What exactly is a RUF?

Porsches and RUFs being worked on at the RUF factory in Pfaffenhausen, Germany.

Lately I have had people e-mailing me asking about various cars that they have either come across online or are considering buying and the number one question is: Is this a real RUF? So, I thought I would put together a blog post to try and shed some light on what constitutes a RUF and whether there should be a premium involved when buying or selling.

Before I begin, I want to say that these are simply my opinions from years of research, looking at various cars in person and online and tracking asking prices, sale prices, and just enthusiasm in general. I’m sure there will be people with a difference of opinion and of course, I do not represent any sort of RUF-approved official stance on the matter.

I don’t want to get into too much history, the best place to learn about that is on YouTube where a great multi-part series narrated by Alois Ruf himself is posted to mKe197975′s channel. Here’s Part 1: RUF History Part 1.

RUF VIN: These cars are the most comprehensive cars that RUF builds. They start off typically as a body-in-white shell. That is, they have never been assembled into a Porsche, and will start their lives off and be completed in the RUF factory. In coupe configuration, the highest models are equipped with the Integrated Rollcage, or IRC. They can be specced very uniquely to meet the owners’ desires. They will typically carry a premium over a comparable standard Porsche model on the used market. RUF VIN numbers always start with W09.

A RUF VIN CTR2 Sport currently residing in Japan, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

The engine of the RUF CTR3, arguably the most uniquely RUF vehicle the company has ever produced. Click on the photo to see it in the registry.

However, a Porsche VIN does not negate a full rebuild to RUF VIN specifications. In some countries where it is difficult to register or classify the RUF VIN, an owner may choose to purchase a brand-new Porsche or have their used Porsche sent to RUF for nearly all that RUF has to offer. While some feel these cars “are not a real RUF”, I believe each vehicle should be judged on its individual merits. Typically, if the car has had a complete rebuild, the IRC will have been added, along with a host of other components that are usually reserved for RUF VIN only. Some of these cars are “RUF VIN” in all but the door tag and registration card.

A comprehensive BTR conversion carried out on this Porsche 993 Carrera 4, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

A comprehensive conversion carried out on this Porsche 997 Turbo, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

RUF Conversion: Starting with the SCR and more famously, the BTR, RUF structured a fairly comprehensive conversion program for existing Porsche owners looking to get more out of their car. The point of contention here is what exactly constitutes a RUF conversion. RUF have stated in the past that the basis is always the engine conversion, and I adhere to this interpretation when it comes to adding vehicles to the registry. If the car has a bunch of RUF cosmetic pieces, but no engine conversion, it will not be put in the registry. For instance, on the BTR, that would be the 3.4 liter 374 hp engine, on the RKompressor, it is the supercharger kit, etc. Whatever else is added beyond that simply makes the conversion more comprehensive and brings the car closer in character to a RUF VIN. Some higher horsepower conversions necessitate sending the engine to RUF in Pfaffenhausen to be stripped down, rebuilt, tested and sent back. The cars with these particular conversions will usually command a premium over lower horsepower bolt-on tuning that can happen at a regional RUF agent or RUF-authorized Porsche dealer. Similarly, on top of the engine conversion, if there are many items from the catalog like the suspension, brakes, wheels, bodykit, etc. a car will command a premium over an engine conversion only counterpart. How much is open to interpretation and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

The engine of a Porsche 930 with BTR Conversion, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

A Porsche 996 Turbo with RTurbo conversion, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

RUF in the USA: Because I am in the USA, many of the cars I have looked at and researched have been here. From the information I have been able to gather, I know the original RUF agent in the USA was Exclusive Motorcars Inc. in Montclair, NJ. In addition to Exclusive Motorcars, the western United States was handled by RUF Western America / Scottsdale Motorsports in Scottsdale, Arizona. Later, RUF consolidated its operation to Southfield, Michigan, where it remained throughout the 1990s. In the new millennium however, another RUF agent, RUF Auto Centre, opened in Carrollton, Texas. With the economy booming and with the help of social media in the mid-naughts, RUF Auto Centre became known as the pre-eminent RUF dealer where quite a few notable cars I have added in the registry were delivered. Following the downturn of 2007, RUF once again consolidated its operation to Southfield, Michigan where it remains today. RUF Auto Centre is now known as RAC Performance and remains in Carrollton, Texas. I am looking for more info on the dealer history of RUF in the USA and if you know this information to be incorrect or have anything further to add, please e-mail me at info@rufregistry.com.

RUF brochure from Exclusive Motorcars Inc. Click on the photo to see it in its entirely.

RUF Western America magazine advertisement.

Steve Beddor: Perhaps the most iconic RUF vehicles in the USA are those that once belonged to Steve Beddor and his family. Although an entire blog post can be written on the Beddor cars alone, I will only say that if there is documentation linking a vehicle to the Beddor family, it is likely a special car and should be treated on an individual basis.

The infamous Steve Beddor CTR2 Sport racecar.

An ex-Beddor Porsche 964 CTR Conversion, click on the photo to see it in the registry.

As always, if you have any further info, literature or just feel like sharing your feelings on the matter, either post a comment here on this blog entry or e-mail me at info@rufregistry.com.

Photo credit: All photos credited in the registry, please click to see more and find out who took them.