1970 Ruger Sports Tourer Prototype
Sold For $44,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The William B. Ruger Jr. Collection
- Offered from the William B. Ruger Jr. Collection
- One of only two prototype Ruger automobiles produced
- Owned by the Ruger Family since new; never publicly sold
- Extraordinarily high design and build quality, with Ford 427 V-8
- Featured in the October 1970 issue of Motor Trend
- The ultimate statement from a great American engineering and motoring family
The Ruger Sports Tourer is designed as a machine for travel which completely transcends the vagaries of fashion: it is a permanent possession, like a good shotgun, a fine saddle or a handmade fly rod.
- Ruger factory brochure, 1969
It is every enthusiast’s fantasy to someday build their own automobile. William B. Ruger Sr. and Jr. had the same dream, born of a love for performance and vintage “W.O.” Bentleys. They combined both in their namesake Ruger automobile. The result of approximately 800,000 in 1969 dollars of research and development was a pair of true manufacturer’s prototypes, purpose-built from the ground up in a special shop set up for production at the Sturm, Ruger factory in Southport, Connecticut, with the best talents and minds of the time consulted. The exceptionally strong X-braced chassis was custom-built to support a specially supplied competition-specification 427-cubic-inch Ford V-8 and four-speed transmission, and wrapped with fiberglass coachwork covered in leatherette, in the fashion of the Weymann bodies of old, crowned by long aluminum fenders. The design shows the influence of both Bentley and, in the lowness of its vee’d radiator, the Rennsport Mercedes-Benzes.
No expense was spared in making the Ruger worthy of its name and ready for production for the public. That only two manufacturers’ prototypes were eventually completed was a reflection of the economy and the difficulties of putting a new car into production at any cost—not of the quality of the product. Both prototype Rugers remained with their namesake family, and the offering of this second prototype marks the first time that one has been offered for public sale.
This particular Ruger is the one road-tested for the October 1970 issue of Motor Trend. At the time of cataloguing, the well-preserved automobile showed 14,281 miles, accrued both in the hands of Mr. Ruger Sr., who is known to have taken the car on a road trip early in its life—accompanied by his Ferrari Daytona as its “chase car”—as well as William Ruger Jr., who enjoyed touring them around Maine and New Hampshire.
The Ruger is a real automobile, built for robust, modern high-speed performance. It is the ultimate tribute to a family of engineers and enthusiasts who have cared for it since new and who hope that today it passes into loving hands that appreciate it as they have. They are proud of it, as they should be.