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Diamonds in the Ruf

You’ve seen the tape, right? Stefan Roser, a 1987 Yellow Bird and a VHS cassette at the Nürburgring. The footage from that record-breaking drive is perhaps the first viral video ever created. As a result, most motoring enthusiasts know about the CTR ‘Yellow Bird’ and RUF Automobile, the ingenious company that created it. Like the Yellow Bird nickname, that Nürburgring video lap sensation wasn’t planned: it just happened, catapulting the hitherto relatively unknown manufacturer firmly into the consciousness of car fans the world over.

Technology would again play into RUF’s hands, its manufacturer status seeing it being included in Sony’s smash hit PlayStation game Gran Turismo 2 when Porsche itself wasn’t. That gaming exposure further cemented the small, bespoke manufacturer’s status among petrolheads, but for all the Yellow Bird’s 211mph achievements, RUF still flies under the radar.

Deliberately so, RUF remains something of an enigma. We know it produces its own cars, having had manufacturer status since 1981, but, really, few know anything else. The Pfaffenhausen-based company opened 78 years ago in 1939 with Alois Ruf Sr, a talented engineer repairing, improving and building vehicles. However, it was his son, Alois Ruf Jr, who would indulge in his passion for sports cars – and specifically the 911 – within the family business.

RUF attracts a different audience – a discerning clientele, who appreciate the engineering, the subtleties that define RUF’s models. Sure, a yellow, 469hp, turbocharged narrow-bodied 911 that monstered a performance test for American magazine Road & Track’s 1984 and 1987 ‘The World’s Fastest Cars’ features doesn’t exactly describe that, but then you don’t humble contemporary Ferraris, Lamborghinis and, yes, Porsches, without next-level engineering capability and skill.

It is that which defines RUF, that exacting attention to detail, with the focus on integrity rather than simply beautifying. If form follows that function it’s a bonus. RUF is about hand-built, small-volume vehicles, built as Alois and his family like them, and by family, that also includes its loyal customers.

US-based Arling Wang is among them. A long-time Porsche enthusiast and owner of LA specialists Rstrada, he’s also had a close relationship with Ruf for over six years now. Even better, he personally owns four RUF creations, and has visited Pfaffenhausen on countless occasions – so he’s better qualified than most to comment on Alois Jr’s enigmatic concern. Wang begins describing it, “With RUF it’s much more about a personal relationship. Every car you buy, you get to know them more.”

Wang buys into that relationship as much as he does the cars themselves, adding: “Ultimately the RUF package speaks to a certain owner, somebody who likes to have different things. For me, it’s about being low key, yet more sophisticated. If you know, you know; with a RUF it’s very much for you, it’s not for other people.” He adds: “It’s such an interesting company, all they do in-house is essentially run a family business, they don’t really care about what people say about their product, they only care about the people who believe in them.”

For the full article on Ruf Automobile’s incredible 911-based creations, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 160 in stores now or get it delivered to you via our online shop. Alternatively, download a digital copy to any device via Apple Newsstand or Google Play

Porsche 959, GT1, 959, Carrera GT and other Hypercars Drag Race in Stunning Swiss Surroundings


When you’ve done well in life, doors open for you. In this case, the owners of these gorgeous hypercars were given free reign to drive as quickly as they like across the landing strip at the Cambri Airport, just outside of Village Quinto. On their way to this meeting of the latest and greatest hypercars on the planet, the picturesque Gotthard pass was closed to public use and speed limits were temporarily lifted for a brief blitz through the mountains. Ah, la dolce vita.

Admist this flock of fantastic machinery, several Porsche greats stand out with incredible response, thrust, and rapid gearchanges. That unusually raspy roar of the 959 leaving the line sends tingles up the spine, and for purposes of comparison, the 918 leaves seconds later; showing how far forward Porsche has moved the mark in the last thirty years. Anything that bolts off the line so quickly and so cleanly is bound to be a rocket in a straight line, 887 hybrid horses or not. Additionally, the way the 918 gobbles up gears without delay gives some insight into how Porsche’s cars are able to outrun more powerful machinery.

The high-pitched howl of the Carrera GT might take the prize for most aurally-pleasing, but it’s up against some stiff competition. The wail of V12 Ferraris and that Messerschmitt rumble of the AMGs are musical, but there’s something otherworldly about that 5.7-liter V10 screaming all the way to 8,400 rpm—throaty, full-bodied, and rising to a crescendo that makes an F1 car sound flat and lifeless.

