The Mohs Safarikar. Fewer cars can really address the current trends in the automotive marketplace like this blending of serious 4×4 power of International Harvester mixed with the ultra-lux of Rolls-Royce. Too bad the Mohs Safarikar came out about 50 years too early, and due to its high cost and lack of viable market, only three were ever made. One of which is now for sale on eBay.
The Mohs Safarikar is crazy rare
Although the Safarikar only had three prototypes made, only two of the three still exist, making it even rarer than rare. The Safarikar might seem ridiculous, but… actually, yeah, it’s ridiculous.
This bizarre car was made for the super-rich to hunt big game in Africa. If the idea of rich Americans galavanting off to hunt African game wasn’t cringy enough, to do so in this silly-looking thing is downright appalling. Moving on…
The Safarikar was available for between $19,600 and $25,600 in 1972. This was a pretty serious chunk of cash at the time. On top of the high cost and super-specific purpose, this wacky car also looked pretty, uh, interesting. It turns out that people at the time didn’t care for the hyper-specific, expensive, ugly car, hence the production number of only three.
So where did the Mohs Safarikar come from?
According to Silodrome, these boxy 4×4 sedans were built using International Harvester Travelall 4×4 chassis with a bespoke “dual cowl phaeton” body designed for knocking around off-road in Africa.
The odd-ball looks of the Safarikar and the name are due solely to the man behind the bizarre set of wheels, Bruce Mohs. Not only was he the man behind this car, but he was also a specialist mechanical prop maker for Hollywood. His work can be found in some of the Alfred Hitchcock films and others from the time.
Once we understand that part of the Mohs Safarikar, the design aesthetic makes a little more sense. Aside from being a prop builder, he also was a restauranteur, a hotel operator, photographer, and, you guessed it, big game hunter. Even still, this enigmatic individual did more, but we are here for the Safarikar.
Calling Bruce Mohs excentric would be a bit overly simple, although he clearly didn’t mind the moniker. As he puts it, “Concentric people go around in circles; they never fly off in a tangent and get anything done. Many concentric people are simply going and doing their 8-to-5 jobs and coming home and sitting in front of the TV tube and opening a can of beer and going to bed and doing the same thing the next day. I think everybody should have some little eccentricity.”
This is a hunting vehicle the likes of which few have seen
This crazy vehicle looks more like the ride of a warlord or exotic prince than it does something made in America.
The International Harvester chassis was covered in all-aluminum bodywork. So far, not too strange. However, that aluminum bodywork is completely covered in black Naugahyde, a synthetic, water-resistant kind of leather-esq material. The idea was to give shooters a stable place to sit their rifles for accuracy without damaging the car’s exterior.
The Savanah stomping power was provided by Harvester’s 392 cubic-inch (6.4-liter) V8 paired with the company’s 3-speed automatic transmission. The interior consisted of Mohs’ “dual-cowl phaeton,” which meant two distinct seating areas. The term was borrowed from WWII-era cars but used pretty liberally here.
These two areas were meant to separate the driver and guide, who would sit up front, and the hunters would sit in the back with their rifles and liquor. The back seat would even fold down to offer sleeping accommodations if need be. This insane vehicle was an overlander long before that concept really took hold of off-roader hearts.
Steve McQueen had a hand in the Safarikar
If it was cool and adventurous in the 1970s, we could just assume Steve McQueen was involved. In fact, the three buckets seats in the front of the Safarikar were designed by McQueen and his off-road racing team. These were made for follow cars for his SoCal desert racing adventures.
Everything about this car is fully over the top. The pictures alone show that Mohs was not messing around. This safari machine was a Land Rover and Rolls-Royce smashed together. There is little else to say. It is fully absurd and also pretty damn cool.
As of this writing, this example is for sale on eBay with a “buy it now” price of $197,000. While that feels like a lot, this same car was previously listed for over $300,000 not too long ago. Maybe it’s a good deal?