and crap given to the Fast and the Furious franchise. We all are guilty of it. I am guilty of it. However, with a weeks worth of looking back on the life and death of Paul Walker I have come to a conclusion on the entire FF series. We as a community, owe a lot to to it. It spawned a brand new generation of Jalops that continues to this day.
Think about it. Most of the people here on Jalopnik are around the ages of 18-35, we weren't influenced truly by our parents generation of Movies like Bullitt or the original Gone in 60 Seconds, or even Le Mans. We now all love them because, who wouldn't? But our generation grew up on the Fast and the Furious series.
I am not ashamed to say I didn't know much about cars in 2001 when the first film came out. I knew I loved the way cars sounds and fast cars, but I was only 14 and didn't live in a car centric house. I did have a first or second gen Viper poster on my wall in my room, but that was about it.
( I still covet this car)
But I didn't know much about anything else. Until the first movie. I still remember how psyched I was after I saw it, and how I immediately went home and searched up all the cars from the movie to learn more about them. Although this was 2001 and dial-up was still a thing, so it might have taken me a few days just to get through the hero cars! But it made a lasting impression on this young man, one that continues to this day. I firmly believe that our generation of Jalop's was influenced and rightly so by these movies. These movies fueled a passion for cars, from big block Hemi's to 2JZ Toyota's that needed parts flown in directly from Japan. Just take a look around at your local car shows and you will see the influence of these movies everywhere. And with that influence we come to a sad day that we had this week with the passing of Paul.
This weekend a few local Chicago car clubs decided to do a tribute meet up and cruise. I decided that it would be cool to go pay my respect in the way that Jalop's do when one of their own passes, and especially one that had so much impact on our lives, cruise and rev the balls off my GT86 with my Chucks on!
The three groups that put on the event we're JDM Chicago, Chicagoland Petrolheads, and a smattering of the FT86 Club Chicago Chapter. They were thinking about 500 or so cars, but in all reality it was probably closer to 1000. Ages ranged from Old timer to are you sure your allowed to legally drive without a parent? The meet started in the parking lot of a closed food store and then went for a cruise. It was truly a sight. It was not just a car show or car meet, but rather a memorial of the "Jalop", something that I sincerely hope doesn't stop with just a celebrity, but when every "Jalop" falls.
Many people had signs, or decals and writing on their cars with RIP Paul, or In Remembrance, or Fast and the Furious Decals. Below are a few pics I took.
I could only grab the one pic of the RIP because a lot of the cars were continually moving throughout the parking lot.
(A Unicorn spotted in the wild-or in other terms and R32 spotted in Illinois? IT WAS RHD!)
(It was 14 degrees and my wife and I were pretty much popsicle's after this.)
In the end, while a few yahoo's, got busted for doing burnouts or in the case of a Scion XB getting a ticket for having a honest to god TRAIN HORN attached to it and blowing it a few times, we were all there to celebrate and mourn in the way of the gearhead, or petrolhead or Jalop. With our cars. Cars bring us all together, the love of the smell of a carbuerated muscle car, the whine or hiss of turbocharger or supercharger, the stanced out Miata that should be strictly used for autocross but is a DD. We all came not only to mourn together Paul's passing, but to celebrate the fact that we are all fanatics in the house of horsepower. Something that for most of us was introduced to us by Paul Walker and the crew of Fast and the Furious.
So I will end it here with a simple,
Thank you Paul for everything you, will be missed.