As far as first-car stories go, this one is right up there with the best of them.
Every car has a story to tell, but the sixth example of the Porsche 901 that has intimate links to the Ruf family has a story that's quite exceptional - at least, in terms of how its origins unfolded years after first landing in the hands of Alois Ruf, the son of Alois Ruf Senior who is the founder of RUF. The RUF company, of course, has been manufacturing modified Porsche 911s for decades.
This sixth Porsche 901 was thought to have been lost, but for over half a century, it's been owned by Alois Ruf after his father gifted the car to him as a teenager for his 19th birthday. But five years prior, Ruf Junior spotted a blue Porsche 901 on the Autobahn, which is when his Porsche obsession began.
Could there be a link between this blue 901 and the one he still owned over 50 years later?
"We were very impressed," said Ruf Jr. when talking about seeing that blue 901. "Now I know it was the first Porsche of that kind I had ever seen. Or heard. Crazy!"
The 901 was the original name given to the 911, before Peugeot intervened because it had several numerically-named models of its own with a zero in the middle of the name. The 901 clashed with this, so Porsche renamed it as the 911.
Ruf Jr.'s father then purchased his son a slightly accident damaged Porsche for his 19th birthday in 1969, which allowed him to work on something and eventually drive it himself once he obtained his driver's license.
"Because the previous owner had held on to the six-cylinder engine, we installed the four-cylinder of a 912 instead," said Ruf. "My father thought that was more than enough power for me."
Ruf covered many miles in his classic Porsche on Bavarian roads and visually modified it to resemble a 911 S. But over the years, newer models took preference and this golden oldie was relegated to one side of his garage, with a planned restoration being postponed.
Thank goodness that restoration went ahead decades later in 2019, because that's when the full identity of Ruf Jr.'s classic Porsche began to reveal itself. Chassis number 13326 was found to be hiding original Enamel Blue 6403 paint under several newer layers, a sign that it could be the rare sixth example of the 901.
Further investigation showed that the chassis number was linked to the first 901 that had five rounded dials instead of two rounded instruments found on the initial five 901s as well as the seventh.
The pieces of the puzzle slowly came together to reveal that this car was built in September 1963 and nicknamed "Quick Blue" in light of its paint color. Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, used Quick Blue for a period of time as a company car. He sold it to Porsche engine builder Hans Mezger, and it exchanged hands once more before Ruf Sr. bought it for his son.
After being identified as the rare 901 that was thought to be lost, there is the very real and remarkable possibility that the blue 901 Ruf spotted on the Autobahn as a young teen was his very car and one he has owned for the majority of his life.
With this knowledge, Ruf approached the car's overdue restoration with renewed vigor in an effort to get it back to its original state.
"I find it hard to believe that this car of all cars has been in my possession for 55 years," said Ruf. When asked if it was Ferdinand Piech that passed him on the Autobahn in this very car all those years ago, Ruf declares that "the speed at which he passed us - it must have been him."
The warm and fuzzy story of Quick Blue reminds us of a few other nostalgic automotive tales, such as the time a man tracked down and bought back a classic Dodge Challenger that had been owned by his father. And then there was Jason Momoa's heartwarming restoration of his wife's 1965 Ford Mustang, the first car she ever owned.
Are our four-wheeled companions more than just emotionless hunks of metal, glass, and plastic? You bet.
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