December 4, 2023

Subaru power in a Volkswagen is nothing new, and the Porsche 911 is really just a spicy Volkswagen. Sort of. Any any rate, Austin Barnett of Billetworkz thought it would be fun to put a turbocharged EJ25 in his 911.

He was right, and the result of Austin‘s work is a paint-flipping Porsche that’s insane both inside and out.


Austin says, “I never had an appreciation for classic 911s until a friend of mine – Willy Izaguirre from Nostalgic Grains – was selling his 1976 roller with no engine.” After purchasing it with the idea of re-powering it with a Subaru power plant, Austin was doing more research and came across the Mid Night Club’s legendary Blackbird 911. Immediately, an aesthetic plan began to take shape in Austin’s mind, and he became hellbent on finding a set of TBK bumpers to match that car.


The problem was – and is – that TBK simply wouldn’t sell and ship their bodywork to a US address. Luckily, Austin was able to lean on a friend in Japan to pick up the parts and ship them for him, so that part of the puzzle was eventually sorted after some headache.


Custom rocker panels were built to tie it all together, and the car was refinished in Midnight Purple III. Of course, MPIII is a color which needs no introduction, but compared to the boxier R34 that originally received the hue, the multi-colored finish looks extra striking on this wide 911 with its soft, contoured surfaces. The car also has a one-off set of CNC-machined acrylic taillights, which help give it a really unique look from every angle.


The exterior is rounded off with an RSR 3.8 wing with a carbon fiber blade in addition to meaty 18×9-inch and 18×11-inch Work M1 wheels. Of course, being on display at SEMA in the Toyo Treadpass, these were wrapped in Proxes R888R rubber. Elephant Racing coilovers and an Elephant Racing GT3 front suspension kit further upgrade the chassis along with a Brembo big brake kit.


Inside, the car has a modernized yet fairly OEM feel. The Recaro Classic series seats resemble the contemporary sport buckets Porsche put in these cars, and the door panels and dash retain their factory look overall. The purple stitching is a nice subtle touch, too.


The Porsche Classic Communication Radio obviously fits right in, and has the added benefit of Apple CarPlay. I’ve actually considered installing one of these in my E36 M3 as it’s a really nice unit that doesn’t look too modern, yet helps to supply some modern amenities these older cars lack. TCEuropean makes a conversion harness for exactly this.


You probably didn’t click in to this story to read about a radio, though. Under that winged deck lid is the party piece, a turbocharged EJ25 flat-four. Austin has been heavily involved in the Subaru community – his wild RB26-powered Impreza we featured in 2018 should be evidence enough of that – and so a Subaru engine was the natural choice for him.

The build started with an IAG Performance IAG 900 closed-deck long block, which received a Garrett G30-660 turbocharger to supply ample boost. The Vibrant Performance titanium piping and intercooler have been fabricated atop the engine in factory style.


The turbo hangs off the rear end, where there’s actually a lot of extra space. The boxer-four appeared surprisingly small in the engine bay, but I guess that shouldn’t really be a surprise given that you can wedge an LS V8 in the back of a 911. I wonder if the weight distribution might actually be better with this powerplant than Porsche’s own, but something tells me that wasn’t much of a consideration in this car.


Power makes its way to the wheels through a 5-speed WRX transmission with PPG gears and a SubaruGears reserve ring and pinion. Austin explains that a lot of support for these kinds of swaps already exists. He’d even seen other EJ-powered 911s before, but he just wanted to take what others have done and execute it on the highest level that he could.


Other supporting items include a Link ECU, iWire engine harness, Ron Francis body harness, Radium fuel cell, and a carbon fiber radiator duct in the front trunk. After all, this 911 is no longer the air-cooled machine it once was.

I wonder if we’ll start to see more of these swaps in the coming years? I’ve seen plenty of old, anaemic Buses that have received a new lease on life thanks to a Subaru power plant, and I’ve also known friends who have sold their 911 projects with extremely expensive Porsche engine builds looming. I think 912s in particular would benefit from an off-the-wall swap like this, but I digress.


Austin’s EJ25 project was rendered by Jon Sibal before it came together with his friend Mike at Quality Custom Rides, which is a shop local to Austin in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He says “it was a very enjoyable project since I was able to work directly with Mike to perfect this build, from the vision, to the engineering, to the fit and finish of everything.”

In the end everything everything is executed to a very high level, and all that’s left is to spool up that turbo and put some miles on this thing. Here’s hoping that is exactly what happens.

Trevor Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan

Photography by Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni
[email protected]


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