Opinion: Ruf’s old guard appeals as much as ever

We’ve recently reviewed the firm’s 522kW CTR, but at half the price, the evergreen RCT is arguably even sweeter.

Ruf’s CTR Anniversary, which we recently sampled to delirious effect, is plain unforgettable, but the most popular model ever to leave Pfaffenhausen is the 964-based RCT (for ‘Ruf Carrera Turbo’).

Conceived in the early 1990s with more horsepower than the contemporary Porsche 911 Turbo, it existed in both rear- and four-wheel-drive forms and used one of Ruf’s single-turbo air-cooled 3.6-litre motors. Ruf also rebuilt the six-speed manual gearbox, installed its own limited-slip differential and upgraded the suspension.

Then, in the middle of the decade, the RCT Evo was launched, using the 993-generation 911’s ECU system to bring the car’s output from 275kW to 317kW, reduce turbo lag and smooth out the power delivery.

The wonderful thing is that, alongside the CTR and the soon-to-arrive 992-gen conversions, Ruf will still build you a pristine RCT Evo if you can supply an old 964-gen 911 (and because the body is comprehensively revitalised, almost any 964 will do).

We had a brief go in a recently finished example – one whose carbon bodywork (an optional extra that drops kerb weight 105kg to 1295kg).

He or she had yet to take delivery, but one glance at the diminutive, bullet-like silver form and cabin upholstered in soft pastel-green leather, with houndstooth for the buckets, and it’s difficult to imagine they’d have second thoughts.

On the move, the RCT’s character exists in complete contrast to that of the CTR. For one thing, it drives like a classic, albeit an exceptionally well-sorted one, with the rich sense of connection but none of the creaks or groans or mechanical ambiguity.

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It’s not housefly agile, so you need to establish a flow and in general the car’s dynamic character is very much GT, although it’s still throttle adjustable and handles like an old-school 911. There’s an enjoyable softness here, the rearward balance is unmistakable, the pedals are offset, and you get bump-steer, the nose hopping on less than glass-smooth roads. It’s utterly authentic.

However, what really sets the RCT Evo off is the life in the steering, the indelible ker-plunk of the short-shift-equipped transmission, and the engine, which isn’t especially memorable at the 6800rpm redline but is juicily torque rich and just astonishingly linear on the way up to that point.

Richard Lane

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