Home » The RUF Rt 12 Coupe Is A Wolf Clothed Like A Very Aggressive Sheep

The RUF Rt 12 Coupe Is A Wolf Clothed Like A Very Aggressive Sheep

Ruf Rt 12 Ts
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People always say the Porsche 911 is the easy choice—that 911s are everywhere, and if you buy one, you’re just another 911 guy. But I firmly believe that if you’re not a Porsche 911 guy, you just haven’t driven one yet. 

The RUF RT12 is the extreme version of that.

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This 2007 RUF RT12  is currently available for sale on Cars & Bids. Check it out and bid here

The RT12 looks like a 911, and to a degree, it is. (If you’re not yet a Porsche 911 person and need a little guidance to follow all the numbers and names I’m about to throw at you, please check this and this.)

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RUF debuted the RT12 at the beginning of the 997-generation Porsche 911, which arrived after the 996 and ran from 2004 to 2011. Since new generations of sports cars usually start with base versions and get more extreme as the years go on, there wasn’t a 500-horsepower 997 Turbo in those early years. The RT12 offered a 997-style body with a 650-horsepower version of the 996 Turbo’s engine, making it a quasi-997 Turbo for those who didn’t want to wait. 

But it wasn’t just an early 997 Turbo. RUF customizes and manufactures cars, meaning essential pieces of the RT12—like its body panels and transmission—are from RUF itself. The RT12’s six-speed manual is notchy and robotic, and its nose dives deep toward the ground. I first saw the RT12 in a showroom full of Porsches, and its front lip looked lower than that of a powder-blue 911 GT2 RS nearby.

The RT12 I drove cost in the mid-$300,000s new, and it has a RUF six-speed manual, all-wheel drive, carbon-ceramic brakes, a hydraulic nose lift, and more. I’m told it makes way more than the quoted 650 horsepower, and I believe it.

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The showroom selling it, HCC Specialty Cars, told me how mean it was before I drove it: The clutch is heavy, the car wants to drive high speeds instead of low, and it wants to be fed serious gas to go into first gear. 

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I found it friendlier than expected. It got along just fine at low speeds, and once I was in the car, it had that classic 911 feeling: plenty of headroom, legroom, and body room, while centering the driving experience and the sight lines on me, the driver. The car encased me so well that I actually forgot how low it was to the ground; it just felt normal, and with sporadic uses of the nose-lift function, it never scraped. 

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The shifter notched and clunked into each gear like a piece of heavy but agreeable machinery. The thunk, thunk was satisfying with each shift, and the car could ease or bolt forward at my command. 

Turbocharged cars often have a noticeable thing called turbo lag, where after you floor the car, you wait for the turbos to spool up before you get that extra burst of power. I’ve never understood complaints about turbo lag, and I especially don’t in this car—when the boost kicked in, the car shot forward. It felt like we were going to space, together. 

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My only complaint about the RT12 is minor: The nose lift automatically goes down at 20 mph instead of a slightly higher speed, meaning when you’re driving in the neighborhood, you often have to use the lift several times to go over elevation changes instead of keeping it lifted. But that’s something you get used to with time. I got used to it after about 10 minutes. 

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These days, RUF is among the likes of RWB and Singer Vehicle Design in the world of famous Porsche-adjacent companies. The company offers ultra-customization, and one of its reps, Marc Pfeifer, told me only about 60 total cars were built in the RT12 lineup. But RUF wasn’t always in the Porsche business. 

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The company began as a service station in a rural German town called Pfaffenhausen in 1939, run by a man named Alois Ruf Sr. and his family. Aloisa Ruf, his granddaughter, recently told the company’s story to Motor Trend

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She said Alois Ruf Sr. built a bus to transport Pfaffenhausen residents to major cities, and one day, a Porsche 356 zoomed past. Alois Ruf Jr., Aloisa’s father, was a little kid at the time, and he was obsessed with the car’s speed. 

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The 356 lost control and crashed, so Aloisa said her father and grandfather took the driver to the hospital. The driver was fine, and they offered to buy the wrecked car from him to fix it up. He agreed, and that set Ruf on the Porsche path. 

The successor to the 356 was, of course, the 911. 

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In 1977, RUF was modifying 930-era Turbos to make more power, and in 1987, the company got its big break. It came with a car nicknamed the “Yellowbird,” and actually called the RUF CTR. The CTR showed up to Road & Track Magazine’s top-speed shootout that year, which took place at Volkswagen’s 15.5-mile German test track in Ehra-Lessien.

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The photos from the test are rainy and dreary, featuring famous supercars like the Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach. Among them, there’s a little car that looks like the offspring of a Porsche 911 and a rubber duck. That little duck hit 211 mph, winning the magazine’s  “world’s fastest car” competition and getting a cover story from it. 

The Yellowbird had a RUF badge and a RUF VIN number because Germany certified the company as a manufacturer, meaning that for a time, it was the fastest production car in the world. After the car hit 211 mph, the RUF group told Road & Track: “We could make it go faster, but there’s not much purpose in a road car going very much faster.”

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Pfeifer told me the goal with a RUF is for it to be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and it is. To everyone around me, I was driving a normal Porsche 911, not an RT12. But to those who knew, it was special. 

The RT12 is a high-dollar supercar for when you don’t want the attention and exhaustion that comes with a high-dollar supercar—and sometimes, that’s the ideal supercar to drive.

