In the words of Kelly-Moss Motorsports: “The story goes, that a guy walked into my office one day with an unusual request. He said, ‘I know you guys build a lot of cool cars, can you build me a Porsche 911 that I can use for hunting and do some serious off-road duty?'”
We were lucky enough to get in contact with Michael Medearis, Body Shop manager over at Kelly-Moss Motorsports to ask him a few questions about their experience building this truly one of a kind 911.
Here’s what Michael had to say:
What were some of your initial thoughts when you were first asked to build a 911 that could be used for hunting and off-road excursions?
MM: “Well, when Len Eder (car owner) came to us with a request this wild we could do nothing but smile ear to ear, outside the box is what we do here at KMR. His specific wants/needs were an older 911 built to withstand harsh off road conditions while being capable of highway driving to get to the off-roading sites as this build wasn’t going to be any type of trailer queen. He wanted a 911 to take hunting, camping and just general off-roading fun. So when talking to Len about his expectations from KMR and the proposed build we had a car in mind, a car that we actually rally raced in the past. This was a stripped down tub (shell) of a 1987 911 with a full roll cage already in place. Obviously the car would need virtually everything and the entire body reworked, but we were up for the task.”
Have you ever built something like this before?
MM: “Actually we have built rally cars and the such in the past we have even successfully competed in the Baja 1000 6 times. With building and or modifying our own Race Vehicles for the event so off-road is no stranger to the KMR crew.”
What was the biggest challenge you came across when working on this build?
MM: “I will start at the beginning of the build for this question. The chassis/tub/shell was an ex-rally car so it was pretty beat up and bent. We had to put the car up on the Celette Frame Bench and using the factory Porsche fixture locations we pulled and hammered away until the suspension and various important points around the chassis were back in factory alignment spec. This also brought us to performing quite a bit of hammer & dolly work to straighten out the floorpans, with this being the beginning of the body work we moved on to patching numerous access holes that were cut into the inner body throughout the years and fabricating a front firewall so we could install a factory wiper system. That we later covered up with one of our KMR custom Carbon Fiber dashes. While on the interior we sprayed in a sound deadening material and covered it with a lightweight carpet kit, installed Beard seats and modified the roll cage door bar for ease of access into the race buckets. We also brought the roll cage bars out into the front bucket/trunk area to tie into the strut towers and the front push bar top make everything as stout as possible. but even with all of this the largest hurdle we faced was the lack of parts, we started with a bare shell and had to bring an old used up race car back from the dead to be a capable off road beast with some of the creature comforts needed to daily drive the car if the owner so wished. So just sourcing parts and filling the gaps between race car and original street car was quite the challenge. Most cars are turned into a race car with no intent of ever returning to regular every day use so mounting tabs get cut off brackets get thrown away and at the time its all ok because its being turned into a purpose built track car and its not until someone like us wants to reinstall parts that are discarded on a regular basis (during this process) that it is realized it may be have gone to far into the track car life. But in the end we prevailed and successfully built a functional interior again.
Some of the mechanical aspects were a bit of a challenge as well with the shocks, control arms, steering and alignment. We actually built custom lower control arms so we could get the required camber with the added height. When we added the larger tires (the second time) we had to modify the fenders and give more clearance for the larger circumference as well as turning radius.”
We noticed you used some of our Rennline parts in the build. Do you mind telling us a little bit more about what parts you chose and why?
MM: “We chose a few of the Rennline interior parts because they really fit the theme of the car (purpose built and durable) we used the floor boards and perforated pedals because we knew they would get a beating and be easy to keep clean while standing the test and lasting.”
So, the big question we’ve all been waiting for: How does it drive?
MM: “This car drives (I am going to quote our KMR Principal Owner Jeff Stone) ‘it drives like I’m on a magic carpet! Super smooth.’ The cars very first maiden voyage out of the shop in its newest configuration went down the railroad tracks and through a field (which seems to be the running theme with our rally/off-road builds) to put it through its paces right out of the gate. This thing is literally a blast to drive, everyone looks and stares. Whether they are looking in disgust or awe that is up to them but the main point is that they are looking it is drawing attention and most love it. Either way, love it or hate it KMR Off-Road cars are here to stay.”
For more pictures of this incredible build head over the the Safari RS page on the KMR website.