RUF Rodeo Is a 500-HP, Porsche-Based Off-Roader for Sophisticated Cowboys
It's got the horses in the back—and a shovel.
It was easy to believe Marc Philipp Gemballa when he said his supercar startup would be the first to launch a heavily Porsche-inspired off-roader. Gemballa, however, has been beaten to the punch by an unlikely rival, one which also made its name by improving upon existing supercars. That rival is RUF, which today unveiled a rough-riding supercar concept called the Rodeo.
Originally slated for reveal at this year's Geneva Motor Show before its cancellation due to coronavirus, the RUF Rodeo is a country-western pastiche that only the Americana-crazed subset of Germans could come up with. Alois Ruf Jr. describes the car as the "brainchild" of his wife Estonia, the firm's marketing director, who conceived the Rodeo as a tribute to the American plains, specifically Oklahoma, where she studied in her youth—and where she met Alois Jr.
"When we began building our own automobiles it was all for the thrill of the drive. The Rodeo Concept combines that passion for cars with the love of western culture—an appreciation I found while studying in Oklahoma, USA," commented Estonia Ruf. "This car is inspired by some of our favorite people and our love for the countryside."
RUF's Rodeo fulfills passion for driving with an uprated flat-six engine, this one a naturally aspirated unit producing 500 horsepower (RUF emphasizes its 700-horsepower twin-turbo unit could fit as well). Power flows to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and an all-wheel-drive system with dial-adjustable torque bias; a first for cars based on RUF's new carbon monocoque, which features an integral roll cage. All-terrain Michelin and long-travel shocks make patrolling the perimeter of your racetrack ranch a piece of cake, and should you somehow get stuck, there's always the shovel mounted on the trunk.
When you're done digging the Rodeo out of cowpats, you can crawl back into its interior, which is upholstered almost entirely in saddle-spec chapped leather. Navajo blanket-inspired patterns on the seatbacks and saddlebag-style door pockets offer contrast and prevent the Rodeo's interior from being an exercise in excess beige.
Sadly, the RUF Rodeo is no more than a concept vehicle at present, and a company spokesperson tells The Drive that there are no immediate plans to put it into even limited production. That could change, of course, if the well-to-do ranchers of the world decide they'd rather roam the range in a RUF than a Ram.
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