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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Ruf BTR3 Cabriolet

I have to admit, I really don’t get fast convertibles. You could argue that the top down lets you hear the roar of the exhaust, I suppose. Or you could suggest that the faster the acceleration and higher the top speed, the more alive you feel as the wind rushes through your hair. It’s not that I don’t think certain fast convertibles aren’t attractive, mind you, or appealing in their own way. And some modern convertibles are downright amazing in their ability to channel the blowing atmosphere away from you. But in all honesty, once you’re above highway speeds, the expensive radio and million plus horsepower are lost upon me, obscured in a veil of churning oxygen, nitrogen, and other trace elements. Perhaps I’m in the minority and it could have to do with the not-always awesome New England weather, but I’d prefer a sunroof coupe in most applications – with some notable vintage exceptions like pre-War cars and Pagoda SLs. Of course, I suppose if you argued that you weren’t going to break the speed limit (okay, but not by much…) or head to the track, then the convertible arrangement offers you plenty of speed in for your driving pleasure and the thrill of the open-air experience. Want to know what it felt like to be the Red Baron, for example? This Ruf BTR3 Cabriolet could sure help:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Ruf BTR3 Cabriolet on Hemmings

Year: 1989
Model: BTR3 Cabriolet
Engine: 3.4 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 22,501 mi
Price: $239,888 Buy It Now

St Louis, Missouri 63119
Stock #:
EM 070233
VIN #:

Description: Exotic Motors Midwest is pleased to offer this 1989 RUF BTR 3 Cabriolet, beautifully finished in guards red over black leather. GENUINE RUF BTR 3, CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY! Genuine RUF BTR 3.4L Motor, Genuine RUF 6-Speed Gearbox and GENUINE 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet! Options and Features Include (According to RUF Certificate of authenticity): RUF 3.4L BTR Engine (374 HP), RUF 6-Speed Gearbox #R50 50 0076, RUF Instruments, RUF Boost Regulation Valve, RUF Speedline Wheel Kit, RUF Steering Wheel, RUF 4-Pipe Exhaust, RUF Front Spoiler With RUF Oil Cooler, RUF Rear Spoiler, RUF Shock Absorbers! Please call or email Craig Becker, Office (314)561-9600 Cell (314)223-4543 or [Email Dealer] for more information and details.

Price: $239,888

A low miles, late run 930 Cabriolet is already going to be a hot commodity these days, but turning up the boost to 11 is famed tuner Ruf. The BTR3 ups the flat-6 displacement and turbo pressure, resulting in the best part of 400 horsepower coupled to a 6-speed manual in this case – perhaps the first time I’ve seen an older 911 so equipped by Ruf. All of the important bits are there, like the Ruf signature mats, gauges and steering wheel, while the best elements of the 911 design are accented by the awesome Speedline Ruf wheels. That said, there’s part of me that still doesn’t get how this achieves much more driving excitement with the top down than…say a Boxster S for one tenth of the price, but the rarity of the original package coupled with the most highly sought tuner build from Ruf results in one pricey package. While it’s not my style, there’s no denying that this was the ultimate top-down expression of German speed from the 1980s.



  1. MGT
    MGT October 13, 2015

    Agreed about the fast convertible thing. Goes for prettying any fast car. Whenever I see something like an M3 vert, all I can think is that I’d rather have the coupe or sedan version. Only exception to this is the Ferrari 458.

  2. thom williams
    thom williams October 13, 2015

    As i am in STL HAPPY to do a PPI for somone< LOL

  3. Vic
    Vic October 13, 2015

    Here is the deal with convertibles – they are fun at any speed.

    If you are going to push around any modern car you are just fooling yourself if you are going to approach the vehicle’s limits safely on the roads that every school bus, kid on a bicycle, or average commuter uses along side of you. Buy a race car and head to the track if you want to find your skill level. Not preaching – just explaining why there is a huge population of people who appreciate convertibles. Plus convertibles almost always have higher resale value over their coup brethren, another argument there is a huge population of people who appreciate convertibles.

    And oh by the way – on the street a vert M3 has it al over a hard top. I have owned both and the convertible can be enjoyed every bit as much as the coup most of the time and even more when the weather is right and you can put the top down. Cheers.

  4. pmichaelg
    pmichaelg October 13, 2015

    This may be my favorite 911 from the ’80s. Still, for that money there are a boatload of other options that I would choose.

  5. Howard S
    Howard S October 13, 2015

    Back in 2002 this car had 34k miles on it which needs some explaining.

    I am not a cab guy at all. I have owned a couple dozen air cooled 911’s over the last 25 years. The only cab was a 94 Speedster. Give me the coupe anytime. In the world of 911’s and their variants the coupes draw the most money. I had an 89 Ruf 930 coupe, with the dial of death. It was a beast.

  6. MGT
    MGT October 13, 2015

    Good point. I think the fact that it snows like 7 months of the year where I live also has something to do with it.

  7. Lawrence
    Lawrence October 14, 2015

    Nice car. I’ve never heard of a RUF “Certificate of Authenticity”. If it were a BTR III it would have Motronic and 408hp. 374hp is the Std BTR with CIS. I think that this was probably a US delivered Turbo, modified by a Ruf dealer, probably in the early 1990’s.

  8. Carter
    Carter October 14, 2015

    @Lawrence, great info, thanks for sharing. Something I didn’t know.
    @Howard, similar, looks like this car has some explaining to do.
    @Kuhmos; I’ve run them on the track (V700Z, Victoracer) and they’re massively impressive and longer lasting than Hoosiers, the go-to race tire for most. I also have them, now in our 5th year, on my wife’s Subaru Outback, where they’ve generally been quiet, hard wearing yet still grippy and awesome in the rain – and still look mostly new, some 45,000 miles later, though they’re at the end of their life. But Popeye has a point that within the brand, there are exceptions. Hankook is another “budget” tire which I’ve been quite happy with on my Passat over the more standard premium Yokohamas they replaced. But some Hankooks get great reviews and others don’t. I almost bought a set of Michelins to go with the “premium” option until I read the reviews, which indicated they were really only good at going around corners and were below average in every other category.
    @Vic; generally, I agree with you, and to each their own, but I’m not sure that the convertible always being worth more is accurate, since most collector cars that we look at here and outside the German brands I can think of, the coupes are worth more; exa, 911s, M3s of all generations, B7 Audi, Clownshoes, Ferrari Daytonas just to name a few. I guess there are fewer I can think of where the vert is worth more than the other way around (Speedsters, a good example).

    Great comments, everyone – thanks!

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