A bit like when two movies come out about the same natural disaster at the same time, Porsche is competing with its own legacy to create an off-road version of the 911. The wealth of restomodders and tuners may be pushing the automaker away from using the famed “Safari” moniker, though.
Motor Trend reports that a “very credible rumor” going around suggests that Porsche will use the name “Dakar” instead for the high-riding, off-roady version of the 911 we’ve seen testing on many occasions.
The new version of the German sports car will ride on a wave of nostalgia for Porsche’s rally-racing 911s. Commonly referred to as the 911 “Safari,” the upcoming model will pay tribute to the 1980s 911s that competed in races like the East African Safari. It is worth noting, however, that the 911 did compete at Dakar in the same era, so Porsche may find the “Dakar” name more relevant to modern customers since the race continues to be run.
If true, it will also not be the first time Porsche chose the “Dakar” name as it did so with a 911 concept in 2012. That may point to the automaker attempting to differentiate itself from the surprising number of tuning companies and restomodders that have had the same idea and have been modifying the 911 for use off-road. Companies like Singer, Ruf, Gemballa, and Marc Philipp Gemballa have all come out with their own vehicles based on the same concept.
In fact, Porsche has taken note of the imitators and asked Singer to remove the “Porsche” lettering from the back of its “All-terrain Competition Study,” its version of the rally-racing 911.
“We are glad to have a growing community of Porsche enthusiasts,” Porsche told us last March. “They help us to ensure that so many Porsche cars originally built decades ago remain on the road and are still being enjoyed. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that Porsche products – designed and engineered by us – can be clearly and easily identified.”
We last caught the 911 Dakar testing in late January and the brand is expected to launch the car this year. The new 911 version features big wheel arches and longer springs but the company has yet to confirm any production details. It’s a Porsche, though, so it’s unlikely to suck.