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RUF Automobile is a German automobile manufacturer. RUFs are built from unmarked Porsche chassis. When a chassis arrives, RUF builds their own independent work into the car. Because RUF installs many of their own-made parts, the company is recognized as a manufacturer by the German government. This is a similar business model to the one employed by Gemballa.
RUF - A Passion for Porsche
Tucked away in the German town of Pfaffenhausen is the small independent company RUF Automobile. Owned and managed by Alois Ruf, the company specialises in tuning Porsche automobiles to the highest standards, as well as restoring classic Porsches to their original glory. It has gained TuV status in 1981 as an independent manufacturer.
The company was opened in 1939, on the same site that the current garage occupies. Back then, it was a general service garage, caring for all of Pfaffenhausen's motoring needs, and run by Ruf Sr. By 1949, an element of growth was evident, and a petrol station was built on the premises. AUTO RUF, as it was known then, started to diversify from general mechanics, and a tour bus was produced - the first of its kind in Germany. Demand for similar vehicles was strong, and a certain bus company was set up parallel to the automobile section.
Meanwhile, Ruf Jr. was developing a penchant for Porsche, and began to restore the first Porsche cars of RUF in the late 1960s. By 1974, Ruf Jr. was in overall charge of the company, and chose the Porsche 911 as a development car to show the capability of his company. The rest, as they say, is history.
The First Porsche
The RUF Porsche made its debut in 1975, and two years later, a 3.3 litre turbocharged flat-six engine was introduced. The legendary 'Yellowbird' was born, and RUF was well on its way to becoming one of the best-known tuners of Porsche in the entire world.
In 1980, RUF developed a five-speed manual transmission for the Porsche 930 Turbo, to replace the standard four-speed. This move gained the approval of many customers, and by 1981 the company had attained TuV status. In 1983, RUF's first production automobile was produced - badged the RUF BTR. This was available in standard 911 narrow body, or with the Turbo wide body. The car was powered by a 375BHP 3.4 litre flat-six engine. All cars were handbuilt from either production shells from the Porsche factory or from existing cars customers chose to upgrade. The model also saw the debut of the famous RUF alloy wheel design - a stylish single-piece forged 17-inch design, built for use with Dunlop's RunFlat system, which was made especially for the Porsche 959.
The Speed Record
Developments of RUF vehicles continued at an ever-increasing pace, and in 1987, the RUF CTR a 911 coupe with a 475BHP twin-turbocharged engine, received type approval by the German authorities for road use. The car's first outing was strictly for marketing purposes - it was taken to the Nardo High-Speed Bowl in Italy, for an attempt the break the speed record for production cars.
The CTR succeeded, with a speed of 342km/h (212mph).
The end of 1987 was celebrated by RUF receiving type approval by the American authorities - opening up the USA market for a burgeoning small company.
The dawn of a new decade heralded the dawn of a new Porsche 911 - the type 964.
The BTR and CTR, now available with a six-speed manual transmission, and wheels up to 19-inches in diameter, were selling well, but RUF saw room for a new model in the line-up, and replaced the BTR with a 360BHP, single-turbocharged model based on either the 964 Carrera 2 or Carrera 4, of the same name. An engineering breakthrough occurred in 1992, with the inception of EKS, or Electronic Clutch System, developed by RUF in conjunction with Sachs and transmission engineers Fichtel. The system automatically engaged and disengaged the clutch for the driver - one step closer to a fully automatic gearbox, something that was not yet available on a RUF.
The CTR replacement arrived in 1993, based on the 964 Turbo, with engines of either 3.6 litre or 3.8 litre capacity. Badged the CTR 2, it featured innovations such as carbon-ceramic brake discs, forged magnesium 19-inch RUF alloy wheels and 520 BHP engine. Included in the package was a new RUF feature - the integral roll cage.
The range remained stagnant until 1997, when an update for the CTR 2 arrived. Named the CTR 2 Sport, the vehicle was a standard CTR 2, but lightened and strengthened.
The 964 model 911 was replaced by a new model, the 993, in 1997, and the turbocharged version emerged in 1998. RUF released a new model, based upon the Turbo, called the rTurbo - it was tuned to 490BHP and won numerous awards for reliability, driveability and performance.
The New Millenium
The new Boxster was released by Porsche in 1998, and RUF responded by producing the 3400S, a Boxster with a 911 996 3.4 litre engine. The vehicle featured RUF's synonomous alloy wheels, along with exhausts sprouting from the rear bumper and revisions to the interior. Developing 310BHP, this car was quick and manouverable, due to a balanced mid-engined chassis.
A brand new model, called the RGT was released, based upon the 996 Carrera. RUF chose not to turbocharge this model, but still manage to tune the powerplant to 385BHP.
The 996 Turbo was unveiled by Porsche in 2000, and RUF released its version, the rTurbo, in 2001. This supercar developed a massive 520BHP, which rose to 590BHP by the end of its lifetime.
The all-new 997 model came out in 2004, and in 2006 RUF released its version - the Rt12. The car had a 650BHP motor.
Other news for RUF in the new millenium came when it opened its first dedicated US dealership in Dallas, in 2005.
A collaboration was formed with StudioTorino in 2006 to produce a limited series of Boxster and Cayman based models, featuring uprated mechanicals by RUF and unique styling and paintwork by StudioTorino. These vehicles each were produced in a limited run of fifty vehicles, and had prices nearly four times that of the standard car.
A new generation of RUF fans were honed by the brand's inclusion into the Gran Turismo series of computer games, in which the player can select any of the company's cars, and pitch them against rivals.
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