Ruf HistorySource: RUFExceptional Automobiles with a Tradition for Perfection
For more than 60 years the name of RUF has been associated with the automotive industry and has meant quality and craftsmanship. It started in 1939 when Alois Ruf, Sr. first formed his company, 'AUTO RUF', as a general service garage. Today this same company is still operated at its original location on Mindelheimer Street in the quaint and quiet town of Pfaffenhausen, situated in southern Germany's Allgäu region.
The company grew despite difficult times, and in 1949 a gas station was added to the company complex. Six years later the senior Ruf, recognizing the growing German interest in travel, challenged his own expertise and developed a full-sized passenger tourist bus, which was at that time a very rare type of vehicle in Germany. Its success in satisfying the travel needs of many Germans encouraged him to risk further expansion by later starting his own separately owned bus company.
While Ruf Sr. continued to strengthen and expand the company, his son, Alois Ruf Jr., was developing his own interests and passions for 'l'art-pour-idée' in automobiles, the true sports car. Thus during the 1960's the younger Ruf, driven by his own interests and apprenticed to his father, gained invaluable experience by servicing and restoring Porsches.
Upon the death of Alois Ruf, Sr. in 1974, his son, Alois Ruf, Jr., took over directorship of the company and vowed to continue its development and philosophy of innovation and quality. The success of this formula and his leadership is shown by the current recognition of RUF as one of the most respected international sports car manufacturers and suppliers of specialized components in the world. Alois Ruf's understanding of the strengths and inherent sporting characteristics of the Porsche 911 led to the company's concentration on this model as the platform for all of its future automotive developments. This proved to be a wise and successful choice and has become the backbone of RUF production for the past thirty years.
The first RUF enhanced Porsche model made its debut in 1975. Two years later, the turbo charged 911 engine, which was enlarged to 3.3 liters by RUF through the use of larger pistons, had a distinct performance increase compared to the standard Porsche Turbo model. This was followed in 1978 by the development of a 217 bhp 3.2 liter version of the six cylinder naturally aspirated 3.0 liter engine Porsche offered (which was far below its true performance potential). This conversion was favorably received by sports car enthusiasts worldwide and resulted in numerous orders.
Alois Ruf enjoys his cars as much as his customers, recognizing that powerful and sporty cars require extra skill behind the wheel not only for safety, but to be also able to enjoy the car's true potential. Thus, since 1978, RUF has offered his customers regular driver training events on race tracks such as Germany's Hockenheimring and the Salzburgring in Austria.
Recognizing that one of the weaknesses of the Porsche turbo was its four speed transmission, RUF Automobile responded to customer demand in 1981 with their own five speed. It provided distinct performance advantages and driving pleasure for the owners of the turbo charged six cylinder engine. In the same year RUF Automobile received the prestigious and coveted Manufactures' Certification from the German Federal Vehicle Offices.
The company's first 'work of art,' representing the culmination of RUF engineering advancements for the 911, was brought together in 1983 with the introduction of the RUF BTR. This model, with a 3.4 liter turbo engine of 374 bhp and five speed transmission, was available in either a narrow body or turbo body configuration. The construction of each vehicle began at the bare chassis level in the RUF tradition of handmade craftsmanship.
RUF Automobile GmbH did not restrict developments to the engine, transmission, or chassis but instead addressed improvements in all areas together. These included larger, better brakes and increased width and diameter wheels, which were both novel approaches at that time. Together with Dunlop in 1985, RUF designed 17 inch wheels using the Dunlop RunFlat System, a system originally intended for the Porsche 959. Together, these ingenious technological advancements provided for maximum safety during high speed motoring.
Developments continued at an increasing pace and in 1987 the newest RUF high speed sports car, the CTR, received its certification for normal road use. This incredible car, a 469 bhp twin turbo coupé, exceeded the top speed world record for production cars on the Nardo Racetrack at a rate of 342 km/h!! It was at the time, and still today, a truly astonishing pace. In addition, this same year RUF Automobile GmbH became an approved manufacturer with the U.S. authorities for safety and emissions (NHTSA and EPA).
New developments continued and the CTR and BTR became available with a six speed RUF transmission. Following the success of the 17 inch wheel design, further work led to the introduction of 18 and 19 inch wheels which incorporated the same safety features as were originally on the CTR.
