It looks like Porsche won’t be releasing the rumored 911 Safari after all. To be clear, there very likely is going to be an off-road 911 soon, which can trace its lineage to the machines that competed in the East Africa Safari Rally during the 1970s. But this new 911 is reportedly going to be called the Porsche 911 “Dakar” instead of the 911 “Safari,” according to Motor Trend.
I’m unsure why Porsche would choose Dakar over Safari, since there’s historical precedent for either. It’s just that 911 Safari is right there! It’s obvious. It’s right. Especially considering there’s an extant Porsche called the 911 Vision Safari.
That’s just a design study, but the similarities between what’s rumored to be the production off-road 911, and the 911 Vision Safari are hard to ignore. Here’s footage of the rumored test mule at the Nürburgring:
Porsche even goes as far as saying that its 2012 design study was modeled after the “legendary 911 Safari.” Well, if it’s legendary then why not call the new production model after those legends?
I mean, technically the Safari name alone doesn’t represent the whole history of the car that we might see soon, but the name Porsche 911 East Africa Safari Rally isn’t catchy. Fair enough. Porsche 911 EASR doesn’t cut it, either.
Porsche 911 Dakar is fine, I guess. Porsche does boast a few wins at the Paris-Dakar Rally — one of them in a 911, no less. In 1984, René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne piloted a 911 to victory at the famous rally. This one:
I wonder, though, if Porsche’s rumored new name is how it plans to distance itself from the “Safari everything” trend. Motor Trend claims the Safari name has been attached to aftermarket and so-called “personal passion projects.”
Depending on who you ask, Safari can be either worn out or easily understood. Recognizable. Again, it’s obvious and that can be good! Meanwhile, a Porsche 911 Dakar is going to start from scratch. Leaving behind what Porsche might consider baggage, thereby making the 911 Safari a misnomer and giving a 911 Dakar the Stuttgart seal of approval. Maybe that’s what Porsche wants.