/Drive’s Matt Farah walks us through Weight Transfer 101 as he tests Leh Keen’s 1981 Porsche Safari 911 SC on the rough stuff.
“When you think about the Porsche 911, you’re probably thinking about Le Mans wins, race track provenance, or road racing. Road driving. What you’re probably not thinking about is rallying. And what I’m thinking about right now is… predictable…oversteer”
Long term readers of crankandpiston.com will probably be familiar with Leh Keen’s 1981 Porsche Safari 911 SC (full video HERE). Today it’s the subject of Matt Farah’s latest /Drive video, and, he claims, the best day of driving he’s ever had.
The Safari – dubbed ‘The Keen Project’ by its eponymous owner – started out as a stock ’81 911 SC, though it wasn’t long before its five-speed gearbox and 3-litre flat-six were completely overhauled, the latter receiving a mild cam upgrade and an aftermarket exhaust to boost power up to 200hp. Cosmetically the Safari received some sizable tweaks too, Leh adding a four-lamp fog light pod, and a ducktail spoiler to the vintage-style buckets and Momo Prototipo steering wheel already in place. But there’s much more to the Safari than simple Instagram prestige. Turns out further mechanical mods make it a beast on the rough stuff too.
A 4in lift was needed to fit the new BFG All-Terrain-clad 16in Fuchs alloys, connected to custom-made long-travel shocks from Elephant Racing. Skid plates can be found front and rear, while the bumpers have also been brought in closer to the bodywork. The final Safari-esque touch? Leh’s hasn’t washed it once since the panels were re-painted (“I just drive it through the river when it gets too dirty”)
Which brings us back to Matt and his drive. With the ‘Widowmaker’ legacy of 911s of old fresh in his head, the ‘Tuned’ host is surprised to find how forgiving the rear axle can be, just how much grip the front wheels have, and how much confidence this combination offers as a result. Matt spends eight minutes above walking you through Weight Transfer 101 with the 1981 Porsche ‘Safari’ 911 SC. And trust us, it’s well worth the time.