You Don't Need a 911 to Join the Safari Party

Image: Bring a Trailer

The Safari scene is either overdone or just heating up depending on how you feel about it. When it comes to aircooled Porsche 911 aesthetic, the trend is still hot and might even be gaining momentum. But you don’t have to start with a super expensive platform to get the most out of your off-road sports car money. This 924S is maybe a bit slower, but just as much fun for a lot less money.

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The 924S is a strange car, but a really fun one. If you’re not familiar, Porsche introduced the 924 model in 1976 as an entry level replacement for the 914. It was intended as a sports car project engineered for Volkswagen, using a lot of VW and Audi bin components, but VW bailed on the car at the last second in favor of the Scirocco.

Porsche decided to release the car anyway, and it gradually evolved into the 944, and eventually the 968 models. The 924 died in 1982 to make way for the 944, which used largely the same suspension and interior, but a different powertrain and wider flared arches. When 944 prices ballooned and Porsche wanted to slot something slightly less expensive under the 944 model, the 924 bodywork stampings were reintroduced, and a detuned 944 engine was installed in a 924 form factor. That lasted for three model years, from 1986 until 1988.

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As it turns out, because the 924S effectively makes use of a Volkswagen Super Beetle torsion bar rear suspension, and MK1 Golf front suspension, it isn’t all that difficult to lift one of these things. With minor tweaks you can get an extra couple of inches of ride height, then throw on a set of BFG K02 tires with a giant sidewall, and all of a sudden you’ve got damn near a foot of ground clearance.

This car was built initially for the Baja XL rally in Mexico, which it finished without issue. The skid plates took a thrashing, as you can see in the photos, but the car is still running strong. I saw this thing in person on the Coastal Range Rally last year in California, and it definitely stands out from the crowd.

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It takes guts to attempt a proper off-road rally in Baja with a lowly 924S, but this car made it unscathed. If you’re looking for the off-road Porsche experience, this one is tested, proven, and way less expensive than Leh Keen’s admittedly quite spectacular Safari 911s. You can check it out on Bring A Trailer.

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About the author

Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.