Why the Ruf roof rack on the new Rodeo concept is a design paradox

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custom porsche 911 front three-quarter RUF Automobile

In 1987, the new Ruf CTR did 211 mph at Volkswagen’s Ehra Lessien test track. That was partly thanks to its 520-horsepower twin-turbo engine and partly because Alois Ruf decided to shave off the drip rails from its 911-based body, which made the CTR sleeker than any supercar of that era.

Porsche has been doing this surgery on its 935 race cars since 1976, but for obvious weather-related reasons, wouldn’t apply the trick to its road-going 911s. This left Ruf with a design solution that not only improves drag, but also makes the cars coming from Pfaffenhausen instantly distinguishable from the series production Porsche models of Zuffenhausen.

porsche 911 rear three-quarter
Máté Petrány
porsche 911 rear side-view
Máté Petrány

Ruf’s latest models, the 510-horsepower naturally-aspirated SCR and the 700-horsepower twin-turbo CTR, are both built around a new carbon-fiber tub, with a carbon-fiber body designed by Freeman Thomas, father of the original Audi TT. This green example is the first production SCR, a perfect example of how Ruf keeps its cars’ footprint as compact as in the old days, with a self-made six-speed and still no drip rails in sight.

custom porsche 911 front three-quarter
RUF Automobile
custom porsche 911 side-view
RUF Automobile

custom porsche 911 engine closeup
RUF Automobile
custom porsche 911 pedals closeup
RUF Automobile

However, for 2020, Ruf also came up with a concept called the Rodeo, which is a Western-inspired desert stormer created without any input from Freeman Thomas. And while it’s still based on the same carbon body, the Rodeo comes with, of all things, a shovel and a roof rack

Roof racks are mounted to rain gutters, and since Rufs just don’t feature those, this new all-wheel drive Rodeo may come with more holes drilled into its roof than one might prefer. After all, every design decision comes at some cost.

porsche 911 off-road and horse with rider face to face
RUF Automobile
custom off-road porsche 911 elevated front three-quarter
RUF Automobile
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