Gaze in wonder at this marvellous Baja 911 | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

Gaze in wonder at this marvellous Baja 911

Russell Built Fabrication unveils off-road-ready 964, Christmas comes early

  • What. On. Earth. Is. That.

    Something quite wonderful. An early Christmas present, you might say. It is a 964-generation Porsche 911, converted by Russell Built Fabrication to perform herculean feats of off-roadery.

    The company says it is “the most capable, versatile, dual sport air-cooled 911 on the planet”.

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  • So it’s an off-road 964?

    If you want it to be thus, then it shall be thus. However, RBF will also build you something that looks like this that you can use as a frickin’ daily driver, or indeed a class-legal race car, or indeed “anything in between”. You simply turn up, open your wallet and speak your hearts deepest desires.

  • What have they done to it?

    The most obvious thing you’ll notice apart from its overall magnificence is that it is very, very wide. RBF extend the track by a whopping 14in, and stretch out the wheelbase by 3in, allowing for – says RBF – “a more balanced centre of gravity and increased stability”.

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  • And then?

    Some custom-built structural ‘towers’ are introduced at the front of the car, made from expensive-sounding materials along with custom spindles and upper and lower arms.

    To this, a set of 2.5in three-way adjustable coilover shocks allow for 12in of suspension travel. Forget your lowriders, folks, you need one of these.

  • At the back?

    There’s a “buggy-style” chromoly box plate and a tube trailing arm using the original factory “pick-up points”. This is so the “handling characteristics Porsche 911 engineers intended” remain… only here it gets 13.5in of suspension travel via 3in, three-way adjustable shocks.

    There’s also a NASCAR rear anti-roll bar.

  • The body is… different also.

    Good spot. Yes, it is indeed different. RBF’s goal – a little like Redux did with the E30 M3 – was to imagine something that “might have come out of the Porsche race factory had they continued their efforts in off-road racing into the 1990s with the 964”.

    So, there are widebody arches, a rally-style bonnet, lightweight doors and a lightweight roof.

  • Is it lightweight?

    Yep. Every panel has been custom built from composite materials, and RBF has sliced over 180kg from the original 964’s weight, bringing it down to 1,270kg.

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  • That’s not a lot to shift.

    And it has a nice haymaker of an engine to help shift it along. The factory 3.6-litre has been enlarged to 3.8-litres, and features custom internals, new throttle bodies and a new intake manifold. Motec handles the ECU, and it pumps out 365bhp and 310lb ft of torque.

    Elsewhere it’s a standard Carrera C4 drivetrain, and you can choose between 2WD or 4WD.

  • Is the interior spartan?

    Only if you want it to be. Obviously with this kind of customisation you can pretty much have whatever your bank balance allows, but each one gets a roll cage, door bars and welded, sealed and sound-deadened inner sheet metal. There’s a Motec digital display, a locking storage box in the rear, and Sparco carbon seats.

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  • How much?

    No price has been announced, but expect it to be “much”. In lieu of that, here’s another picture.

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