Alois Ruf, Jr. knows the exact moment he and his father Alois Ruf, Sr. realized just how fanatic Porsche people are about their cars. While sitting at a stoplight in their Porsche 356 Karmann hardtop one Sunday afternoon, a stranger knocked on the window and begged for a chance to buy that exact car. The Rufs agreed to follow the person to his house, and the random buyer used cash from a candy box to overpay for the car that same day. After handing the cash over, the trusting stranger then loaned the Rufs a different Porsche to use to grab the necessary paperwork. “These Porsche people, they must be crazy,” Alois, Jr. remembers his father saying. “Everything is different with these people. Something is there that is not normal.” The Rufs went on to use craziness to build an 80-year business that is now engrained in Porsche lore.
Marking eight decades of service, Ruf put together a 30-minute documentary about its own history and recently released the project in full on YouTube. The video is spearheaded by Alois, Jr., and includes several other notable Porsche employees, owners, historians and fans. Ruf remains headquartered at Pfaffenhausen, Germany, where Alois, Sr. first opened a small repair shop.
Senior’s first Porsche was the result of a terrible crash. In 1963, while driving a Mercedes-Benz O 321 HL, he witnessed a Porsche 356 Karmann hardtop pass his slow-moving omnibus. When the Porsche try to correct into the proper lane, it lost control, drove into a ditch and flipped twice. Senior calmed the man down, brought him to the hospital, and explained he had an auto shop that could repair the car. But the owner ended up selling the car to Alois, and Alois sold it about a year later in the previously mentioned scenario. From that seed, a lasting relationship grew.
The car RUF is known for, the Yellowbird, came from an idea that emerged back in 1979. At the time, Junior called it the 945 R, and he planned to give it 450 horsepower with a twin-turbo version of the 935 engine. He ended up building the CTR 1 out of a shell from a 911 Carrera 3.2, and the car’s pure performance characteristics filled a gap left by Porsche at the time. In part due to a popular VHS tape, that car later became a legend.
Learn more about RUF’s beginnings, and how the business progressed, straight from Alois, Jr., in the video above.