“The non-assisted steering is pure old school 911, writhing gently in
your hands as you conduct this totally analogue car down the road. With its
wide track, Goldfinger corners very flat, and the revised front and rear aero
arrangements make for improved stability at speed. However, the real attraction
of Goldfinger is its delicious combination of old and new 911 visual attributes
that are a testament to the imagination of its owner and Ruf’s ability to
realise his dream.” A writer from 9tro magazine enjoys an
exclusive early drive in ‘Goldfinger’
The famous Pfaffenhausen company Ruf Automobile GmbH was founded by the current owner’s father (also Alois) in 1939. The town in Bavaria is some 150km south east of Zuffenhausen, the home of Porsche. Alois Snr had been servicing and repairing Porsches since 1960, but it was his son who developed the idea of individualisation and upgrades in the 1970s. Since than the name Ruf has been synonymous with the marque’s cult and sometimes quirky rear-engined sports cars. From simply looking after, upgrading and tuning 911s, the company developed into a manufacturer in its own right in 1981.
The car that really put Alois Ruf Jnr on the map and served as the benchmark for all future Ruf 911s was the 1987-1991 CTR, best known as the ‘Yellowbird’, the fastest car in the world until the arrival of the McLaren F1. The small 911, its roof rain gutter removed for extra streamlining and with many panels in alloy or composite materials, packed a 500bhp roadgoing Porsche 962 engine mated to a Ruf-designed and built five-speed gearbox (as Porsche’s own unit could not handle the power). The 1989 video ‘Faszination on the Nürburgring’, featuring Auto Motor & Sport test driver Stefan Roser at the wheel of a Yellowbird, helped create the Ruf legend.
Since then, a
queue of serious Porsche connoisseurs who only want the best has formed at the
gates of the company’s Mindelheimer Strasse 21, Pfaffenhausen HQ. Clients can
order an all-new, 700bhp+ version of the famous CTR with carbonfibre bodyshell
and monocoque chassis, commission a restoration of a classic 911 (Roser has his
own ’73 Carrera RS there) or choose a middle way: ask the experts at Ruf to let
their creative engineering juices flow to build a very modern, very Ruf take on
a classic 911.
The car you see
here is just such an example. A ‘let’s just do it’, no-expense-spared mix of
1980s styling and state-of-the-art engineering, all completed the only way Ruf
knows: to absolute perfection. The result is ‘Goldfinger’.
Ruf Porsche 3.4 ‘Goldfinger’
The idea came
from our client, a long-standing customer of Porsche Exclusive and other
brands’ bespoke commissioning departments. At some stage the manufacturers,
working within rigid corporate guidelines, generally said “no” to more extreme
requests. There was only so much they could do. The answer clearly lay with Ruf
where, as Alois Ruf’s son Marcel explains, “We do not say ‘no’ to a new idea.
Rather, we calculate if it can be achieved, and if it can then how much it will
A plot was
hatched. Our client is a serious Porschephile with a garage that includes a 918
Spyder, Carrera GT, GT2 RS and 911R, 356 and 550 Spyder. He’d owned new 911s
and now wanted “a reliable new-old classic 911 with real one-off character.” He
felt the analogue feel of the 1980s G-Series model would be a good basis for
A donor car was
found in Sweden, bought (c. €80,000) and driven the 1,100km from Malmö to
southern Germany in one go. The journey took 16 hours. Once at Ruf, the
technicians stripped the car down, taking off the rain gutters to give it the
trademark clean Ruf look – and a few extra mph in top speed. The 1987 Porsche
Carrera donor already carried RSR-type bodywork, so the decision was taken to
retain the appearance of the wide rear arches and 1974 3.0-litre RSR front
bumper with central oil cooler. New metalwork replaced the rough modifications
found on the car and an integrated roll cage was fabricated and fitted. At the
rear, a Ruf bumper with rear parking sensors was installed to accommodate the
new custom Ruf exhaust. Rather than adding a fixed ‘whale tail’ from the
period, Ruf opted to artfully incorporate a retractable spoiler from a later
964, one that rises and falls at a certain speed, thus preserving the classic
the car was given multiple coats of Lime Gold metallic, a colour from the 991
generation Porsche palette. It was at that time that Marcel Ruf started to
refer to the car as ‘Goldfinger’, and the name stuck.
Alcantara headlining matched the exterior and heated carbonfibre bucket seats
were covered in brown water buffalo leather with brown/white Pepita fabric
centre panels. The rears were removed completely, replaced by a fabricated
wooden box to carry soft luggage. The flat area above the box can support two
small suitcases. A retro-look Ruf entertainment system was fitted to the
standard DIN-size slot in the dashboard offering radio (FM/DAB), navigation,
Bluetooth hands-free and iPhone/USB connectors for charging and playing music.
A new, more modern heating and air-conditioning system was built in at the same
In parallel to
the work on the bodyshell and interior, the 3.2 Carrera engine was stripped
down and rebuilt as a 3.4, the classic Ruf conversion for normally aspirated
G-Series 911s. Coupled with a new, freer breathing exhaust, power was increased
to 270bhp. The G50 five-speed was good enough for the job but the standard
clutch was swapped out for a fast-road/competition version. The suspension was
upgraded with new in-house dampers; the braking system of the Ruf CTR –
large-diameter drilled vented discs, uprated calipers and adjustable brake
balance – was imported complete. Goldfinger was designed for fast daily road
use – not a bumpy track-only machine.
The rack was
left non-assisted as the owner and engineers at Ruf wanted to keep the
authentic 911 driving experience of a steering wheel ‘speaking’ to the driver,
who will look over Ruf dials set in the dashboard. The exhaust has a classic
tuned 911 note.
sum was invested in the one-off set of 17in alloy Fuchs-style wheels, nine
inches wide at the front, ten inches at the rear. The special offset on the
latter was required for the wider rear arches, and the wheels were shod with
235/40ZR17 (front) and 255/40ZR17 (rear) Toyo Proxes high-performance tyres.
up-to-date LED lighting system gave Goldfinger 24/7 practicality – the car was
intended as a fast, exciting yet usable car for touring; it deserved improved
candlepower to match its enhanced horsepower.
The work was
completed in summer 2018 at a cost of €396,099.09 (incl. tax but excluding c.
€80,000 donor car). Since then, the owner has covered some 1,800km.
‘backdated’ conversions with lead times running into years, Goldfinger is
available for immediate enjoyment. Light, powerful and hand-built, this Carrera
3.4 is the 24-carat gold standard of Porsches rebuilt by the master-engineers