Some people have compared it to a sort of religious pilgrimage for all types of car enthusiasts throughout the world, and I wouldn’t argue with them.
As you might have seen in my first story from Luftgekühlt, last weekend thousands of air-cooled Porsche fans flocked to Universal Studios in Hollywood to attend the sixth iteration (excluding two European shows) of the event.
For the team behind Luftgekühlt, one of the many benefits of using the stages and sets of Universal Studios’ backlot was the ability to create scenes that visually teleported attendees to various locations.
While many of the buildings were empty and simply served as power sources for movie equipment, all of them were extremely realistic and well built, fiberglass or not.
One of my favourite backlot neighborhoods was ‘Old Mexico’ where many of Luftgekühlt 6’s safari and rally cars were set in the Baja-style environment.Point of No Return
I don’t consider myself a purist and it warms my heart when I see people fulfilling their own vision when it comes to building a car. Then there are safari cars…
I would absolutely love to thrash on one for an afternoon or two, but I am not too sure if I would do it to my personal 911. If I had a lot of them or a ‘spare’ car, I’d certainly be giving Leh Keen a call and getting mine sorted.
To me, it almost feels like I would need to reach a breaking point or point of no return in order to dive head-first into cutting up wheel wells on a classic 911.
996 or 997? Sure, bring me a Sawzall and some rally-spec Bilsteins and we’ll go to town.
I get it, though. As someone who has hacked up a car or two in the past for the sake of ground clearance, I really do.
That being said, I have the utmost respect for those brave souls who dare do such things and don’t mind a shrapnel-coating of stone chips.Keeping It ‘G’ (Get It? It’s A G-Body…)
One of those brave people is automotive journalist Matt Farah. Some of you may be familiar with Matt from The Smoking Tire podcast and his YouTube channel.
While I’ll let Dave get into the details of this car in the full feature we have coming, Matt opted for a Leh Keen special after many years of mobbing a Ford Raptor around city streets.
However, it wasn’t a straight jump into a 911. First up was a Ford Focus RS, which ended up having rally car power but proved hard and expensive to modify when it came to the suspension.
Building such a car makes sense if you’re looking to conquer any city street, including the sinkholes and ditches that many North American roads seem to feature as standard.
After a few weeks of the Leh Keen treatment, Matt’s 911 was back in Los Angeles and tearing up the road, and he says that it drives better than anything he’s driven off-road.Time & Place
Before you all light your torches, grab your pitchforks and line up in the comments to tell me how wrong I am or to point out long lists of purpose-built race cars that started the safari trend, I will say that I appreciate purpose-built race cars regardless of how much cutting went into them.
Take Jeff Zwart’s street-registered 964 rally car for example.
Not only does it have a rich racing history including Jeff’s first Pikes Peak win, but it’s also quite modified under the skin with a torque-splitting transmission out of Dakar 959 just for starters.
Other proper race cars like this race-winning 911 from France are more than okay in my books, too. But then again, different strokes for different folks.
Still, my heart yearns for a safari car of any sort. If it happened to be a 911, great, however, it won’t be until I have an abundance of them.
Then again, don’t be surprised if you at least see me in the driver’s seat of one in the near future.