Surprisingly, there are some turbocharged Porsches which sound vibrant and alive; not just subdued whooshing and popping. The steel blue GT1 has more mid-range bark than some might think, and compensates for its hushed exhaust note by easily outrunning a CLK GTR. Even more raucous is the rare RUF CTR 3, which uses a 3.8-liter motor force-fed by twin KKK turbochargers to make somewhere around 800 horsepower. It, like everything else here, is simply stunning.

The post Porsche 959, GT1, 959, Carrera GT and other Hypercars Drag Race in Stunning Swiss Surroundings appeared first on FLATSIXES.

Ruf SCR 4.2 – Le passé, c’est maintenant !

Au sein des préparateurs Porsche, Ruf a une place à part. Déjà, c’est l’un des plus vieux et des plus expérimentés. Ensuite, le préparateur a sorti des engins qui ont marqué les esprits, de par leur bestialité et leurs performances. Enfin, c’est le seul qui a réussi à traverser les époques sans tomber dans l’oubli… […]

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RUF: the original Porsche tuner

evo’s tour behind closed doors at RUF – the famous Porsche fettler…

Genève 2017 : RUF CTR

RUF CTR (2017)

Ceci n’est pas une Porsche 911. Car si la nouvelle RUF CTR ressemble à s’y méprendre à une 911, elle n’en reprend en fait que peu de pièces, et rend bien sur hommage au « Yellowbird » des années 80. La première CTR, lancée en 1987, a maqué l’histoire du préparateur RUF. Qui revient sans cesse à […]

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Silverstone Auctions’ 2016 Porsche Sale preview

This weekend no less than 50 different Porsche 911s will go under the hammer at Silverstone Auctions’ annual sale held in conjunction with Porsche Club GB.

Among the expected stars (including a 997 GT2 and a 2.4-litre 911S Coupe), one Neunelfer stands out most to us: a 2010 Porsche 997.2 GT3 RS, immaculately presented in Carrara White with red Rennsport decals and matching centre-lock alloys.

Unlike many of the cars on offer at The Porsche Sale, we are particularly familiar with this exact Clubsport example, the car appearing in a head-to-head with a 964 Carrera RS in our issue 128 Rennsport twin test.


We can, therefore, genuinely vouch for the car’s incredible condition (in part a result of covering just 21,500 miles from new). Complete with a desirable spec, this 3.8-litre Rennsport is expected to realise £135,000-£155,000.

There’s also a unique Ruf RCT (the star of last week’s ‘Sales Spotlight’) going under the hammer, alongside a right-hand drive Porsche 996.1 GT3 Clubsport in Guards Red. The latter comes with a £55,000-£65,000 estimate.

The earliest Porsche 911 at Silverstone Auctions’ sale this weekend is a beautifully restored, short wheelbase 911T. Finished in gorgeous Irish Green, the car is a genuine right-hand drive example, delivered by AFN in September 1968 and maintained by the original UK importer until 1973.

Photo by Andrew Le Poidevin

Photo by Andrew Le Poidevin

Kept in Guernsey since, a recent restoration by Harrison Automotive totalled nearly £40,000. Despite the work, the car has been kept in remarkably genuine condition (down to the original radio and tool kit), the 911T is expected to fetch £85,000-£100,000.

Classic Porsche 911 fans will also want to keep an eye on a Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa (one of just six right-hand drive cars delivered to the UK during the model’s production run).

There are also two Porsche 964 Carrera RSs going under the hammer, including an incredibly rare NGT example in Maritime Blue. Having covered just 25,000 miles from new, the car is in incredible condition and comes with an estimate of £135,000-£155,000.


Representing possibly the biggest bargain of the sale is a Porsche 964 Carrera 4 with an expected price tag of £15,000-£20,000. While the car has covered 293,000km and is left-hand drive, this seems like a great opportunity to get behind the wheel of a later air-cooled car without breaking the bank.

Held inside Silverstone Circuit’s ‘Wing’ building, proceedings kick off at 9am on Saturday morning, with the auction proper beginning at 11am. There’s a chance to view all the lots tomorrow (Friday 14 October) from 10am until 6pm.

At the conclusion of Friday’s preview, Porsche Club GB members are invited to join Henry Hope-Frost (host of last year’s Total 911 Awards) in a Q&A session with Porsche racing legend, Derek Bell. Those who wish to attend are asked to email the club (via admin@porscheclubgb.com) with their membership details.

