It seems like I’m often talking about what the best performance deal going in German cars is. That’s partially because I’m not partial to paying the “what’s new” tax on the biggest and baddest new car. Personally, I’d prefer to let someone else take the substantial depreciation hit and when it’s no longer new, swoop in for what’s still (to me) a pretty new car in good shape. The other part, though, is that I’m not flush with cash; perhaps if I had limitless resources I’d be at the Porsche or Audi dealership every other year signing on a new car. Regardless, there’s a huge contingent of our readership that I believe is in a similar situation to me – hence why we tend to look at older, more affordable (most of the time) models that represent good value, performance or collectability for a more modest investment. That brings us to the car at hand; in this post’s case, a 2005 Porsche Boxster. 2005 was early into the 987 production, having replaced the 986 in 2004. By most peoples’ measure, the 987 was a better looking car, mimicking many of the styling cues of the 997 as the 986 had mimicked the 996. Performance was also improved from some new motors, including an upgraded 3.4 liter engine in the S producing nearly 300 horsepower. That motor, however, did not appear until 2007 – meaning the top-tier S model in 2005 still had the 3.2 from the 986 sitting in the middle of the car. That motor was good for 276 horsepower, which by no means was a small amount. For some people it simply wasn’t enough though, and as expected German super-tuner Ruf offered the solution. The modified Boxsters went by the names of their engine displacement; in the 986, there was the 3400S, which was replaced by the 3600S. When Porsche introduced the 987, Ruf responded with the limited run RK Spyder and Coupe with a supercharged 3.8 liter flat six good for an astonishing 440 horsepower. That was in turn replaced by the 3800S, which it still available. With the newest edition of the 3.8 flat six producing over 400 horsepower (more than double what the Boxster had at launch), Ruf turned the entry level Porsche into a supercar killer:
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In the world of Porsche tuners, Ruf may be the name that is most hallowed. The company made its name long ago by taking cars with already excellent performance and turning everything up, in some cases way up. While they have begun to branch out their early work began with the 911 and here we have the model that began the madness: the Ruf BTR. Using Porsche’s already prodigiously powered 930, Ruf bored the engine to raise displacement to 3.4 liters and then raised the turbo pressure to increase output to 374 hp. But these were never intended to be cars simply producing more power. The braking and suspension setups were improved, aerodynamic aids fitted, and the interior outfitted to meet a customer’s specifications. All together you had a car instantly recognizable as a 911, but with enough visual cues to make clear it was not any old model. These were special. The example here is a 1986 Ruf BTR II, located in Ohio, with 67,200 miles on it.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Ruf BTR II on eBay
It is not hugely surprising that the RWB 993 was a bit polarizing; understandable given the now near cult-status of the 993 and the extreme crafting of the body. Today I have a different modified 993 to look at; this time, instead of a Carrera 2 we’re looking at a 911 Turbo that has been externally modified to look like a Ruf but it’s no poser with a claimed 659 rear wheel horsepower. Is this sacrilegious too, or are the modifications just right here?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay
Just as AMG is synonymous with early tuned Mercedes-Benz models, Ruf seems to be inseparable from the Porsche 930. It’s almost cliche to upgrade the 911 Turbo to Ruf specs; but they’re the go-to tuner for all things air-cooled. But for every Yellowbird that an enthusiast wishes they had created, there are many more pretenders that bolt on some Ruf parts and claim they’re Ruf-converted cars. Does that make them more valuable? Probably not, in general – faster, yes, but as we saw with last week’s 1979 930, although well executed more people are looking for either real Ruf cars or all-original examples. Today I have another two “Ruf” cars to face off – which wears the mods better and which is a better deal?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Porsche 930 Slantnose on eBay
For all of the crazy tuner modified cars of the 1980s, there were very few that came out the other side looking better than what the factory produced. However, I think two tuners consistently managed to outperform what came directly from the manufacturer. Alpina is one; the subtle spoilers, large but somehow fitting stripes and perfect wheels always make those models modified by the exclusive tuner really stand out. The second for me is Ruf; it’s simply amazing what just a set of Ruf Speedline wheels can do. It is literally as if the 930 shape was made specifically to match those wheels – not the other way around. You can add in the other Ruf bits, ducts and pieces and really make a masterpiece; but the wheels almost make the car special all by themselves. Of course, if you happen to have a bunch of other period-awesome modifications from top companies, that doesn’t hurt either: