Monterey | Lot 225
1998 RUF Turbo R Limited
$912,500 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
25 August 2018
- One of only seven built
- Offered by the original owner
- Fewer than 140 miles recorded
- Astonishing performance and handling
- Incredible lightweight carbon fiber bodywork
There are Porsches . . . and then there are RUFs, which are in fact not Porsches. RUF is one of just a few German auto companies that have won the right to be called an independent manufacturer rather than simply a high-end tuner, winning that recognition in 1981. By 1988, RUF had secured similar recognition by both the NHTSA and EPA, and its cars could legally be offered in the U.S.
RUF Automobiles convert bodies-in-white from Porsche which have not yet been assigned a factory VIN and create their own supercars in small volume. These chassis are then assigned RUF’s own identification numbers and are completed using house-designed and produced mechanical components and lightweight body panels. RUF also converts factory-built, client-owned Porsches to its own incredibly high standard.
The business was founded in Pfaffenhausen just before World War II by Alois Ruf Sr. as an automotive service shop. After his father’s passing in 1974, Alois Ruf Jr. indulged his passion for the Porsche 911 by finding ways to make them faster. RUF began experimenting with the Porsche 930 Turbo soon after it was introduced in 1975. RUF’s first full conversion appeared in 1977, and the company steadily upped its game.
In 1987 RUF introduced the shocking CTR. This beast achieved cult status in the Porsche community after it showed up at a special competition staged by Road & Track magazine at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. R&T wanted to determine the “fastest car in the world.” After achieving a maximum speed of 211 mph, this deceptively stock-appearing but very low-drag Porsche 911 twin-turbo blew all the other would-be contestants, including the Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Countach and Diablo, and various other “Tuner” Porsches, into the weeds. And thus the title was claimed and the RUF CTR was promptly dubbed “Yellow Bird” by R&T photographer John Lamm.
The following year, the CTR pushed the record to 213 mph; a newer version later tripped the clocks at 217, a record that stood until 1998. The concept has steadily evolved; the newest design, the CTR4, was introduced last year at the Geneva Motor Show.
RUF’s Turbo R Limited is based on the 408-bhp Type 993 Turbo, Porsche’s last iteration of the air-cooled 911. RUF purchased seven new 993 Turbo bodies-in-white from the factory before the original tooling was destroyed and put them aside for future development. They became a starting point to create what might be the most fearsome air-cooled street-legal machines on the planet. Each of the seven was unique, crafted to the specification of its purchaser, thus the designation “Limited.”
Offered here is the very first of that series, delivered to its American owner in late 2017 after it was test-driven and became the cover feature for the December 2017 issue of Excellence. Finished in gleaming Irish Green with a black leather and Alcantara interior, this Turbo R Limited was the first “Limited” to be fitted with full carbon-fiber bodywork, which brings its weight down to about 2,950 lbs., or about 130 less than the current 991 GT3. Fitted with a RUF-modified air-cooled and twin-turbocharged/intercooled boxer six developing a hearty 620 bhp at 6,800 rpm and 553 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500, its horsepower-to-weight ratio of 4.8 is better than that of Porsche’s famed Carrera GT. For reliability, this force-fed engine retains a modest 8.0:1 compression ratio. The sequential multi-point fuel injection system, ignition, and boost are managed by a Bosch Motronic engine control unit (ECU) with custom mapping developed by RUF’s in-house engineers. Power is delivered to both ends of this incredible car via a six-speed manual transmission.
Along with a fixed rear wing to reduce lift, the Turbo R Limited wears special RUF front and rear fascias with vents ahead of and behind the wheels. The interior features a pair of leather and Alcantara-trimmed carbon fiber bucket seats, lightweight door cards, and extensive carbon fiber trim. For driver safety, a fully integrated roll cage is installed which stiffens the chassis by 20 percent. It too is leather trimmed and fits so well that it is almost invisible at first glance. Of course, there is air conditioning, electric windows, and an entertainment system.
Underneath, the Turbo R Limited is fitted with a highly modified suspension with GT2 rear bushings, stiffer engine-cradle components, huge disc brakes – 15-in. front, ventilated and cross-drilled with six-piston calipers; 13.8-in. rear, four-piston, slotted and ventilated – hidden behind RUF’s trademark light-alloy wheels, sized 8.5 and 10J × 19 and shod with Michelin tires sized 245/35ZR-19 and 285/30ZR-19, respectively.
This incredible RUF is capable of stunning acceleration, handling, and braking, as demonstrated in the Excellence magazine shakedown, and best of all, it is essentially brand new. After the magazine test, it was shipped to its first and only American owner and has accrued just a few miles since. The odometer reads a total of just 140 miles!
The Turbo R Limited was created to be RUF’s “halo car” and is the ultimate air-cooled automobile. This magnificent example is supplied in as-delivered condition, complete with all factory and RUF documentation, original spare, jack, and tools. Also included are a pair of special “RUF Pit Jackets” and the proper RUF car cover.