Based on the recently introduced Porsche C2/C4, the RUF 964 BTR followed soon thereafter; a single turbo debutante with an increase of 40 bhp over stock to 360 bhp. In steadfast RUF tradition, improvements were made in all areas of the car, including an increase in comfort. In 1992 the RUF BTR became available with the Electronic Clutch System, or EKS, which was developed in partnership with Fichtel and Sachs. EKS provides all the advantages of being able to enjoy the sportiness of shifting gears but without the tiresome clutch pedal in pesky stop-and-go traffic or in high speed conditions. It is sporty yet comfortable, with consistently flawless clutch engagement.
In 1993, two new single turbo engines of 3.6 and 3.8 liter displacement became available to the RUF and Porsche enthusiast. These engines were controlled by the latest Motronic systems which supply exact fuel needs for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions while still providing outstanding power. Ten years after the CTR's presentation, the time was right for a successor: Just like the Yellow Bird presented in 1987, the CTR 2 sported an array of technically innovative features underlining its deserved position atop the RUF model range.
For the first time ever, carbon brake discs and 19' forged magnesium wheels were used in a road legal sports car. The RUF CTR 2 engine even met the stringent US emissions standard with an excellent performance and many favorable press reports. The 3.6 liter flat six twin turbo's peak power output was tuned to 520 bhp at 5,800 rpm. Beyond its aerodynamic value, the CTR 2's rear wing served as an airbox with an integrated inlet to feed the twin intercoolers. Beginning a new tradition, the RUF CTR 2 had an integrated roll cage completely fit into the interior of the car, in contrast to the old bulky ones used in racing. This added an additional measure of safety without sacrificing ease of entry into and exit from the car. In 1997, the CTR 2 Sport was offered, with a light-weight construction to emphasize the sport concept from its name.
For the Porsche 993 twin turbo, RUF offers with its turboR an increase in performance to 490 bhp since 1997. In numerous tests against the best high-powered sports cars, this car was the winner in the sector of drivability, performance and maximum speed.
With the introduction of the water-cooled 996 and Boxster model generation came new prospects for future RUF products. The RUF 3400 S, unveiled at the 1999 Es-sen Motor Show, enhanced the power available to the Boxster line. The 3400 S produced 310 bhp by using an upgraded engine, transplanted out of the existing 996, while still maintaining the same reliability demanded by RUF customers.
The new millennium still sees RUF covering niche markets for customers with special requirements. That's why the 385 bhp RUF RGT, which was built on the basis of the 996 Carrera, came to be with a normal aspirated engine with a dry oil sump with a separate oil tank. It was certified for sale in the United States.
In 2001, following along with RUF's turbo traditions, the Rturbo was launched; a car with 520 bhp and capable of a top speed of over 345 km/h. Customer options are nearly limitless: they have the choice of Carrera body shell, wide body turbo shell, or sport version (extreme wide body). There is also the option for an Rturbo cabriolet.
For the model year 2002, RUF created the logical evolution of the 3400 S: the 3600 S. Powered by the optimized 3.6 liter naturally aspirated engine of the 996 Carrera (with up to 345 bhp), the 3600 S betters the concept of the comfortably powerful roadster even further through the combination of a uniquely designed exhaust system, rear carbon fiber undertray, and advanced frontal aerodynamics.
Additionally, RUF created the next more powerful RUF Rturbo having 550 bhp in 2002 and having 590 bhp in 2003.
In spring 2004, the sports version of the RUF RGT having 395 bhp and principally being made for the American market revived the philosophy of the pure sportiness of the 911 Carrera from 1973: A light construction along with a naturally aspirated en-gine. The rear spoiler design of the sporty RGT stylistically follows the fashion of 1973 in honor of the father of all sporty 911s.
For modern sports cars, there is often not enough ground clearance especially in city traffic. In summer 2004, RUF began offering a sport suspension that is hydraulically height adjustable and offers 50 millimeters more ground clearance by pressing a button at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour.
At the Essen Motor Show in November 2004, RUF presented the RUF Rt 12. This latest RUF turbo is based on the 997 Carrera, with a 650 bhp 3.8 liter twin turbo engine. Additionally, RUF celebrated the opening of its US dealership in Dallas.
The Ruf tradition continues....