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Previous owner of car in Paul Walker crash appears to be IndyCar driver Graham Rahal

Sun, 01 Dec 2013

The fifth owner of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT in which "Fast and the Furious" actor Paul Walker and the car's owner and driver, Roger Rodas, were killed appears to have been IndyCar driver and avid car collector Graham Rahal.

The car had six different owners since it was new.

Rodas' Always Evolving car shop was the sixth owner. The fifth owner appears to have been Rahal, who fit the car with the distinctive black alloy wheels -- replacing the stock silver wheels -- that made the car so recognizable at Southern California car events.

Rahal bought the car in Florida, and another Florida dealer apparently sold it to Rodas and his company. Rahal traded the car in for a Ferrari, and it was a Ferrari dealer who sold the Carrerra to Rodas.

Rahal had the Carrera GT for a year.

"I get bored with cars pretty quickly," he said in a story published earlier this year. "The Carrera GT is just harder to drive, and I drive my cars a lot. Nothing that I have will not be used. Every car that I have will be driven a lot. I have two cars that are old that don't get used that often, but that is rare."

Rahal compared the Carrera GT to a 2010 Ferrari 599 GTO. Some of his observations and his descriptions of how difficult the Carrera was to drive are chilling in light of the crash.

"It says it has traction control, but that traction control on that car is not going to do a thing to save you," Rahal said. "And that's what I love about it. Part of me is very happy about it and part of me regrets it. It was a great, great car.

"With the GTO, the noise, the shifts, the fact that it's still evolving, with the dual-clutch gearboxes these days, you don't even feel it shift. I'm not really a fan of that," he says. "I like to feel that you're interacting with the car. This [GTO] still has the old style, so you can feel it shift. That's what I personally enjoy about it, whereas a lot of the new cars you can't feel it at all. To me it becomes more like you're driving a computer than driving a car.

"The carbon clutch, things like that are a challenge, whereas the 599 you hop in, off you go. It's pretty simple," he said. "But if I was insanely wealthy and could have 10 supercars, a Carrera GT would be one. I would have to be somewhat of a garage queen, because long-term, I think that is a fantastic investment. I think that the Porsche collectors would agree."

A cover picture promoting the Always Evolving car shop includes a Porsche Carrera GT, right.

By Steven Cole Smith