Dan Trent: Drooling over a Ruf BTR flatnose

24th January 2017
dan_trent_headshot.jpg Dan Trent

For a small company, Ruf has had a disproportionate impact on the way we digest fast cars. 


Ruf first came to worldwide prominence when Auto Motor und Sport test driver Stefan Roser took a CTR Yellowbird around the Nurburgring in a pair of loafers and clouds of tyre smoke. These days onboard videos, sideways supercars and the Nordschleife are motoring media staples. Back in 1987, few people had heard of Ruf or this old race track in Germany but, as the internet grew, so Roser's sideways lap in the Ruf brought both to worldwide attention. Arguably this one video set the tone for which cars would be represented on film to this very day and both Ruf and the Nurburgring became the stuff of legend.

The other big moment for the brand was when Porsche decided not to let its cars feature in Gran Turismo. Big mistake. As I've written about many times in this column, this one title has influenced a generation of gamers and now drivers, myself included. Although its cars are based on recognisable Porsche models, Ruf is classed as a manufacturer in its own right. In a stroke of genius, it exploited the fact to let Gran Turismo use the likeness of its cars, thereby granting millions of gamers access to 'Porsche' shaped vehicles bearing the Ruf brand.

The other day I called in at Bradford tuning house A Kahn Design, a controversial but highly successful company with a thriving business customising Range Rovers, Defenders, G-Wagens and Jeeps for those with tastes best described as 'unapologetic'. Upstairs the Kahn Automobile showroom has an eclectic range of cars for sale, including this rather lovely Ruf. It's up for a quarter of a million pounds which, in the current climate of mental prices for rare 911s, doesn't seem completely ridiculous. It's also rather gorgeous. 

It's funny too. Many people seem to get very cross about Kahn sticking branded wheels, bodykits and custom interiors on cars in what seems to be considered the height of vulgar excess. And yet the very same commentators will get all gooey over a flatnose Porsche 911 Turbo that's undergone exactly the same treatment, albeit by a more 'respectable' brand. Rank hypocrisy I say, this BTR demonstrating how - when done correctly - aftermarket tuning can make an already lovely car even lovelier.

Funny too, because I've never really understood the fuss about 'flachbau' 911 Turbos. But, in the metal, this Ruf is absolutely stunning. Slammed onto 17-inch Ruf wheels, the widened sills and side vents beautifully complement the already voluptuous widebody 911 lines. And inside the bucket seats, integrated cage and subtly Ruf branded touchpoints look beautifully finished.                  


Expanded from 3.3 to 3.4 litres and thoroughly reworked to include Ruf's own five-speed gearbox, the BTR is actually a far less extreme car than the CTR Yellowbird and has merely 374bhp or so compared with the rumoured 500 or so Yellowbirds were putting out.

I'm not bothered. That's enough to be going on with and this Ruf is such a stunning machine I'd absolutely love to own it. Both oddly familiar and yet so clearly ultra exotic, to find it lurking in a Bradford showroom is something I'd never thought I'd see. From fuzzy early YouTube star to pixellated videogame dream and now a reality in my own backyard, I'm a quarter of a million away from making it mine. How much would I wish that it could be… 

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