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Between 1970 and 1972, Porsche built a limited number of sport-purpose 911s that are now commonly referred to as STs – referring to a 911 S in the lightweight trim of a T. Following the tradition established by the 911 R, these 911 STs were purpose-built competition machines developed at the pinnacle of Porsche’s endurance racing program and equipped with state-of-the-art components. Constructed in Porsche’s Werk I race shop, STs were campaigned by privateers and the factory team in a wide range of events – from endurance races to punishing, off-road rallies.
This 911 ST presented here, chassis 9111300647, is one of five rally cars that Porsche constructed for their works racing team’s assault on the 1971 East African Safari Rally.
Held in various forms since 1953, the East African Safari Rally was, and remains, one of the world’s most challenging motor sports events. A 4,000-mile, multi-stage competition that traversed Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, the 1971 running of the Safari Rally attracted factory entries from Nissan, Ford, Lancia, and Saab. Porsche also committed to a full factory effort, sending five ST rally cars, eight service vehicles, and a reconnaissance plane to Kenya in spring 1971.
The five-car Porsche team consisted of three race cars and two trainingwagens, or practice cars: one green, one white. The car offered here was the white practice car, which wore the German registration “S-AA 3129.”
The unique configuration for these ST rally cars, or STRs, included strengthened body shells with extra structural reinforcements and wide rear fender flares. Powered by a twin-plug engine, the Safari cars were equipped with revised gear ratios, a 40% locking differential, and increased oil capacity. Designed to handle any terrain, the STRs were raised to give 10" of ground clearance and outfitted with a roll bar, CB radio, skid plates, dual spares, auxiliary lighting, timing equipment, and any accessories deemed necessary. As Porsche’s factory effort was sponsored by Sears, all five cars were fitted with the brand’s distinctive white-stripe tires.
Just 32 of the 100-plus cars entered finished the 1971 Safari Rally. Included among the survivors was one of the works 911 STRs, which placed 5th Overall.
Following this event, this car was reportedly sold to a Swedish customer and later relocated to Germany, where it was repainted blue and converted to circuit specification. After its acquisition by an American collector, the ST was sent to Porsche specialist Gary Kempton in 2007 for a show-quality restoration. Several telltale features were immediately uncovered including the reinforced jack points and the letters “STR” stenciled in chalk inside the rear wheel arch. The historic 911 was then completely restored to its original works rally specification, but finished in the more famous green livery of the no. 33/Waldegard car.
The consignor, a prominent American Porsche collector, purchased 0647 from Karl-Heinz Feustel in 2011 and has since exhibited it at Rennsport Reunion IV and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. More recently, the research of ST authority Hugh Hodges confirmed that this car is the white trainingwagen from 1971, leading the consignor to commission Ed Palmer of Kundensport of Oxnard, California to repaint the ST in its historically accurate Light Ivory livery.
Today, this extraordinary 911 is presented just as it looked when it left the Porsche factory in 1971. No detail has been overlooked, from its white-stripe tires to the Sears brand locks on the hood. Contained in the car’s history file are copies of important factory records, period photographs, registration documents, and magazine articles including 000’s recent survey of STs, which includes 0647 among the 16 “works team or semi-works team” chassis in the list of “Likely 911 ST Cars.”
One of only four East African Safari Rally STs known to survive, this car is a captivating piece of Porsche racing history. It stands as a fantastic tribute to the extraordinary versatility of the 911 and, as a genuine works team car, is worthy of an important place in the most discerning Porsche collections.