With Porsche having tapped into its 1980s Dakar Rally laurels to introduce the 992-generation 911 Dakar last month, lifted 911s are now official. And, for specialists making such jacked-up 911s based on older models, this only brings extra traction. Case in point with SafariProjek, which uses 996 and 997 iterations for its 911 Safari builds.
Porsche’s rally car efforts kicked off in the 1960s, featuring the air-cooled model that we now know as the 911 classic. By the 1980s, the German automaker, which was building the G-Series 911 at the time, converted this into the 953, an AWD race car designed to win the Dakar Rally. And while this hit its mark in 1984, it was quickly replaced by the off-road racing-prepped iteration of the 959 halo car, which climbed to the top of the event’s podium two years later.
Those were Porsche’s air-cooled years, and this is the kind of 911 road cars that most third parties use for their Safari projects. However, with Zuffenhausen’s first water-cooled Neunelfer, the 996 introduced in 1997, having become a modern classic, these newer Porsches have also started being converted for rugged terrain use.
Nine cars entered the shop to date
And SafariProjek was among the first specialists to introduce a 996-based 911 Safari, with their OG build having started back in 2020.
Meanwhile, the specialist’s portfolio has grown to include nine cars, one of which may still be a work in progress. And, as the company explains on Instagram, it has also gotted its hands on a 997.2 Carrera 4 GTS, which will receive the same kind of treatment—as its name suggests, this is the generation that followed the 996, with this particular example being about a decade old now.
Judging by the details available on the company’s Insta, most, if not all, of the 996 builds involved 4S models, which means AWD and north of 300 horsepower.
The company is based in South Africa, one of the countries included in the early routes of the Paris Dakar rally (called Dakar Rally nowadays). In a bid to avoid security threats—among other reasons— the grueling off-road endurance event has since moved on to South America and, more recently, to Saudi Arabia.
The story of the original build, which is the Olive Green car in the gallery, is detailed in the YouTube video below, which comes from South African outlet cars.co.za.
The tech details of the by SafariProjek 911s
Essentially, SafariProjek designed its own widebody kit, with the fiberglass overfenders and bumpers being accompanied by steel inserts front and rear. Underneath each vehicle, we find aluminum protective plates, since these Neunelfers are meant for serious action.
The custom suspension arms meet shock abosbers built by German specialist Reiger, while there are multiple wheel choices available (OZ Racing seems to be the brand of choice). Of course, all-terrain tires round up the tech package.
The engine didn’t need much help outside of a custom exhaust for a proper soundtrack and a bit of extra power. However, the factory AWD system does get an aftermarket limited-slip differential at the rear.
As for the interior, most of this has remained stock, with pieces such as the seats signaling the custom nature of the machine.
Some of the 911 Safari created by the company come in a single color. Nevertheless, we’ve also found one sporting a livery reminding one of the famous Rothmans colors (check out the second Insta clip below), which Porsche has revived for the 992 911 Dakar, albeit under a sanitized name.