LONG-TIME Porsche tuner Ruf has long been the master of taking the famous Stuttgart silhouettes and running away with them, but its most recent rough and tough concept is something quite unique.
The Rodeo is inspired by the “feeling of the Southwest and Navajo”, according to the company’s marketing director Estonia Ruf, as well as her “years living in Oklahoma and Kansas, and a love of off-road cars.”
She said another inspiration is the fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Well, it does have undeniable style on top of the apparent durability. Just notice its bull bar and rope, the spade attached to the hind quarters and the abundance of saddle leather.
The leather covers the steering wheel, seats and the door panels, and there’s accompanying luggage and cowboy boots made out of the stuff. Accenting the swathes of tan in the cabin are Navajo-inspired fabrics, “reminiscent of the Cowboys and Indians roaming the southwest.”
If all of that gives the impression that the Rodeo is about as quick as an ageing horse, however, you’re mistaken. The Rodeo is still very much a sports car, and while we don’t know too many of the technical specifications, the standard version is four wheel drive with a 4-litre 493bhp engine, while a turbo model boasts 641bhp. Both the standard and turbo engines are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
There’s also a control to fine-tune the power distributed between the front and rear wheels to your requirements.
A lot of what isn’t made from saddle leather is made from carbon fibre, with the car sharing Ruf’s new generation chassis with the SCR and CTR anniversary models. The chassis is also active, adjusting the roll angle in fast bends. To make it more off-road friendly, however, Ruf has raised the car and given it suspension better suited to long journeys.
Estonia Ruf said that the company had fun making this car. “This is supposed to put a smile on your face,” she added. Between the styling and the few stats we have, it sounds like it will be, if and when it enters production.
The Rodeo was meant to appear at the Geneva Motor Show, though that was cancelled due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Appearing alongside the Rodeo was to be the production version of the SCR, which has now also been unveiled by Ruf. Reports put the price of the SCR at around $800,000 (£620,000), which isn’t surprising when you realise that, despite its resemblance to a 911, there are no Porsche components in the Rufs, with every element being completely bespoke.
There’s no indication of how much the Rodeo will cost if it does enter production, but that should give you some kind of indication.