RUF: history and concept
Alois Ruf’s father, Alois senior, set up his business in 1939. A talented, innovative engineer, the company’s work with Porsches came about by accident – literally. Passed on a road by a 356, it crashed, and Ruf offered to repair the car. The company quickly gained a reputation for repairing Porsches, though it wasn’t until Alois senior’s passing in 1974 that saw the firm dedicate its business wholly to enhancing Porsche’s products.
The early years saw RUF work on the Turbo, giving it a 3.3-litre engine, the SCR being RUF’S take on the SC, giving it performance close to that of Porsche’s standard 911 Turbo. In 1981 RUF was given manufacturer status, allowing it to add its own VIN codes to its vehicles, it taking body-in-white shells from Porsche to create its own models. The most famous remains the CTR, the twin-turbo Yellow Bird that set records and exploded the RUF name onto the global automotive consciousness. Its 469hp was thought to be conservative. Porsche was said to have been fascinated by it, sending engineers to a later 1988 Nardo high-speed test to monitor the cylinder head temperatures.
RUF’S scale seems to be its sanctuary: it’ll never build enough cars to be any concern to Porsche itself, so largely the operation is left to its own devices. It’s a positive relationship. RUF isn’t alone though: Alpina has a similar scenario with BMW, Brabus with Mercedes-benz, the degree of engineering changes sufficient that they too are given manufacturer status. Porsche benefit from selling RUF parts, and RUF operate in a sphere that’s different to Porsche’s usual customers, while creating products that are different from its own.