Is the Porsche 911 Safari making a comeback? These photos suggest it could

The latest 992-generation Porsche 911 is in production since 2019, and it’s already available in Carrera and Turbo trim, as well as coupe, cabriolet, and targa body styles. Porsche is also developing new GT3 and GT2 models, but it seems that the German firm may also introduce a high-riding model inspired by the rally-spec 911 SC Safari from the late 1970s. At least that’s what these new spy shots suggest.

What’s the deal with this high-riding Porsche 911 mule?

These Spy Shots Could Hint At A New Porsche 911 Safari - Or Is It Something Even Better? Exterior High Resolution
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Spotted testing near the Nurburgring track, this mule looks like a regular 911 Carrera, but two strange details just into the eye. For starters, the coupe is fitted with massive fender flares. They look rather rough and unfinished, but their presence suggest Porsche is testing something new. The ride height is also taller than the regular 911, really close to a sporty crossover. So what’s with the unusual setup?

Well, there are two scenarios to discuss. Porsche could be testing a new suspension setup. The flared could be hiding new suspension components that the automaker doesn’t want us to see - like a brand-new air suspension. But it could also hide the extra space in the wheel arch. The higher suspension is tougher to explain and brings us to scenario number two: Porsche may be testing a brand-new 911 variant with a crossover-style ride height.

These Spy Shots Could Hint At A New Porsche 911 Safari - Or Is It Something Even Better? Exterior High Resolution
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Before you say it sounds ludicrous, Porsche actually built off-road-style variants of the 911 in the past. In 1978, the Germans developed the 911 SC Safari, an off-road-prepped coupe for the East African Safari Rally, a 3,700-mile rally covering rough terrain in Kenya, Africa. It was notorious for being the most difficult rally in the WRC championship and required specially-prepped cars and skilled drivers.

Porsche built a second off-road model in 1984. It was based on the 959, and it was raced in the famous Paris-Dakar rally, winning it in 1986. In 1989, Porsche unveiled the Panamericana, a concept car based on the 964-generation 911 with widened wheel arches that allowed it to be fitted with off-road tires.

Porsche hinted at such a model in 2018

These Spy Shots Could Hint At A New Porsche 911 Safari - Or Is It Something Even Better? Exterior High Resolution
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Porsche never offered a road-going 911 with a raised suspension, but it has been discussed ever since the company won Paris-Dakar with the 959. Back in 2018, Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen suggested that a crossover-like 911 could become a reality as a limited-edition model. "Taking the 911 and making an SUV out of it? Taking it higher? That could be a good idea, and of course, it won’t be a model range, but it will be a limited, very niche product,” he told Autocar India.

Will Porsche finally make one? It’s difficult to tell, but a few companies offer such Safari conversions for the 911. RUF, Gemballa, and Tuthill are just a few companies that built jacked-up 911s based on either modern or classic models. This means that there is some sort of demand for a 911 Safari, so maybe Porsche is thinking about exploring this niche. A limited-edition version build in a few hundred units would likely sell out in a few weeks with so many rich folks willing to pay for unique cars.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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