As 1980 World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl made clear last December, Porsche is no stranger to rallying . In 1968, the German marque secured the first of three consecutive wins on the Monte Carlo Rally with the 911. In 1986, Porsche became only the second manufacturer to conquer the formidable Paris-Dakar Rally more than once. It may have taken a while, but the Porsche 911 also conquered the Safari Rally (albeit as a classic) in 2011, doing so again in 2015 and 2017. Even the Cayenne S took nine of the top ten places, including a podium lockout, at the 2008 TransSyberia Rally.
But RUF? The German producer of bespoke sports cars with a penchant for Porsche 's design cues? Yep, even they can now boast a rally-inspired sports car.
Named the 'RUF Rodeo' -- not quite, no, it's pronounced 'Roh-day-oh' -- and originally scheduled to make its global bow at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the new concept is actually inspired, not by Porsche's 911 Paris-Dakar (nee 953), but instead by the early years Estonia and Alois Ruf Jr. spent in Oklahoma. That, plus friends and RUF owners Bruce Meyer, Ralph Lauren, and Rodeo (yep) Drive Concours d'Elegance, Bruce Meyer.
Though Porsche-like in appearance, the Rodeo Concept is actually slightly more complex. At the base for example is the same carbon monocoque and front and rear steel frames that underpin the company's CTR and SCR, contemporary homages to the original 'Yellow bird'. On top lies 911-inspired bodywork, finished in two-tone "golden sand" and olive green, the latter of which draws parallels with RUF's original NATO test mule of the 1980s. The finishing touch? Various off-road accoutrement like additional headlights, a bespoke luggage wrack, chunky all-terrain tyres, and a leather-wrapped bull bar. There's even a roll cade made from lightweight steel and a shovel adorning the engine cover.
Speaking of which, details regarding the rear-mounted drivetrain are still pretty vague, RUF only confirming that the Rodeo is powered by a naturally aspirated flat-six, which boots out around 510hp, or a twin-turbo six producing 700hp. Mated to either though will be a six-speed transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
For the interior, RUF has made heavy use of chapped leather across the dashboard, saddle bags in place of door pockets, and "Navajo-inspired fabrics reminiscent of the Cowboys and Indians roaming the American southwest."
Performance figures remain to be seen, as does whether the Rodeo Concept will one day make production. We're guessing any mid-west enthusiasts with a penchant for Porsche rallying heritage and a six-figure bank balance though could well become a new RUF owner in due course.
*Images courtesy of RUF Automobile
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