Porsche In the last stretch of 2022 it presented its 911 Dakar, an elegant off-road version of one of the most famous sports cars in automotive history. But that wouldn’t have been his name.
Probably many will be surprised that such a version appears. However, part of the 911’s fame comes from its triumphs in rally-cross competitions during the 1980s, when it even came to prominence. Dakar championin 1984 and 1986.
So why shouldn’t the name Dakar be the right one for this new version of the 911? Because, really, those 80s racing models were better known by the Safari moniker.
So great was the identification with that name, that all the restorations or transformations that were done on the classic 911 models that had to be suitable for off-road driving were known as 911 Safaris.
As if that weren’t enough, the original idea of the German brand was to baptize this brand new version with that name. But the Indian manufacturer Tata Motors had to say something about it.
that name is mine
The Stuttgart brand had long been hinting at the possibility of having an off-road 911 in its range. And the confirmation officially arrived last year.
Before getting to know the definitive version of the 911 Dakar, Porsche, in collaboration with the pilot Romain Dumas, undertook a journey with two specially prepared 911s towards the Ojos del Salado volcano in Chile, the highest in the world.
Dumas and his team managed to exceed 6,000 meters in height above sea level. And while it didn’t end up being a record (it’s held by two Mercedes-Benz Unimogs), it was quite a feat for the type of vehicle used.
A few weeks after the fact became known, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Porsche presented the final version of its 911 Dakar. That apparition did not attract attention, but the decision to bear that name did.
It has just been confirmed that the name initially chosen for this off-road version was Safari. In an interview with edmundsthe director of the 911 Dakar project, Thomas Krickelberg, explained that the company originally intended to use the name Safari. But the company discovered that it would come across an already registered trademark: that of Tata Motors’ Safari SUV.
The owner of Jaguar and Land Rover has been marketing this midsize model in various markets around the world since 1998. And he wasn’t willing to give up that name.
“We talked to them,” Krickelberg confessed. “But they didn’t give us permission to use it. That was option A. And then we moved on to the Dakar”.
But that decision would lead another headache to the German mark. The rights to that name, when used in an automotive context, belong to the Amaury Sports Organization, better known as ASO, which is the organizer of the Dakar Rally.
They initially thought they were free to use the name, as Dakar is the name of a city and is therefore in the public domain. But ultimately he needed permission from the ASO and had to pay a price for the rights, which has not been disclosed.
Ben Stock is a journalist working for News Rebeat, where he covers the automobile section. With a passion for cars and the industry, Ben brings insightful and in-depth reporting to his readers.