To see all of the Porsche 911s going under the hammer this weekend, check out Silverstone Auctions’ full lot list now.


Sales Spotlight: 1993 Ruf RCT

This week, our Sales Spotlight has a slightly different flavour to it. For one, the car we’ve decided to showcase isn’t actually at an independent Porsche specialist; it’s going under the hammer at Silverstone Auction’s dedicated Porsche Sale on Saturday 15 October.

Secondly, our latest Sales Spotlight star isn’t actually a Porsche 911 at all: it’s a genuine Ruf RCT, based on a 964 Carrera but fitted with a bespoke, Ruf-built turbocharged engine turning out 385bhp

This particular Ruf is the only RCT (“Ruf Carrera Turbo”) bestowed with a wide body shell and, most interestingly, Ruf’s electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. Estimated at £120,000-£140,000 it seems like quite an incredible (and unusual) car for the money.

Ruf RCT engine

Porsche had experimented with four-wheel drive on its 959 supercar in the mid Eighties but, the first all-wheel drive 911 Turbo wouldn’t arrive – in the shape of the 993 – until 1995. Built in 1993, this particular RCT allowed Ruf to, once again, beat Porsche to technological punch.

Originally, this car started life as a Porsche 964 Anniversary Edition, delivered to Porsche Stuttgart where it was spotted by Alois Ruf Jr, the head of Ruf Automobile GmbH who decided to use it as the basis for his ground-breaking RCT build.

Back at Ruf’s factory in Pfaffenhausen, the 964 Anniversary was converted to RCT specification with the help of a twin-plug 3.6-litre flat six, fitted with a KKK K26 turbocharger and Motronic engine management.

The gearbox was rebuilt with a limited slip differential while Ruf also added its then-new four-wheel drive system. The build was completed with brake and suspension upgrades, a sports exhaust system and Ruf’s trademark five-spoke 18-inch alloys (made by Speedline).

Ruf RCT interior

Ruf’s attention to detail also saw the 964’s external rain gutters deleted while there were a number of bespoke touches inside, including the steering wheel, gauges and pedals. Of around 100 RCT’s ever built, this car remains the only wide body example with four-wheel drive.

Kept in a private collection until 2007, the Schwarz Metallic Ruf RCT has subsequently lived in the UK and comes complete with a full history (including its original German paperwork).

To read more about this Ruf RCT, or to see all of the lots going under the hammer at the Porsche Sale on 15 October, head to Silverstone Auctions’ website now. 

1993 Ruf RCT rear

Ruf RTR & RGT… Alors, Turbo ou atmo ?

Le sage qui se faisait appeler Tonton David chantait « Chacun sa route, chacun son chemin »… Voilà une philosophie qui représente parfaitement les 2 Porsche revues et corrigées par Ruf qui débarquent. L’une encaisse les salves des turbos pendant que l’autre préfère la respiration naturelle. Alors, c’est quoi votre route ? Ruf a vu le jour […]


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Porsche 964 static… y’a pas que les limaces qui laissent des traces !

Y’en a quand ils shootent, ils ne font pas semblant ! Brian, quand il a posé sa Porsche 964, il a du se dire que si ça frottait pas, ça servait à rien ! Pari gagné… L’engin glisse sur la route, qui défile qu’à quelques millimètres du châssis. Billard obligatoire ! Quand on voit à […]


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This Is What It’s Like To Own A RUF Yellowbird

Photography by Ted Gushue

I don’t need an excuse to write about a Porsche. I do it all the time. I Instagram them. I talk about them ad nauseum. I get into fights in our comments section with readers who assert that we’ve become Porschelicious. That’s all fine—but I don’t care who you are, what your stance is on Porsches, or yellow birds for that matter—when you see a RUF Yellowbird in the flesh, you stop what you’re doing and pay attention.

Tim Pappas is an accomplished racing driver, and is the principal of the Patrick Long-staffed Black Swan Racing. We’re gonna be profiling a few of his cars over the next couple weeks, but this one pretty much takes the cake.


Ted Gushue: Tell me the story of how you first came upon the Ruf “Yellowbird”.

Tim Pappas: Well, my oldest friend, David Lloyds, saw the car listed for sale on someone’s website, and he thought of me because he and I are both huge Porsche fanatics and he knew that I loved that car. We used to talk about cars all the time before we could drive, and the Yellowbird was one of the first cars that we both agreed was crazy. I called the seller’s broker talked to them. It’s an interesting car because the original owner was the Ruf importer for the U.S. for a brief period of time and a very good old friend of Alois Ruf. When they were building these cars, he wanted one. Of course, it wasn’t easy to get one into the US because of the legal process, but they figured it out, and so for the longest time, this was the only “Yellowbird” in the US.

