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Behold the Baja 911

PH has met the man behind Russell Fabrication - it's fair to say he's our kind of guy

By Dafydd Wood / Friday, December 20, 2019

There are a lot of refurbishedredesigned and reimagined Porsches available these days. But while all of them offer their own unique twist on Stuttgart’s classic formula, none goes quite so far, high, or sideways as the Baja 911. 

A product of California-based Russell Fabrication, the Baja is the brainchild of founder TJ Russell, who spent the past year dedicating himself to its creation. Having previously worked with the likes of Singer and Magnus Walker, he’s no stranger to the world of Porsche restomodding, but with his true passion centring around off-road rather than on-track antics, the time had come to go his own way. 

Starting with a 1991 Carrera 4 Cabriolet - the custom roll-cage providing more than enough stiffness, and Cabrios being less collectable than coupes - the entire machine was completely overhauled, before a host of bespoke, hand-made and top of the line components were bolted on. Where to start, then?

Well, to give the Baja 911 the ability to live up to its name, a whopping 12 inches of front and 14 inches of rear suspension travel have been facilitated via a set of Elka coilovers, a feat which required the creation of an entirely new sub-assembly. Flared arches add seven inches of width to either side, supporting the addition of 30-inch Toyo all-terrain tyres and meaning that the still-road-legal machine won’t have any trouble over even the roughest ground. 

Still, it was important to Russell to retain an element of the Porsche’s original handling characteristics. So, to maintain a healthy balance and a rear-engined feel, the wheelbase was extended by three inches (one-inch front and two at the rear). And speaking of the engine, it wasn’t left unloved in this project either; enlarged from a 3.6- to 3.8-litre unit and fitted with new throttle bodies, a new intake manifold, custom internals and a Motec ECU, it now produces 365hp and 310lb ft of torque.

The resulting car is much more than just a rough-and-ready dune machine, though, packed as it is with exquisite touches and top notch finishing. With his background in fabrication, the attention to detail is second to none, right down to the quality of the seams on every weld. A carbon fibre inlay on the roll cage hints at the extensive use of composites in the build - materials which have helped shed 180kg from the car’s original weight for a new 1,270kg total. The custom-built light pods, too, are things of beauty and the thought that’s clearly gone into the design and packaging of the entire project speaks for itself. 

You can pore over the details on the Instagram account dedicated to the build here - although be prepared to lose more time than you might think… Those with deep enough pockets can also discuss the prospect of buying one of their own, with TJ planning a limited run of the cars. Pricing is as yet unannounced, but if we found ourselves with a sudden windfall to put into a project Porsche, we know where it’d be going.

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