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RUF Tribute – Comeback of the aircooled flat-six!

01.09.2023 By Richard Lindhorst
RUF Tribute – Comeback of the aircooled flat-six!

Different rules apply to small-series manufacturers in the automotive sector than to large corporations. And what happens when one of these small noble forges puts all its know-how from over four decades on the line? Wonderful things are created that we thought had long since died out. With the RUF Tribute, the Mindelheim based manufacturer brings a car whose ingredients read like a Porsche fan’s dream come true: carbon chassis, a 550 hp, air-cooled 3.6 liter bi-turbo engine with dual overhead camshafts and three-valve technology in the beguilingly beautiful design of the modern RUF bloodline.

Air cooling is dead. Long live air cooling!

What was considered unregistrable for over 25 years was probably more of an incentive for Alois Ruf. For the Porsche 911’s 60th birthday, the Ruf family presented the RUF Tribute at the Monterey Car Week. Like the Porsche 993 last time, it has – to the surprise of the whole automotive world – an air-cooled engine.

RUF Tribute engine
Air cooling, two overhead camshafts and three-valve technology – These are the ingredients for RUF’s latest masterpiece.

Just how serious Alois Ruf is about the engine can be seen from its key data. As the first air-cooled engine ever, it accommodates two camshafts per cylinder head. This makes a configuration with more than two valves per cylinder possible. A feat that Porsche itself never realized. RUF decided to equip the engine with two intake valves and one exhaust valve per combustion chamber. In addition, there is a variable camshaft adjustment, which at Porsche is only reserved for water-cooled engines as well.

The interaction of these technologies guarantees maximum efficiency, rev-happiness and presumably ample power reserves. As a well-known engine builder from the Porsche scene already said: “On the engine side, there is nothing better than RUF”. Speaking of power: RUF states about 550 hp. This would make the Tribute engine the most powerful air-cooled production engine in the world.

The RUF Tribute shares its chassis with the SCR and CTR Anniversary

Like its beguilingly beautiful siblings named CTR Anniversary and SCR, the RUF Tribute is based on the in-house carbon fiber monocoque. The in-house development from RUF’s Mindelheim headquarters guarantees maximum stiffness and even houses an integrated, virtually invisible safety cell. Garnished with push-rod dampers like in Formula 1 and double wishbone suspension, RUF confidently demonstrates that their vehicles test the limits of what is technically feasible.

The beautiful green showcase from Mindelheim also wears center lock wheels in the same design as the CTR Anniversary. However, on the Tribute, they’re finished in gold rather than the usual silver. The color is identical to the lettering on the door sill trims and matches the paint perfectly. Occupants in the RUF Tribute find themselves cuddled by the already iconic RUF Lollipop seats, also developed in-house, including Pepita inlays.

If and at what price the RUF Tribute will be available for purchase is not yet known

So far there is no official statement if the RUF Tribute will be offered to the public soon. Consequently, no prices are known either. But as finished and polished as the Tribute looks, it will surely not stay with the one prototype…

© RUF Automobile

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