Pfaffenhasuen, a small Swabian village in the Allgau region near Mindelheim, west of Munich, is the home of RUF Automobile GmbH, a small company that in conjunction with Porsche has written a sports car history of its own.
RUF’s competency in all things automotive is based on a tradition dating back to the late 1930s. In 1939 Alois Ruf Senior founded his firm, ‘Auto RUF’, a general automotive and mechanical repair shop in Pfaffenhausen’s Mindelheimer Strasse, where it remains to this very day. In January 1950, his son Alois entered the world.
In 1963 the company became a representative of Bavarian brand BMW. While father Alois continued to expand his company, Alois Junior discovered a passion for sports cars. As early as 1975, he built his first car, a 911 Carrera RS 3.0, to his own design. The car attracted much attention with its special interior equipment, headlamp-washer system and roof aerial.
Fast forward to 1983 and the first vehicle to bear a RUF chassis number was the RUF BTR of 1983. The core of this car was a 3.4 litre RUF turbo engine of 374hp and a RUF-developed five-speed manual transmission. The car was hand-built from a body shell up. Along with the wide turbo bodywork, RUF also offered the BTR in the narrow 911 Carrera body.
In its engineering development programmes, RUF concentrates not only on engine, transmission and body, but also on wheels and brakes. Beginning in 1985 RUF 17-inch Speedline wheels complemented the model range. Seventeen-inch tyres, originally developed for the Porsche 959, resulted from a close co-operation with tyre manufacturer Dunlop. Along with run-flat capability, the Dunlop Denloc system offered maximum safety at extremely high speeds.
In 1987, the company presented the RUF CTR, a lightweight coupe powered by a 469hp 3.4 litre twin-turbo engine and Motronic engine management in a narrow, aerodynamically-optimized body. In performance, the CTR which the international motoring press dubbed the ‘Yellow Bird’, set new benchmarks for street-legal sports cars. In comparison tests on the high-speed track at Nardo in southern Italy the CTR, with its top speed of 213mph left for dust even such pedigree high-end sports cars like the Ferrari F40, an AMG-Mercedes and a works-tuned Porsche 959. In that same year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) certified RUF as an automobile manufacturer.
To this day RUF remains unique as a manufacturer in its own right and continues to source 'bodies-in-white' directly from Porsche to produce bespoke hand-built sports cars with their own very special characteristics. Every car is built specifically to the owner's requirements which means that each car is very rarely the same as any other produced at the factory and carries its own RUF chassis number.
RUF also remains one of the world’s pre-eminent providers of first-class, authentic restoration services for all types of Porsche vehicles.
Please take a look at the RUF Timeline for major milestones in the company’s history.