Alois Ruf Interview

Alois Ruf

Alois Ruf

In the dream factory for adults, the yellow batmobile is born

He is the drug dealer and he is consuming the drug himself: Alois Ruf makes possible the complete personalization of the sports car at RUF Automobile GmbH – and is far more than a passionate Porsche driver.

A sports car with the Porsche coat of arms on the bonnet is already a special creation. A sports car with the special signet from Pfaffenhausen however, is a completely different beast, which is well known by car connoisseurs. Only a genuine RUF is so uncompromising in its passionate commitment to the sports car. Alois Ruf, who is deep in his heart a true purist, is at the forefront of the business of producing high-performance automobiles. He has the ambition to make each vehicle so individual to the driver that it fits like a tailor-made shoe. Only that one is just a bit faster than even the best shoes …

Alois RUF interview

Somewhere outside of Ulm, in southern Bavaria, at a simple roundabout in a small market town called Pfaffenhausen. A man in trousers and check shirt strolls along the street quite. He enters a small, rather inconspicuous building next to a gas station. In the welcoming showroom he takes a seat to enjoy a Swabian pastry. “I love to eat butter cakes – even in the car,” says Alois Ruf with a mischievous smile. “I’m not so pedantic. I know people who only drive with white socks in their cars and put towels on the carpet to avoid dirtying the carpets.” This speech is not of any car. The speech is of a RUF…

Alois RUF interview

In his workshop next to a recently finished CTR3.

A life moving between motors, wheels and screws: In 1939, when his father Alois Ruf Senior founded a car factory with a workshop, a small company was established in the small town, to which a gas station was added in 1949. “Since I was able to crawl, I was in the workshop. It was not always safe,” recalls Alois Ruf. “Once I fell into the oil drum, I was pulled out and presented to my mother – so that was my baptism.” With the pioneering spirit and improvisational power of his father who courageously overcame so many challenges and to this day remains Alois Ruf’s idol, success began to grow. In the 1950’s in order to expand the business and to offer special tours on the weekend, his father in just one year produced his own tour bus. To this day, Alois Ruf recalls how impressed he was at the age of. “Achieving a lot with little means – that was his motto.” The fact that the name RUF has stood for more than half a century for the art of extracting the most potential from the best sports cars and for history making performance, is above all the known by dedicated automotive fans. Each vehicle, which bears the name RUF proudly on the hood, is like the solitaire of a very special piece of jewelry. Outstanding performance, excellent handling and uncompromising brakes form the matrix of perfectly mastered craftsmanship, which is Alois’s vision for the perfect road-bound sports car. In the dream factory for adults, as Alois Ruf calls it, many desires become motorized reality.

Alois RUF interview

Alois standing next to his desk, in a sea of memories and history.

A rare glimpse into the executive room: On the desk, a clock shows the world time. Beside the one and only keyboard lies a pocket calculator, a folding ruler, and an appointment scheduler. His wife Estonia smiles at him from a golden picture frame. From the open drawers, endless waves of papers swell. The shelf is a labyrinth of books and memorabilia. Beside it hangs the popular Pirelli calendar. Alois Ruf points to the black and white photographs of his family. “I was not exactly the best student and preferred spending time in the workshop,” the entrepreneur remembers.  “My father always said,” Boy, I do not care what marks you have. The main thing is you pass and you must be able to speak English. “So he brought the boy into contact with his anglophile friends and customers, so that he could practice speaking.”In my generation this was rare, even exotic. My far-sighted father was already very clear: whoever cannot speak English does not do business. ”

Alois RUF interview

 A body shell at the beginning of its journey.


Alois RUF interview

If he is not in his office, he is found in the workshop having a hand in each and every built.

Past the reception desk, which can be reached under the extension 911. Past the big clock, mounted on a silver-polished rim. Past the images of an 8-millimeter film, in which Alois Ruf Junior sits in a Porsche – in the middle of winter. Past the Porsche ancestral gallery on a large poster. Behind the bell-door the passage and into the sacred hallsAlois Ruf goes through into his workshops, his hands gently buried in their pockets. Onto the engine test stand and paint shop, saddlery and modern classic hall. Again and again, he stands as if he is rooted, sticking his head under a lifted chassis, or leaning far into a cockpit. As a friendly word, there is serious praise, a paternal embrace for the young worker, who is just completing a full restoration. Alois Ruf, completely modest and grounded, is here in his element. When he explains the details on the vehicles, his hands act as if they were holding the right tool and performing the work perfectly. Everywhere, the entrepreneur is valued and valued. The atmosphere is informal, the operation is just as simple as the sports cars that are created here. Wolves in sheepskin he builds, by his own admission. The technical challenges are the signs of RUF. What modifications is hidden underneath the body? What unique piece is rebuilt in the workshop? What is the development of this body? Alois Ruf and his team continue the tradition of Swabian tinkers.

