Porsche’s road racing achievements by now, have been documented so many times that one could probably re-construct a forest (if that was a thing) from the paper that has been used to print all their road-racing success stories over the years. That being said, there’s the other side of the company’s motorsport past that isn’t talked about as much as road racing, apart from these, a few rare instances here and there. This has been, in most part, due to Porsche not crediting their own creations enough, to favour other machines that were more relatable to road and track performance. Despite this being the case, the ones who followed Porsche’s motorsport legacy through the late 1960s and 1970s can and will never leave their loyalties with the incredible off-road machines that Stuttgart once made that trumped almost every dirt road.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Porsche cars were quite the force in the world of rally. The Porsche 911 won the Monte Carlo Rally three years in a row from 1968 to 1970, and then went on to win the International Championship of Makes (precursor to the WRC) in 1970. While this was the scene at international motoring events, Porsche was enjoying similar success at local level events around the world. Despite all these achievements, Porsche decided to pull out of the WRC at the start of the 70s, leaving rally racing in most part to privateers.
Before Stuttgart sidelined rally almost completely by the mid-80s, they had created a Porsche rally car framework that would be iconised forever to the select few how understood its appeal. A Porsche 911 on stilts if you may, the Porsche 911 Safari car would have raised suspensions, off-road tyres, extra set of headlights, body protection, and a roll cage… It would be a machine that would carry on conquering rally after rally, taking on some of the world’s toughest stages such as the 5000km-long East Africa Safari Rally and come incredibly close to winning it.
Porsche 911 Safari cars are quite difficult to forget. Even if you aren’t the perfect off-roading evangelist, it is hard to ignore the appeal of a Porsche 911 that been prepared for off-roading. A lightweight, precise chassis with a beautifully vocal air-cooled flat six is the perfect recipe for having a lot of fun, regardless of the speed you want yourself entertained at. This has in recent years been realised by a handful of Porsche specialists, who are now creating Porsche 911 Safari cars, that can once again relive the memories of Porsche’s not-so-talked-about motorsport past. If you are the sorts that fancy yourself a slice of some flat-six-slip-n-slide-awesomeness, then here are the best options currently out there.
Kelly Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 Safari Car
These guys have taken the Porsche Safari Car to the extremes. Unlike others who usually take a 911 SC or a Carrera 3.2 as the base car for a Safari Porsche build, Kelly Moss Motorsport has taken the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 964 as the base car for their build and then worked on giving it proper off-road credibility. The result is a car that gets a wider track, suspension upgrades, massively flared wheel arches and a set of 10, yes ten rally-style lights at the front amongst other bespoke bits to make the Safari Porsche a fast yet stable off-road affair.
The Keen Project – Porsche 911 Safari Car
Professional racing driver Leh Keen has a deep passion for Porsche. He has been racing Porsche cars for a while and has now started building very limited Porsche 911 Safari cars for a select few. What’s better than a Porsche racing driver building a Porsche rally car? Well nothing! With The Keen Project, Leh has set about recreating some of the greatest Porsche rally cars from the past. His builds not only pay homage to the greats of the past just in the way they look, but also all out in the way they drive and handle as well.
Tuthill Porsche – Porsche 911 Safari Car
What better place to build a Porsche 911 Safari car that with the people who have been living and breeding racing for 40-years now. Tuthill Porsche have been known for preparing some of the most historic racing and rally cars over the past four decades; cars that include the 1993 London to Sydney Marathon winning Porsche 911 and the 2015 FIA WRC R-GT winning 997 GT3 R-GT. Tuthill works exclusively with Porsches to create cars that their customers desire, of which one of their recent builds has been this red-body Porsche 911 SC Safari car, built ground-up as a hardcore competition machine for the road.