Ruf Built the World's Fastest Car Over Rumors of a Front-Engine Porsche 911

This is what you need to know about the radical, yet obscure Ruf brand.

Larry Chen Larry@larrychenphoto.com—Larry Chen

If you're any sort of car enthusiast, it's likely you'll have at least heard of Ruf. The company started over 80 years ago as a small auto repair shop and gas station but really started cooking with fire in the 1970s when the founder's son, Alois Ruf Jr., decided to build his own cars out of Porsche 911 bodies in response to Porsche's original intention to replace the rear-engined model with the front-engined 928. Thankfully, that plan never came to fruition, but Ruf soldiered on with its custom sports cars. 

The venture eventually led to the creation of the iconic CTR "Yellowbird" in 1987, a 463-horsepower world-beater that kind of became a big deal thanks to a vintage Road & Track article that proclaimed it to be "The Fastest Production Car in the World" as well as a video called "Faszination on the Nürburgring" that showed it lapping the titular German racetrack—a video that just might be the world's first "viral" car video. Baby-faced millennials like yours truly, however, will likely remember Ruf cars from its place in video games like PlayStation's Gran Turismo.

It's an interesting story and one that's conveniently told in this new, 29-minute mini-documentary that just dropped on YouTube. It features a cool, behind-the-scenes look at how the Pfaffenhausen company's cars are completely handbuilt, interviews with Alois Jr. himself, Porsche collectors and tuners like Spike Feresten and Rod Emory, and an anecdote from GT creator Kazunori Yamauchi about how he got permission to include the cars in his game series by barging into the Ruf boss's hotel room.

Even if you're the type of heathen who, for whatever reason, doesn't care about Porsches or "modified" cars, it's probably worth watching just for this quote from Mr. Ruf: "My motto has always been: when you drive one of our cars, you have to feel like you're driving your own jeans—your own pants. To make sure that the engine sounds right, that the feel of the steering is right. I always try to build cars that still have this feeling." 

Finally, a man after our own hearts.

Got a tip? Send us a note: tips@thedrive.com