The original owner bought the car in Germany, and he did a bunch of driving events in Germany and then brought the car into the US sometime in ’91 or ’92. The car was a little bit infamous because he used to go and do lots of track days. I’ve got a friend who was driving at Roebling Road in a Porsche 935. The original owner was driving this car. Roebling has this sweeping turn that goes onto the front straightaway, and the sweeping turn is flat, and the straightaway is so long and it’s so fast. When he saw the picture of the car he said, « Man, I could not pass that car in the 935! » It is just that fast!


The car did a lot of track days, and over the years they made it a pretty good track car. It came from Ruf with racing seats, and harnesses, and the full roll cage, and all the lightweight aluminum bodywork. They had added a transmission cooler and rear brake cooling. They changed the ring and pinion because, of course, you didn’t need the car to go 215 miles an hour. They put a shorter ring and pinion in it. They put a fuel cell in it. And then he just did tons of track days.

He had two sets of wheels, and the great thing was that he really loved the car. So, even though he did a ton of track miles in it, he took good care of it, maintained it properly and kept all of the stock parts. When I bought the car in 2012, we basically just took it completely apart, down to the bare chassis and rebuilt everything, put everything back to stock, rebuilt all four corners; suspension, brakes, engine, gearbox, put the fuel system back to stock, took out the transmission cooler that they had added, put the original ring and pinion back in, we had all the gears reworked—but no changes from what Ruf had delivered.

The restoration didn’t go overboard, it was not upgraded with turbos. When we sent the turbos back to Triple K, they were like, « Hey, we can change the cartridges and make them even better! » I just elected not to do any of that stuff because it was like a purity mission, although it was not a preservation class one-off ’50s Ferrari, right, where having the original paint mattered to me. To me, it was like I wanted this car to be absolutely dead-ass perfect, like it’d just rolled out of the factory.


Bernie Van Hamond, one of my racing mechanics, helped oversee the project. He also works in the construction industry. He’s a project manager but he’s been racing forever. I’ve been racing with Bernie since 2007. He’s an unbelievable car builder because he’s so meticulous and so organized. We were constantly on email with Ruf to get parts and pieces and asking questions like, « How is this supposed to look? » The muffler was a wreck, so we had to completely rebuild the muffler. I mean, just so much stuff. It was amazing how helpful they were.

TG: Is that has something to do with the fact that Ruf wants to preserve their legacy and their legend?

TP: I think it’s partially that, but it’s also that when you meet Alois and when you understand what their whole philosophy is, you realize that they’re just such Porsche fanatics, and like all Porsche fanatics they want it to be done right and they love to collaborate with people. Which is why you see Ruf now doing restoration work on an early ’64 911 or a ’73 RS Carrera. I mean, he just does everything, restorations, service. He’s got factory authorized service for Porsche as well. He’s doing a ton of stuff, but they helped us immensely.


TG Describe the drive.

TP: Well, I think what’s so amazing is, for a torsion bar car the suspension is spot on. It’s so good! The chassis is so balanced. You can drift the car, you can hold it in a drift. It’s really, really stable. It changes direction well. It’s not as pushy as some 911s that you’ll drive. The weight of the car, the big reduction in weight with aluminium bodywork, and all the lightweight stuff that they’ve done, no sound-deadening and all that, the car is really light. It has a ton of power, but with twin fuel injectors, twin turbos, electronic engine management, the car is actually very quick on the boost. It doesn’t have the old air-cooled, single turbo, miles of turbo lag, but it still has a satisfying kick in the ass, as you felt.

TG: What’s the car capable of in its current setup?

TP: Well, top speed it’s capable of 215. I’ve never run it on a quarter mile. The fact that it has an aluminium roll cage, most of the drag racing clubs won’t allow it. I think it’s a high 10 second quarter mile car at probably 145-ish. I mean, it feels that fast. Maybe it could be a tick off of that. It’s just the inherent slop in that gearbox that would slow it down a little. You can’t really slam it, like you can a current generation manual gearbox. It’s one of the most satisfying 911s to drive because it has that air-cooled feel but mixed with performance that…

TG: …rivals most super cars today.

TP: I mean, it will absolutely annihilate a 993 Twin turbo. Just completely smoke it because it weighs 1,200 pounds less.


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