1998 Ruf RturboTurbo R
Year of manufacture1998
- One of just 14 examples produced by RUF; believed to be one of four chassis with AWD
- Hand-built 490 hp, 3.6-liter twin turbocharged flat-six engine; six-speed manual transaxle
- Acquired from original owner in November 2019 with 36,902 miles after an 11-year storage
- Extensive mechanical refresh completed in October 2020
RUF Automobile GmbH, whether offering its a-la-carte modification regimen or hand-crafting astonishing sports cars from bodies-in-white or on bespoke chassis, has always paired incredible engineering with demanding build standards unrivaled by similar firms in the global marketplace. Within just six years of incorporation, the German government had taken notice of the superior quality of RUF’s operation, upgrading the company’s legal standing from an aftermarket tuning house to an official automobile manufacturer in 1981. Since the release of their first house-built automobile in 1983, RUF has refined each successive generation of Porsche-based products to the limits of perfection.
This black-on-black 1998 RUF Turbo R offered here is, quite possibly, the world’s ultimate air-cooled street machine. A true, original RUF Turbo R is an exceedingly rare acquisition; just 14 examples were produced by the Pfaffenhausen factory, which are distinguishable by their unique “W09” VIN prefix, and full complement of RUF-crafted modifications.
According to the accompanying RUF delivery confirmation letter, this RUF Turbo R, which retains its numbers-matching engine and gearbox, was completed and dispatched to its original owner in Southern California in May 2000. The car’s unique build specifications included an integrated roll cage, front strut brace, sports suspension, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and brake calipers finished in the company’s signature “Yellowbird” paint. The rich black leather interior is furnished with many desirable RUF fittings, including a pair of harness-ready sport seats, aluminum pedal set, steering wheel, green instrument notation, CTR2 shift knob, and yellow-logo velour floormats. The original owner also specified the fitment of front and rear bumpers sourced from the CTR2.
Additionally, this Turbo R was equipped with a RUF-modified six-speed manual transaxle that is paired with an all-wheel drive system—one of just four so-equipped examples believed to have been built by RUF. Lastly, the original, twin turbocharged 3.6-liter engine is of a special, rarely observed type: its “CTR” engine number designates it as a late-production US-market configuration homologated for US emissions compliance. Interestingly, though not noted on the delivery letter, a third oil cooler was also added at the RUF factory.
In late 2008, the original owner parked his Turbo R (then displaying 36,902 miles on the odometer) at his climate-controlled warehouse in Huntington Beach, California; this storage lasted eleven years. The very well-preserved, complete, but non-running RUF was subsequently acquired by the consignor in November 2019. After taking possession of the car, the consignor decided that an extensive recommissioning would be undertaken before a single mile was driven. The technical work began in December 2019, with the goal of returning this Turbo R back to supercar form.
In all, over 650 hours of labor were performed during the Turbo R’s recommissioning. This included thoroughly cleaning, servicing, and refreshing the fuel system, brakes, wheel bearings, driveshafts, power steering, clutch, and detailing of the front trunk, interior, undercarriage, and engine bay. The original engine was also completely rebuilt by Porsche 962 Specialist and former Andial/PMNA employee, Steve Becker of Becker Flat 6 in Hood River, Oregon. This was done with consultation from David Glenn, a Master Porsche Mechanic and former RUF employee, in Flagler Beach, Florida. While with RUF, Glenn was responsible for building the CTR “Yellowbird” engines; his correspondence with RUF technicians proved very helpful to the proper execution of this car’s engine rebuild.
A bevy of new engine parts were sourced directly from RUF, Porsche, and OEM manufacturers, including a set of German-made Mahle pistons and cylinders and pair of RUF turbochargers, along with their upgraded check-valved oil feed/return line kit. RUF also rebuilt the car’s original catalytic converter assemblies. A new set of forged connecting rods were obtained from Carrillo, while Becker also replaced all exhaust valve guides, rocker arms, lifters, gaskets, seals, timing chains, belts, filters, bearings, hoses, and sensors. Further, the original fuel injectors were cleaned and rebuilt, and a new, updated engine wiring harness was installed. The transmission was also fully refreshed and rebuilt by world-renowned Porsche transaxle specialist Bill Rader, at Bill Rader Motorsports in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The currently mounted wheels are new RUF 19-inch forged alloy units, a wheel specification shared with the exclusive Turbo R Limited (only seven units, released 2016). Shod in a fresh set of Michelin Supersport tires (245/285), they house a set of RUF-spec yellow four-piston brake calipers by Brembo paired with new OEM vented rotors and Pagid performance pads. Operating in concert with the Turbo R’s tractable, yet effortless and ferocious powerplant, the sporting chassis delivers direct response and a firm, supple ride; it seems difficult to imagine this RUF going in any direction, except that which its driver intends.
Aesthetically, the consignor wished to retain this chassis’ charming appearance with only minor refreshing as needed. The mostly original paintwork received extensive detailing and a front bumper shell respray in preparation for sale. New OEM headlight lenses and rear taillight units were fitted, and the interior received a full set of new carpets trimmed in the original specifications which were sourced from RUF supplier Lakewell of Boutersem, Belgium.
Since this extensive and meticulous recommissioning was completed in October 2020, this exclusive factory RUF Turbo R has covered approximately 550 miles. It is accompanied by its RUF delivery letter, records, spare tire, aluminum jack, tool roll, air compressor, a removable roll cage cross-brace, and two sets of keys. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az21.