For over 60 years the name of RUF has been associated with the automotive industry, meaning 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.
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.
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 many years now.
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 litres 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 litre version of the six cylinder naturally aspirated 3.0 litre engine Porsche offered (which was far below its true performance potential). This conversion was favourably received by sports car enthusiasts worldwide and resulted in numerous orders.
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 Manufacturer’s’ 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 litre 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.
In 1977, Porsche unveiled the 930, which had taken the performance car world by storm with its awesome forced-induction power plant. RUF chose the 930 as inspiration, and took the turbocharged 3.3 litre flat-six and bored it out to 3.4 litres. With the harnessing of larger pistons and bigger turbochargers, power was ramped up to 375 BHP. The power output was known to fluctuate to conform to individual customers’ specification. The RUF touch spread to the brakes, which were increased in size, the suspension, which was stiffened and lowered (but this again depended upon customer specification) and the exhaust system. The upgrades utilised lighter, stronger, and in some cases, much more expensive materials than the standard 930.
Many RUF BTRs were given the RUF treatment to the outside; a bodykit which had been in development over RUF’s previous Porsche models, along with the appearance of the famous, single-piece forged alloy wheels. The bodywork involved deeper bumpers front and rear, and thicker-set side skirts. The car was available in either ‘Turbo Body’ (with the flared wheel arches of the 930) or ‘Narrow Body’, with the standard 911 wings. The Narrow Body specification was preferred by RUF, due to the aerodynamic benefits (the coefficient of drag was appreciably lower than the Turbo Body). The bodywork was finished in any colour specified by the customer, and topped off by the obligatory Tea Tray spoiler.
The modifications were not limited to the exterior, though. Internally, RUF placed a smattering of branded items, and could change the trimmings to order.
The number of BTRs produced by RUF is unknown, due to loss of factory records, but the estimate places the number at close to 100 (both RUF VIN and Porsche VIN) over the 10-year lifespan of the model.
This stunning late model Porsche 911 Turbo was converted in period to RUF BTR specification, and is presented with the upgraded 5 speed gearbox and sports exhaust system.
Offered with a NOVA certification and UK MoT to June 2016, and finished in dark metallic blue with a light grey leather interior, this low mileage example offers lightening performance with the exclusivity your “average” 911 Turbo cannot possibly match.