Alois RUF interview

Artisan craftsman at work. 

“Building fast, fast cars. Ruf’s modified Porsche blend horsepower and tradition.” This was the title of the USA Today article in 1997. RUF soon became one of the top specialists for repairs and made a name for itself in terms of bodywork and transmission as well as engine, thanks to a coincidence in 1962 : The father – on the road in  his self-built tour bus – is overtaken by a Porsche 356. The driver loses control, rolls over two times and exits the car uninjured. It is already the third sports car that the dynamic owner puts into the road ditch. Alois Ruf Senior and junior ensure the owner is ok, and take care of the Porsche, buy the car to repair it and the sale is unexpectedly lucrative. “We had already fallen in love with Porsche at the time. Now there were good motives.

Alois RUF interview

An early 911 undergoing a restoration.



777 hp.

825 Nm Torque maximum.


3.8 liter engine.

7-speed dual clutch transmission.

Ceramic brake system.

4185 cubic centimeters Displacement.

2.34 meters wheelbase.

Ultrastable carbon fiber monocoque.

Acceleration from zero to 100 in under 3.5 seconds.

Anyone who leafs through the RUF magazine cannot believe their eyes from both the variety vehicles or the facts and figures behind these wonders. In the workshops, on the road, and from the mere data – the results are true emotion. “Our base is the best sports car in the world,” says Alois Ruf. And it is thanks to him that the Porsche 911 has survived. Because when the restructuring of the Swabian autobahn happened it caused the 911 to fall out of favour compared to the 928, the fans were horrified. “We all thought: They are crazy in Stuttgart, what a Kamikaze action.” And while the performance of the sports car was throttled at the factory, the horsepower was again returned by RUF. And a lot more. Thanks to the Pro-911 engine press, RUF became more and more in the limelight.

Alois RUF interview

Alois feels most at home in his workshop with his creations.

The man with the hint of hair, the gray temples, and the rectilinear gaze leans back relaxed, and tells that his daughter Aloisa carries the traditional first name. While his son Marcel is currently polishing the freshly washed, Indian-red RUF Rt12 in the showroom. “Marcel, from my point of view there are still a few drops of water you have to help, look at the front spoiler.” Perfection is not a question of the family level. “He is the drug dealer, and he is consuming the drug himself. This is what my wife says about me,” jokes Alois Ruf and that has a very real origin. “The Porsche is like a virus. With our products, we make it a little more bearable.”

Alois RUF interview

The yellow batmobile.

Alois Ruf stands proudly and sublime next to a bright yellow vehicle that has just returned from the being the star of the Geneva Motor Show 2017. The 2017 CTR. A man and a car, born from a common DNA. The car looks like the Batmobile from a Marvel comic. Even without the black cloak and mysterious mask, the ruler of this futuristic vehicle is clear, and that here and now no modesty is required. With the fourth generation of super sports cars from RUF, a tribute to the 1987 RUF CTR has been achieved – the coupé with the nickname “Yellow Bird”. Uncompromising aerodynamic efficiency, streamlined silhouette, wind-slippery body. A footprint that corresponds to the high performance concept. Not to forget the integrated roll cage, the carbon fiber body, the high-strength steel tubes and the uncomplicated interior. And describing the the brutal lateral forces in very long, fast curves. As Alois Ruf is telling us his story, the stories of the vehicles that have rolled into the RUF factory and completely changed always remain connected with it. Everything is intimate and inseparable. The Yellowbird: 29 original CTR cars were built, today they trade in the hands of collectors for millions of dollars. The dizzying top speed of the car made it into the computer game industry: 40 million times the yellow bird was bought virtually on the Playstation. This high level of recognition still continues today, says Alois Ruf: “When I enter the USA, the customs official asks me: Sir? Are you the guy with the Yellow Bird? My son drives this car in his game – and sometimes do too! “Alois RUF interview

Alois steps into his personal RCT EVO

Even as an operator of several power stations Ruf always has a visionary car future in mind: “One day I want to drive a vehicle – operated from Hydro power.” Until then, RUF shows how “emotions without emissions” function with the eRuf as the first electrically powered sports car from Germany. “The idea of ​​freedom makes our brand so valuable.” And so Ruf wants to keep the pole position in the future when it comes to the wonderful balance between modern technology and emotional retro-perspective. The fact that Alois Ruf in his sports car factory applies his superior technical solutions to create the ultimate driving pleasure, no one has any doubt. For finding inspiration, the company chief finds himself in one of his favorite places. “My two-seater is not so brutal,” announces Alois Ruf, as he takes his place in the dark-green 964 RCT EVO, puts on his chic sunglasses and turns rapidly into the round-about.

Alois RUF interview

Alois exits the iconic roundabout in Pfaffenhausen and applies the throttle, his smile grows bigger still.


This interview was original posted on The Hidden Champion website in German. Lovingly translated into English by yours truly. Originally written by 

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