Friday, October 16, 2015

RUF Automobile parts available in Northeast North America

Ruf Automobile GmbH
RUF Automobile GmbH, Pfaffenhausen, Germany, builds high-end, high-performance, bespoke automobiles, all of which have some roots in various models from Porsche. However, it is considered to be an independent vehicle manufacturer by the German government, because Porsche is simply one of Ruf's many suppliers, plus Ruf designs its own version of virtually every component one could find in a car. It's just that some big ones start life at the Porsche works, but Ruf even uses V-8 engines of its own design, so they are independent. That said, a lot of their cars look like unusual Porsches, because bodies (without VIN numbers) are some of the parts they buy but modify.

In any case, high-performance is Ruf's main focus. They will also restore your 356A to totally original condition, or modify any model or year of Porsche car that a customer possesses. I don't know how many customer cars Ruf rebuilds, or re-imagines, but built from-the-ground-up cars carrying the RUF logo on them, instead of Porsche, number around 30 per year. Pretty rare. Likely there are more cars 'tuned' by Ruf on the road than there are full-on Ruf named cars out there.

All RUF stuff.
So, what happens to all of the mostly brand-new Porsche parts that Ruf removes from cars it is modifying? Interestingly, shipping containers full of them show up at a small business in rural Quebec. Genuine Ruf parts show up there also, plus that business can get you any additional Ruf parts you might want, too. 

A set of four wheels, carbon fiber, from a GT-3.

Need a GT-3 exhaust system, or some 991 brake calipers and rotors, or Boxster fenders, or a complete set of carbon-fiber GT-3 wheels, or a variety of other Porsche wheels complete with tires on them, and on, and on? I also saw Ruf wheels, Ruf bumpers, Ruf rear wings, Ruf steering wheels, and Ruf carbon-fiber body panels, etc., surplus to their needs, I guess, or else they changed the design, whatever.

Ruf stuff doesn't come at a downmarket price, because it is some of the best out there. Ruf cars outperform Porsche cars, but Ruf describes that their main objectives include longevity of their products, and the contentment of the inhabitants of their cars. The Ruf CTR-3 will whisk you along at 380 kms per hour in air-conditioned comfort.

You can't go down to your friendly neighborhood Ruf dealer in order to have a look at their cars and kick the tires. There are only eight places on the planet Earth where you can order a Ruf car. One in North America (soon to be two when a dealership opens in Vancouver), one in South America, one in Europe, and five in Asia. Interesting. I guess we see where the money is these days.

Need calipers? I think the RUF ones have been used. Possibly take-offs from an upgrade.

But, not spending too much money is the name of the game at the small business in rural Quebec. You see, although parts may be new, when they are removed from a production Porsche they become "used", or one might say "new-used". So, the parts are imported as used parts with a lower tariff, and they are sold with used part prices. I saw a PDK transmission with 70 kms on it. New in my book, but for sale as a used part. Evidently the Ruf customer wanted a manual trans, so the PDK came out of the car.

PDK. "Used" 70 kms.
The rare places where you can order a Ruf car are suitably high-end establishments that are appropriate to the extreme nature of the cars, both in performance and price. So, what is a small concern in the boonies of Quebec doing with all of these fancy parts?

The answer is family. Alois Ruf Jr. is the son of Alois Sr., who founded his business in 1939 as 'Auto Ruf'. Jr. is the CEO of RUF Automobile GmbH, today's metamorphosis of that company. Mr. Ruf Jr., being a normal human being, has relatives. Around the corner from my house, approximately, is the home of Alois' niece and her husband. This lucky husband has a special arrangement with Alois in Pfaffenhausen. Basically, the deal is this: Ruf has parts it doesn't need and can't easily sell in Germany for various bureaucratic reasons, so it ships them here for sale as used parts. Everybody wins.

Tires, with Porsche wheels in them. Take-offs.
 Keep in mind that the dealer here does not operate an 'official' distributorship of Ruf inventory, because these are not parts that Ruf is in the business to sell. Therefore, Ruf and Porsche parts, cheap, so to speak. If you email Ruf in Germany, an employee will answer that you should contact one of its dealers for Ruf parts. Okay, but this is a different situation. It's a relative bargain.

What's the difference between this place and a 'Porsche dismantler' elsewhere? Dismantlers, as a pretty fixed rule, take apart cars that have been wrecked; or maybe someone blew the engine; or the car is sad and old, but it has usable parts; or it was in a fire and the front half is still good; etc. The place I'm talking about sells new - or very near to new - parts that have zero or slight use. This is interesting. I have no affiliation with this business, too bad for me. If the pictures look rough, that's because this is not a storefront. Sales are via the Web. Click any photo to enlarge.

The business's name is initially confusing, and the website needs work, but if you want more information, here's the business card:

P.S.  I just checked this website and it was down, so I telephoned Eric and he will check into it and get it running again. While on the phone he mentioned that he is now selling Viper cars and parts on the site, in addition to Ruf and Porsche parts. Cool.

Update:  The website is working now.


Of no use to Ruf, but you might want it.

Or, perhaps you prefer another recent Porsche wing . . .
Unloading a shipping container. Porsche wheels and tires, exhaust systems, RUF bumpers. Etc.