The second in our Twelve Builds of Christmas 2019 review is the first Safari car of this series. Chassis number 9113103054 began life as a 1973 911T. The shell came to us in good condition overall, so was perfect for a Safari build. Repairing substantial bodyshell rust as part of any project adds to the time, cost and complication.
The first job was to strip the shell and put the trim to one side. Our Safari 911 builds use mainly new parts due to upgrades, but having the original trim to hand for reassembly ensures that some of the patina can be preserved.
With the car stripped, the body went off for media blasting and returned to the fabrication workshop in late March. This build was hot on the heels of another Safari car build and the works were almost identical, save for a few minor body differences: narrow body versus RS rear arches.
Safari builds start with seam welding the shell for maximum strength. We then have a kit of parts to add even more rigidity, including reinforcements to all of the suspension points and the cage mounting areas. The work includes small details, such as the roof vent and windscreen and headlamp retainers, and major modifications like the rear suspension turrets and closing off the normally open front tank support section, to accommodate two spare wheels and our Safari fuel tank.
Other work includes seat tube installation, dash modifications to take our fuse panels, upgraded wiring looms and rally timers and new mounts for the relocated battery, fire extinguisher systems and fuel pump. We also fit a full protective roll cage, as well as the front and rear “roo bars” for impact deflection and easier recovery from mud holes or major off-road excursions.
The shell moved out of fabrication and into paint in early July: more than three months were spent just on metalwork. The owner opted to paint the car in Slate Grey: our first Safari build in this classic Porsche colour. Preparation and paint took three weeks and the shell moved into assembly in early August.
Booking cranes and containers to get our cars to Kenya means that the shipping date for Safari is set months in advance, so our preparation deadlines are well known. This year, the cars left Wardington on September 12th, so we had six weeks to finish the build and get this 911 ready to ship.
Despite a hectic 2.0L Cup schedule and several more 911s being prepared for rallies all over the world, our team completed the Slate Grey Safari car two weeks ahead of the deadline and the reborn 911 took its first road test at the end of August. Owners Joe and Kate Hayes completed their debut Safari with no mechanical issues and the car came home twelfth overall.
“We had never been to Africa before, but watched the summaries of the previous races,” said Joe on Safari. “Our goal was to finish and keep the car out of the ditch! Coming home in the top fifteen was good enough. I drove the stages and Kate drove the transport sections, as it’s tiring being in the driver’s seat. It worked out well: she is an excellent driver. The whole trip was fantastic and Tuthills were really great.”