Most 911s only go off-road by accident. This one tears up the dirt on purpose.
At this point, we’d love to get all uppity about someone having the guts to go off the tarmac in a supercar, but it’s a Porsche 911. Not that a 911 isn’t a storied supercar, but it’s unique among the crowd as having a devoted group of owners who absolutely love configuring the car for dirt trails as well as paved race tracks. This custom 911 isn’t the first such project we’ve seen, and it probably won’t be the last. At least, we hope so, because rally-spec 911s are insanely brilliant.
The Hooniverse embraced this special build and chronicled the test drive for all of us to see on YouTube. This is a classic 1978 911 SC in all its air-cooled glory, and yes, it has some rather significant changes over a stock example. However, when you get into the details you realise there isn’t that much required to give this supercar some proper dirt-tracking skills. The suspension is completely revised, with all the stock components replaced by an adjustable setup from KW. The high-profile off-road tyres – in this case Pirelli Scorpions mounted on rally-spec Fifteen52 wheels – are also like nothing you’d find on a standard 911. There are skid plates underneath to protect vital components from rocks and debris, but really, if you wanted to make your own Safari 911, that’s pretty much all you’d need.
Gallery: 1978 Porsche 911 SC Safari
Makellos Classics built this ride, and the team didn’t stop there. The 3.0-litre flat six is untouched save for a set of 964 heads that help the engine breathe and rev better. Up front is a tough off-road bumper with a pair of modest LED rally lights, and naturally, there’s the roof rack with a spare tyre ready to go. Inside the 911 is all business with an exposed shifter for the five-speed manual, and a rollbar in back that stiffens the chassis while also providing rollover protection.
Here’s the thing about 911 rally conversions. Yes, the car is raised slightly and the off-road tyres don’t claw at pavement quite as ferociously, but that doesn’t change the fundamental brilliance of a classic air-cooled 911. As the test drive video shows, the car is still lively and nimble carving corners. It still has the same feel, the same balance, and yes, that means it will still try to kill you if you don’t pay attention behind the wheel. But should you desire taking a road less travelled, the Safari modifications will let you enjoy that same 911 feel through dirt, mud, and yes, small jumps. We like jumps.
For those seeking a rally-bred 911 of their own, Makellos Classics will be selling bespoke Safari 911s very soon.