When news that "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker had died in a car crash first circulated on Twitter, many thought it was a hoax, due to the accident's eerie connection to the blockbuster series.
But as MTV News learned in our first interview with the actor for the "Fast & Furious" franchise, all the way back in 2001, Walker's love of cars went back much further than his days as Brian O'Conner. During the chat to promote "The Fast and the Furious," Walker described himself as "crazy about cars."
"My father was always into cars. I grew up with all of the various car publications," Walker said. "That's what I read. They were always around the house. My grandfather actually raced factory cars for Ford. I think the whole speed car thing is really in my blood."
And while his love for cars didn't start with "The Fast and the Furious," the first movie in the series did shift his focus to the import racers featured in the racing flick. "I wasn't really into this whole import car scene too much before I did this movie," he said. "I was familiar with it, but it really wasn't my cup of tea. It wasn't until I got a little ways into the film that I realized what these cars of capable of, but now I'm all about imports. I love my domestics still too, but I get it both [ways]."
Walker became familiar with the scene initially when he was growing up in California's San Fernando Valley, where a racing culture similar to the one portrayed in the movie thrived.
"When I was in high school, we would go to the races every now and then," he said. "They were all over the San Fernando Valley. I was born and raised in the Valley. It's basically what you see in the movie. You go, a couple guys race, cops swarm in, you run to your car, and you race out of there as fast as you can. I was pretty familiar with it."