Want a Safari Rally-ready sports car but can't afford a 911 Dakar? No problem.
While it may be associated with higher-end sports cars now, Safari builds got their start as the simple modifications professional rally teams made to their cars to survive the Safari Rally, the most unique event on the world rallying schedule throughout the 70s and 80s. That meant the original Safari builds were for relatively humble cars, like the Datsun 240Z that won the first-ever WRC-sanctioned Safari Rally in 1973. Keeping that tradition alive means making Safari builds a little more attainable than the astonishing new 911 Dakar. Builds like, for instance, this V-8 swap NA Miata.
Admittedly, this build is not exactly subtle. The highlight is a massive lift, enough to fit 27 inch all-terrain tires. Things only get more extreme from there, starting with a massive bull bar and a set of roof-mounted auxiliary lights. In the original Safari Rally, those were meant to help spot and protect drivers from the massive animals that could be found along the route through Kenya.
Underneath the hood, a 302 ci Ford V-8 greatly increases the car’s original power output. That’s paired with a five-speed manual and a matching Ford 7.5” rear differential. Inside, however, this is largely just an NA-generation Mazda Miata as you’ve come to expect it. Only an aftermarket gear knob and steering wheel immediately jump out as hints of how absurd the rest of the car gets.
This particular Safari build Miata is currently listed on Bring a Trailer. Bidding is up to $7500, with the auction set to end in five days.
Disclaimer: Bring a Trailer is owned by Road & Track’s parent company, Hearst Autos.