The True Story Behind Porsche’s Safari 911

Like the Porsches sent to Nevado Ojos del Salado in Chile, the “Porsche 911 Safari” was less of a classic sports car redesign than a standard 911 given the basics of off-road performance. According to Rainlist, the 1978 911 Safaris were not built from the ground up to rally like the upcoming Dakar. They were classic 911s. Except for a roll cage and a few extra racks of light, the two 911 Safari East African Safari Rallyes came straight-up stock.

Safari Rally is a legend among rally enthusiasts. It makes extraordinary demands on its racers — pathfinding in tough, murky conditions, rigs ready to handle dust, mud, forests and storms, and the occasional herd of curious giraffes.

When Porsche came to Kenya in 1978, it made a point. The company wanted to show that in the right hands, in this case, Vic Preston Jr. and John Lyall in one car, and Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius in the other, the 911 could go anywhere and do anything.