Ruf Automobile is one of the giants of the tuning industry. The documentary produced by the company “Ruf: Love at the Red Line” traces its 80 years of history.
What eventually became Ruf Automobile began in 1939 as a regular garage in Pfaffenhausen, Germany, opened by Alois Ruf, Sr., his son Alois Ruf, Jr., would eventually turn the business into a Porsche tuning powerhouse. thanks to the misfortune of a pilot.
In the documentary, Ruf Jr. explains that one day in 1963 a Porsche 356 passed his father’s bus and crashed. His father took the driver to the hospital and fixed the car. This began Ruf, Jr.’s love affair with Porsches and a constant activity in the repair and maintenance of sports cars.
1987 Ruf CTR ‘Yellowbird’
Ruf began selling his modified Porsches in the late 1970s, in response to Porsche’s reduction of the 911 range in favor of the 928. Porsche wanted to replace the 911 with the 928, and although this did not happen, it created a niche. for Ruf’s tuned 911s.
Soon after, Alois Ruf, Jr., began inventing the car that would earn Ruf Automobile’s lasting fame: the CTR Yellowbird. The project began in 1979 as the 945R, with the intention of using a 450hp flat-6 biturbo derived from the engine used in the Porsche 935 racing car. The current Yellowbird was launched in 1987 using a 911 Carrera 3.2 body and a 3.4-liter flat-6 biturbo that produced around 460 hp.
The Yellowbird became world famous by winning a 1987 Road and Track Competition “The fastest cars in the world”, beating Ferrari and Lamborghini with a top speed of 211 mph. The only previous high-speed shakedown was a ride on a German motorway on the way to the test. Alois Ruf, Jr., said.
In 1989, Ruf followed with the video “Fascination on the Nürburgring”, again starring CTR. In-car footage and some spectacular drifts made this arguably the first automotive viral video, but in those days before the internet it was released on VHS.
Another key component of Ruf’s mystique is the “Gran Turismo” video game series. In 1998, producer Kazunori Yamauchi tracked Ruf, Jr., to a Japanese hotel to get permission to use Ruf cars in games. Yamauchi said he wanted to include Ruf due to the brand’s heroic status among car enthusiasts.
Ruf gradually expanded to other Porsche models and even a Volkswagen van, before taking on the challenge of building a car from scratch. The 2017 Ruf CTR looked like the original Yellowbird, but with a frame tub and bespoke carbon fiber bodywork. Ruf has continued that theme over the past few years with other retro-looking cars and restomods from some of his’ 90s models.
Watch the full video above for more information on the company’s history and a look at how the factory does its job.