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This 2007 RUF RT12  is currently available for sale on Cars & Bids. Check it out and bid here

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Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
2 months ago

The price for that porsche is a little too RUF for me.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
2 months ago

Whoa, it’s in Dallas. People have too much money in Dallas. Given what barely running Suzuki Samurai’s with no interiors sell for in Dallas, this will go high.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

I loved how geeked out she gets over the nose lift.

From a nearby part of the video: headroom *sob*, tell me more fantastical stories.

Finally: that enamelly white on the seats, good lord. It looks like freshly harvested stormtrooper shells, expertly polished to mirror finish.

Pointy Deity
Pointy Deity
2 months ago

I’ve driven 911s old and new on street and track and I just don’t care for them or their snobby community. I beat the entire local Porsche club at autocross (quite badly too) with my cheaply modded 350Z, so who needs to waste all that money?

Nice to see Alanis King here though! Now you guys just need to get Fancy Kristen back from MotorTrend and it’ll be just like good ole’ Jalopnik before it turned into total poo.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pointy Deity
Amorphis
Amorphis
2 months ago

I loved the line “It felt like we were going to space, together.” 🙂

I vividly remember that 1987 issue of R&T. That (and my grandfather who started handing his car magazines down to me) is what got me into cars.

Last edited 2 months ago by Amorphis
Redfoxiii
Redfoxiii
2 months ago

Good to see all the retired jenoptik writers popping in.

Also, given the cars and bids link, is the Autopian getting a bite of Big Daddy Doug’s prosperity?

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
2 months ago
Reply to  Redfoxiii

I suspect that more than one or two of Doug’s buddies are wanderiing around here…

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
2 months ago

I think that RUF and Alpina are masters in making better versions of cars that are already really good. RUF is special because they have a more subtle design that doesn’t call immediately a custom Porsche, like a RWB or Gemballa.

Singer does wonderful restomods, but in my opinion, RUF is the right choice if want something above the normal for a modern Porsche.

Great article, video and car. WIsh I could bid on it.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
2 months ago

Enjoyed the vid and the article. Only question left was it scarier to drive than a RHD Suzuki Cappuccino?

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Loved the RUF Yellowbird in GT3: on street tires (mode? It’s been awhile) it was almost uncontrollable. But mastering that made you way better at the game.

Wonderful backstory that they started with a wrecked 356!

Sandshadow
Sandshadow
3 months ago

Isn’t turbo lag largely addressed with twin turbos? I thought they were tuned to make boost at different rpms.
I had an early 80s Yamaha Seca 650 turbo motorcycle and it was pretty slow off the line. It weighed as much as an 1100 but had no real extra power from the turbo until it hit ~4500 rpms. It was a blast riding up mountain passes though.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
3 months ago
Reply to  Sandshadow

I was describing the Blackwing to my gf, trying to remember if it has two turbos, and then hit me that I don’t know if “twin” turbos is really different from bi-turbo. I assume twin is two identical turbos and bi is two heterogenous turbos, likely one smaller and one larger, but I think I fell asleep after that

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

Once, while dining at a seafood restaurant in Marseille, I ordered the special of the day. An hour later, I still didn’t have my meal and everyone else at the table was eating. I asked the waiter what was taking so long. He looked at me, then with a perfectly straight face said, “Apologies, we are experiencing turbot lag.” I could’ve been irritated but he delivered the line perfectly and that broke me up. The turbot was worth the wait and we got free wine, so all good.

In a related note, the fish name apparently has the same Latin etymology as turbo, meaning spinning top.

Also, a 911 kind of looks like a turbot.

Fun article, hope to see more.

Is Travis
Is Travis
3 months ago

You guys have nearly wrangled all the old site folks, that is awesome.

Church
Church
2 months ago
Reply to  Is Travis

Fancy Kristen when? But yeah, love that the band is back to together.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago
Reply to  Church

The feels came at me by surprise but your comment gave me the hint of someone cutting onions nearby. I didn’t realize how deeply I missed the people, the characters, the jokes, and the community (even though I was a big lurker back then) until right this instant.

This place continues to impress and amaze me, and it feels like something special. The deeply researched RV articles, the wrenching, the motorcycle coverage, the fancy and special guests that read like a who’s who of the voices that lead me deeper into car culture. The love letters to brands I otherwise mostly regard with indifference or never knew existed (hello, Buell), the cell phone photos of Subaru skid plates, the bad buys to the huge gets, everything from news to literal nuts and bolts. And Torch, may his various hoses and ducts remain intact so his voice can ring out the rich amber light we need in these dark times.

When I get a job again I’m subscribing, no question… provided I don’t spend my severance on Bring A Trailer, or a damned ECU for this damned barometric pressure sensor on the Z4, or or or…

Frederick Tanujaya
Frederick Tanujaya
3 months ago

Especially the CTR3, my Favorite RUF! They literally took a cayman and made it a “cheaper” CGT!

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
3 months ago

I will read the article, I promise but I would like to point out that aggressive sheep are much more worrying than Wolves.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

It’s always a bad time when the sheep get a little too ruf.

Delta 88
Delta 88
2 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

There are a lot of concerning implications in this comment

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
2 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

If the rams and the dams think you are threatening the lambs… Well…

You are likely to be the butt of a few intrusive interrogatories.

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