The Russell Built Fabrication Baja 911 is a wonderful creation by shop owner and master fabricator TJ Russell, a gent who has substantial experience in both high-end Porsche restoration, as well as no-holds-barred off-road driving and racing. He decided to blend both sides of the Venn diagram into one cohesive circle with this monster of an aircooled Porsche, and my God, do we salute him for doing so. The car was recently examined on a great info-filled episode of The Smoking Tire (TST).
The style of this video from Matt Farah and Co. is a bit of a change of pace from TST’s normal content, and the makers chose the perfect car to do it with. Though the channel is known for perfecting to-the-point review content, this clip takes on a long-form in-depth format with some great added insight.
Although the 911 is a sports car meant for the road from the factory, an off-road variant makes a lot of sense. As TJ points out, the 911 is an ideal candidate for fast off-road driving due to its chassis and having so much weight in the rear of the vehicle, which he says is the winningest formula in Baja racing history. For those unfamiliar, the Baja 1000 is one of the most grueling off-road races in the world and is well-known for its long sandy gravel circuit with every degree of bumpy surface. To put it plainly, it’s a place meant for suspension travel and clearance, which the Baja 911 definitely has.
The car is an absolute beast, and Matt only wheels it in two-wheel drive in this video. It soaks up all the harsh surfaces and maintains as much traction as possible without issue. In doing so, it proves that Porsches can squab on any road surface with just a little more clearance and knobbier tires. It’s immensely entertaining to see how Matt effortlessly hangs the rear-end out at high speeds, rips it over some gnarly whoops, gets airborne, and even does a pretty brutal climb, — again, all in 2WD.
What’s more, TJ has really gone to town making this a viable option for prospective Baja 1000 competitors. He’s designed the fully independent suspension at all four corners from scratch and has integrated some resourcefulness into his designs. This includes ensuring that control arms will swap from side to side in case it’s broken on the side of the road and spare parts are sparse.
On top of all this, this particular example is specced with a rich leather interior. It looks great, and he’s brilliantly integrated the substantial cagework into the headliner and pillars. That’s a true testament to TJ’s skill, craftsmanship, and attention to detail.
Check out the video above, and relish in some epic off-road driving with a rich, flat-six soundtrack.