When we first saw TJ Russell’s 911 Baja at SEMA a couple years ago we were floored. The thing was immaculately built to the high standard expected of someone who has spent the better part of a career building Singers, but the attention to actual race-ready componentry and serviceability and off-road prowess is second to none. This isn’t just a modified 911, it’s a ground-up exercise built to go really freakin’ fast off road and not break anything in the process. It’s a trophy truck mixed with a GT3 RS, and for that reason alone, it might be the coolest off-road Porsche ever built. I mean, sure it costs $650,000, but it’s an actual race car. Would you rather have a 992 GT3 R track car, or a street-legal machine that could theoretically race a 1000 mile off-road event this weekend?
Our pal Matt Farah recently got an opportunity to rip around in Russell’s 911 Baja out in the deserts of California, and judging by the video he had an amazing time. This wide machine is ready to tackle anything you throw at it, from steep hillclimbs to massive jumps. With the right wheels and tires, the right suspension, and the right power, it’ll go over anything. That’s what it was built to do.
It’s amazing to think that this car started life as a 964 Cabriolet. Those are typically the least desirable of Porsche 911s these days anyhow, and Russell likes to start with them as a base so that the roll cage is easier to fabricate inside the body before tacking on a custom roof structure. And I was totally surprised to learn that even with all of this stretching and pulling of the original 911 chassis, the finished Baja product actually weighs about 100 pounds less than the car did when it rolled off the assembly line. That’s impressive.
Is this the ultimate end of the Safari Porsche trend? There’s really no sense in trying to one-up this one, because it’s the best that there ever really can be. If you want one of your own, TJ will build you one, and that’s probably money well spent if you’re into that kind of thing. Throw a tent in the back and rip around some Bureau of Land Management land out west for a few weeks. You won’t regret it.