For more than 70 years the name RUF has been associated with sports car development and car service in the automotive industry. GTspirit visited the headquarters of the German specialists in the south of Germany.
The automobile manufacturer was founded in 1939 in Pfaffenhausen, Germany. Originally known as “Auto RUF”, Alois Ruf Sr. started the company as a service garage which was eventually expanded to include a full-service gas station in 1949. In 1955 Ruf designed and built a tour bus, which he marketed around Germany. Due to its success the company eventually expanded with a separate bus company.
Alois Sr.’s involvement in the auto industry had a distinct effect on his son, Alois Ruf Jr., who became a sports car enthusiast and in 1960 began servicing and restoring Porsche automobiles out of his father’s garage. Upon the death of Alois Ruf senior in 1974, his son, Alois Ruf junior, took over directorship at the age of 24 and focused on his passion: Porsche vehicles, and especially the 911.
A year later in 1975, the first RUF-enhanced Porsche came to life. Two years later the first complete model was introduced. The tuned version of Porsche’s 930 had an improved 3.3 liter engine by installing larger pistons. The engine was rated at 303hp, 43hp higher than stock. The power was transmitted to the rear wheels by a prototype of the RUF five-gear-transmission. The release of this model meant the start of RUF Automobile as we know it today.
Over the past decades the Germans have showcased their excellence in creating unique sports cars. RUF did not restrict developments to the engine, transmission, or chassis, but also addressed improvements in wheels and brakes. In 1983 RUF revealed the RUF BTR, a 3.4 liter turbo engine with 374bhp and a five-speed transmission, followed by the world-famous and the first ever CTR aka Yellowbird. The 469hp twin turbo coupé exceeded the top speed world record for production cars on the Nardo race track at 342km/h.
By the end of 1996, RUF finished their second pinnacle, the CTR2. The 3.6 liter flat six twin turbo’s peak power output was tuned to 520bhp at 5,800rpm. The latest member in the CTR lineup, the CTR3, was presented in 2007 celebrating the company’s new plant in Bahrain and as a 20th anniversary celebration of the original CTR. The RUF CTR3 is an independent development with a 700bhp bi-turbo mid-engine with a sequential shift six-speed gearbox.
At the beginning of the century the Germans released their 385bhp RUF RGT, which was built on the basis of the 996 Carrera. In spring of 2004, the sports version of the RUF RGT showed its face with 395bhp. The sports car was build for the American market based on the philosophy of the pure sportiness of the 911 Carrera from 1973.
Another lineup of cars was firstly presented at the Essen Motor Show in November 2004. RUF showcased the RUF Rt 12, based on the first generation 997 Carrera with a 650hp 3.8 liter twin turbo engine. The successor of the Rt 12, the Rt 12 S showed its face in 2009. The output of the engine was upgraded by 35hp to 685hp. The top speed is 360km/h and the maximum torque 880Nm. At the Geneva Motor Show last year the latest model, the Rt 12 R was released. The R has a 3.8 liter bi-turbo boxer engine delivering 730bhp and a maximum torque of 940Nm. A six-speed gearbox deals with the power transmission and the 4WD system keeps the sports car fixed to the road. Top speed is over 370km/h.
With between 35 and 50 cars produced each year RUF Automobile keeps on going strong in the world of high-performance sports cars. RUF has not only firmly established its name as an automobile manufacturer, but also as an automobile refiner, specialists in vintage car restoration and re-builders of classic RUF and Porsche automobiles. The specialists from Pfaffenhausen currently employs 65 people in both the workshop and the Porsche dealership.
As visible in the gallery, the headquarters offers more than just a workship. Engine test bays, an electronics department and a showroom are part of the RUF Automobile premises. RUF is definitely here to stay with their latest focus being on the Chinese market where growth opportunities exist.